Raj Kapoor | The Greatest Showman of Indian Cinema

His Life: Legendary Icon of Bollywood

  • Year 1924 – Born in Peshawar, British India.
  • Year 1935 – Worked as a child actor in the Film Inquilab.
  • Year 1948 – Established the R.K. Film Studio at the age of 24.
  • Year 1947 – Got his big break in films with the movie Neel Kamal.
  • Year 1970 – Released his dream projects Mera Naam Joker.
  • Year 1988 – Left for his heavenly abode.

Raj Kapoor was a notable Indian film actor, director and producer of Indian Cinema. His films were popular not only in India but even in other countries like the Middle East, Soviet Union and China. Raj Kapoor is regarded as one of the greatest showman of Indian Cinema. Referred to as the Charlie Chaplin of Indian Cinema, he has also credited for introducing actors like Nimmi, Dimple Kapadia, Zeenat Aman and Mandakini. He has single-handedly established his own R. K. Film Studio in 1948.

Childhood

Raj Kapoor was born on 14 December 1924 in the Kapoor Haveli in Peshawar, in modern-day Pakistan to Prithviraj Kapoor and Ramsarni Devi Kapoor. He was the eldest of all the six children. Among his brothers are the famous actors Shashi Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor. The Kapoor family, later on, moved to Peshawar into present-day India for residence and for education. As his father moved from cities to cites Raj Kapoor had to attend different schools like Colonel Brown Cambridge School, Dehradun and (St Xavier’s Collegiate School), Calcutta and Mumbai.

Personal Life

At the age of 22, Raj Kapoor married Krishna Malhotra in 194. It was a family-arranged wedding. Krishna was a distant relative, his father’s maternal uncle’s daughter.

Raj Kapoor and Krishna’s eldest son Randhir Kapoor was born in 1947, followed by their elder daughter Ritu the year after, in 1948. The second son actor, Rishi Kapoor was born in 1952, and second daughter Reema in 1956. Their youngest son, Rajiv Kapoor was born in 1962. Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor and Rajiv Kapoor have all been associated with Bollywood as actors, directors or producers.

Career Journey

From the young age of 10, Raj Kapoor had started acting in Bollywood films in 1935’s Inquilab. Raj Kapoor got his big break in the film Neel Kamal in 1947 staring Madhubala as the lead actress. At the age of only 24, he established the R. K. Film Studio in 1948. He became one of the youngest directors of that time and made his directorial debut with the film Aag. Raj Kapoor’s major success as an actor came with the film Andaz where he co-starred alongside Dilip Kumar and Nargis in 1949.

He started producing a ton of films under his own R. K Studios banner including Awaara (1951), Shree 420 (1955), Jagte Raho (1956) and Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai (1960). His super hit movies are Awaara (1951), Anhonee (1952), Aah (1953), Shree 420 (1955), Jagte Raho (1956), Chori Chori (1956), Anari (1959), Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai (1960), Chhalia (1960) and Dil Hi To Hai (1963).

Raj Kapoor directed, produced and acted in his dream project Mera Naam Joker which took 6 years of his time to finish. His son Rishi Kapoor debuted in the industry with this film. When the movie finally released in 1970 it turned out to become a box office disaster which gave the Kapoor family a sudden financial crisis. This movie later on has been recognised as one of the cult classics of Bollywood.

Awards And Recognition

Raj Kapoor has won many awards during his long career. He has won 3 National Film Awards and 11 Film Fare Awards. In 1985, his movie Ram Teri Ganga Maili won him the best movie and best director award. He was nominated for the 1953 Grand Prix award at the Cannes Film Festival for Awaara. In 1971, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, while in 1987, he won the coveted Dadasaheb Phalke Award.

Later Life

In 1965, he became the member of the jury at the 4th Moscow International Film Festival. In his later years, Raj Kapoor has launched the career of his sons Randhir Kapoor in the family drama Kal Aaj Aur Kal starring himself, and. In 1973 he launched the career of his second son Rishi Kapoor by producing and directing the movie Bobby which became a huge success. In the later half of the 1970s and early 1980s he produced and directed films focuses on the female protagonist. His last acting role was a cameo appearance in a 1984 released British made-for-television film titled Kim.

Raj Kapoor was set to direct Henna starring his son Rishi and Pakistani actress Zeba Bakhtiar. Raj Kapoor was suffering from asthma and died due to complications related to it in 1988 at the age of 63. His son Randhir Kapoor later on directed the film and it released in 1991.

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