Bollywood’s showman Raj Kapoor may have brought the film industry to China, but the actor-filmmaker never visited the country as he wished his fans to not see him after gaining weight, being a disappointment, his son, Radhir Kapoor revealed. Nonetheless, Kapoor’s films remain popular to date.
Randhir recalled “One day, he called me and said he got an invite to visit China, because his films are very popular there, and we all are going to China! All of us were excited. While making arrangements, two days later he called me and said, ‘I am thinking, let’s not go to China’. He said, ‘They are in love with the Raj Kapoor of Awaara, Shree 420 and look at me! I don’t look like that anymore!”
Randhir recalled that his father admitted, “Russia has been seeing me over the years in various sizes so they accept me even now. I am not how China remembers me.”
“That was the actor in him speaking. Now all our films are going there (China) but he was the starting point.”
Randhir, along with brothers Rishi Kapoor and Rajiv Kapoor, was speaking at a panel discussion last night during Raj Kapoor Awards for Excellence in Entertainment, session moderated by journalist Shekhar Gupta.
Randhir said of all the characters his father played, the ‘common man’ role was his personal favourite. “He created the ‘common man’ character Raju for himself. One of my favourite films of his, not produced or directed by him, is Anari, which again had the common man which Hrishikesh (Mukherjee) took (inspiration from)” he said.
Rishi said Anand was originally written for his father. The role was later played by Rajesh Khanna. “He missed two films which he couldn’t do which were for him. One was Anand. Hrishida had discussed it with him; he wanted to make it. The second film was L V Prasad’s Milan, which later, had Sunil Dutt and Nutan. That’s why all the songs are sung by Mukesh. Prasadji waited for papa, but being busy with something, couldn’t do it.”
Rishi also revealed that his father nearly missed the opportunity of being directed by legendary film-maker Satyajit Ray. “Originally Jaagte Raho was offered to Satyajit Ray to direct but wasn’t available. That’s why the whole crew was Bengali in the film, being directed by Dada. My father missed being directed by Ray and, in fact, my grandfather just missed being directed by the great Rabindranath Tagore in another film.”