An Iconic Indian Actor

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“Mera joota hai Japani, yeh patloon Englishtani, sar pe laal topi Russi … phir bhi dil hai Hindustani”- this dialogue by Raj Kapoor in Shree 420 is one of the most iconic dialogue of that era !

When we talk about Raj Kapoor, the very first thing that crosses our mind is of course the film “Mera Naam Joker”. His flawless acting made him the fans favourite. And how can one forget his charming smile with beautiful round eyes which no doubt made him the smartest back then. Be it a role of a Joker or a romantic star- Raj Kapoor has given justification to each one of them brilliantly. Kapoor is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential actors and filmmakers in the history of Indian cinema. The studio system was introduced by Raj Kapoor through the film “Mera Naam Joker” into the Indian cinema. He was the first actor to work with a studio concept and also opened his own firm- R.K Film’s. His legacy is well carried through the Kapoor’s family till date. A star among the famed trinity, one of India’s greatest directors and a sensation, Kapoor defied industry logic and created his own race.

His story of becoming an actor is less known but his success story is something you all must know about.  

Kapoor was born in Punjabi Hindu family in 1924. His brothers were the late actors Shashi Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor. There are many more people from the family working in the Cinema from long before. However Kapoor made his debut in the industry in 1935’s ‘Inquilab’ at the age of just 10! In May 1946, Raj Kapoor married Krishna Malhotra and together had three sons and 2 daughters. Raj Kapoor’s big break came with the lead role in ‘Neel Kamal’ in 1947 opposite Madhubala who was also in her first role as a leading lady. Along with acting, Kapoor has also experimented his hands in direction as well. In 1948, at the age of just 24, he became the youngest film director of his time making his directorial debut with ‘Aag’. His major break came through the movie “Andaaz” where he worked alongside Dilip Kumar and Nargis. Later the same year, his movie as a producer- “Barsaat” was a commercial hit which too starred him in the leading role. These two movies can be said as the turning moment for the actor. He later made many hits like ‘Awaara’, ‘Shree 420’, ‘Jagte Raho’ and ‘Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai’. His movie ‘Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai’ won the Filmfare award for the Best Film that year. Through the movie ‘Shree 420’ his image modeled on Charlie Chaplin’s most famous screen persona of The Tramp, which was again well seen in the movie ‘Mera Naam Joker’.

By asking for you, I’ve asked everything from God … now my hands don’t rise after that prayer of mine

– Raj Kapoor

In 1964, he produced, directed and starred in the romantic musical Sangam alongside Rajendra Kumar and Vyjayantimala which was his first film in colour. This movie turned out to be his last hit as the later released movies such as ‘Sapno Ka Saudagar’ were box office flop. In 1970, he produced his film ‘Mera Naam Joker’ which proved to be the biggest flop in his history. The movie was considered as a disaster. However in the later years, it was considered as a cult classic- meaning a great movie for a particular thing. After this he worked in many other movies alongside his sons Rishi Kapoor and Randhir Kapoor. In 1971, he launched his eldest son Randhir Kapoor in the family drama ‘Kal Aaj Aur Kal’ starring himself, his son Randhir, his father Prithviraj Kapoor as well as Babita. He later introduced his second son Rishi Kapoor through the movie ‘Bobby’ which turned out to be the huge commercial success as it portrays the romance of young generation. He was set to direct ‘Henna’ starring his son Rishi and actress Zeba Bakhtiar when he died due to severe Asthama in 1988. The film was later completed by his son Randhir Kapoor.

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Raj Kapoor has received many awards such as 3 National Film Awards, 11 Filmfare Awards and 21 nominations. The Government of India honored him with the Padma Bhushan in 1971 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1987, the highest award for cinematic excellence in India. In 2001, he was honored with “Best Director of the Millennium” by Stardust Awards however the actor wasn’t there to receive it.

Light comes from the moon and not the stars … you can be friends with one and not with thousands.

– Raj Kapoor

Say it you got to know about him from his famous songs such as ‘Mera Joota Hai Japani’ or ‘Pyaar Hua Iqraar Hua’ or be it his cult classic ‘Joker’- there’s no man even today in 2019 who didn’t know about this flamboyant talent. He was indeed the greatest showman of Indian cinema. Though he died abruptly, his legacy still remains.                         


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