Ranbir Raj Kapoor or "The Show Man" was a veteran Indian film actor, director and producer of Hindi Cinema. He was born to Prithviraj Kapoor and Ramsarni Kapoor in the year 1924. As his father had to travel to different places, Raj Kapoor attained his basic education at different places between Peshawar and Bombay. He was married to Krishna Kapoor in the year 1946.
Raj Kapoor appeared in 1935’s film Inquilab for the first time, at the age of ten. Over the next 12 years he acted in several films but his big break came in the year 1947 with the movie Neel Kamal opposite Madhubala (her first role as a leading lady). He also produced and acted in several movies made under his RK banner like Barsat, Awaara, Shree 420, Chori Chori and many more. His last major film appearance was in the movie Vakil Babu in 1982. Raj Kapoor was called the Clark Gable of the Indian film industry. He was also honored with the prestigious the Padma Bhushan in the 1971 and in the year in 1987, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for his contributions towards Indian cinema.Raj Kapoor in his later years suffered from asthma and he breathed his last on 2nd June 1988 at the age of 63.
Raj Kapoor was born into a Hindu family in Dhakki Munawwar Shah near Qissa Khwani in Peshawar (now in Pakistan) on 14 December 1924. He was the eldest among his six siblings. His brothers Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor are well known Bollywood actors. Raj Kapoor had a sister named Urmila Sial while his other two siblings died in infancy. The Kapoor family later on moved to Punjab from Peshawar for education and residence.
Raj Kapoor had completed his basic education in Peshawar and also did part of his schooling in Calcutta. He couldn’t appear for his Matric papers in Bombay's Antonia D'souza High School as he failed to get the form to sit for his exam. Raj Kapoor won the All India Elocution Competition for three successive years but failed in Latin (compulsory second language) and this was the end of his academic career.
Raj Kapoor married Krishna Kapoor (who is his aunt) in the year 1946. Krishna's father was Prthviraj Kapoor’s maternal uncle. The couple was blessed with five children Randhir Kapoor (eldest son, married to Babita), Ritu Nanda (elder daughter), Rima Kapoor( younger daughter), Rishi Kapoor (second son ,married to Neetu Singh ) and Rajiv Kapoor (youngest son). Raj Kapoor shared a longtime romantic relationship with the famous Indian actress Nargis, despite being a married man. However, Nargis ended the relationship since Raj Kapoor was unwilling to leave his wife and children. Later she married actor Sunil Dutt.
Raj Kapoor had keen interest in acting and after an unsuccessful academic career he devoted himself in different sectors of film making as an assistant. He joined his father in 1944 and took responsibility of all the things that happened backstage starting from sound effects to lighting to art direction in their first stage play 'Shakuntala". In "Deewar", Raj acted as a servant in the play. His performance as Bahadur Khan or "Pathan" marked his entry into Hindi Cinemas.
Raj Kapoor marked his debut with the movie Inquilab in 1935 at a tender age of ten but it was only in 1947, when he got his big break with Neel Kamal starring Madhubala and himself in the lead role. Raj Kapoor established his own studio, R. K. Films in 1948 and became the youngest film director of his time. His directorial debut Aag starred himself, Kamini Kaushal, Nargis and Premnath. Mehboob Khan's blockbuster movie Andaz (1949) was his first major success as an actor, he co-starred alongside Dilip Kumar and Nargis.
RK Banner also produced several hit films like Barsaat, Awaara, Shree 420, Chori Chori, Jagte Raho and Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai. Other Raj Kapoor’s notable films include Anari in 1959, Chhalia in 1960) and Teesri Kasam in 1966. In the year 1964 he acted and directed the romantic musical ‘Sangam’(Raj Kapoor’s first film in colour) with Vjayantimala and Rajendra Kumar. This film was the last major success of Raj Kapoor as the leading actor as his later films like Sapnon Ka Saudagar, Around the World were box office flops.
He was a member of the jury at the 4th Moscow International Film Festival in the year 1965. He launched his son Rishi Kapoor in the movie Mera Naam Joker in 1970, unfortunately the movie didn’t do much good and the Kapoor family suffered a financial crisis. Raj Kapoor produced Kal Aaj Aur Kal in 1971 with which his eldest son Randhir Kapoor made his debut. He directed Bobby in 1973 starring Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia which was like a knight in the shining armor for the Kapoor family. Bobby became a box office hit.
Raj Kapoor produced and directed films in the latter half of the 1970s and early 1980s that focused on the female protagonists like Satyam Shivam Sundaram with Zeenat Aman in 1978, Prem Rog with Padmini Kolhapure in 1982 and Ram Teri Ganga Maili with Mandakini in 1985. By the late 1970s and early 1980s, Raj Kapoor acted in fewer films like Naukri with Rajesh Khanna in 1978 and Abdullah with Sanjay Khan in 1980. He was the member of the jury at the 11th Moscow International Film Festival in 1979.
The last major appearance of Raj Kapoor was in the movie Vakil Babu in 1982 with his younger brother Shashi. He was set to direct Henna starring Rishi Kapoor and Zeba Bakhtiar, a Pakistani actress before his death in 1988. The film was later directed by his son Randhir Kapoor and was released in the year 1991.
Ill Health and Death:
Raj Kapoor in his later years suffered from asthma. He collapsed at an event where he was to be honored with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. He was immediately taken to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for treatment where he was kept under observation for about a month. He breathed his last on 2 June 1988 due to complications arising from asthma.
Awards and Recognition:
Raj Kapoor had won several awards throughout his career including 11 Filmfares, 2 National Film Awards for Best Feature Film and 19 nominations. His films Boot Polish and Awaara were nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The Time Magazine rated his performance in the movie Awaara as one of the "Top-Ten Performances of All Time". His 1956 film Jagte Raho won the Crystal Globe Award at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Posthumously, Sabbas Joseph (Director- Wizcraft) and Noah Cowan (Artistic Director of TIFF Bell Lightbox) with members of the Kapoor family, came together to pay tribute to the life and work of the legendary Indian actor Raj Kapoor.
International Honour and Recognition:
a) Raj Kapoor was nominated for a Grand Prize for the movie Awaara at the 1953 -Cannes Film Festival.
b) He was conferred with an honorary degree in Tehran in 1955.
c) On 17 January 2000, a Raj Kapoor Film Festival was organized on his 75th Birth Anniversary at the Cultural Centre of Russia.
d) From February to April 2004, an important 3-month long festival of popular Indian cinema was hosted by the prestigious Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris dedicated to five great Indian film personalities-Raj Kapoor, Mehboob Khan, Guru Dutt, V. Shantaram and Bimal Roy.
e) From 22 May – 1 June 2008, A Raj Kapoor film festival was held in The Netherlands city The Hague.
f) From 27 May – 10 June 2008, A Raj Kapoor film festival was held in the Omani capital Muscat.
National Honor and Recognition:
a) Raj Kapoor for his contribution to Indian cinema was conferred with a "National Award" for its cinematography.
b) The Government of India honored him with a Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India (1971).
c) In 1987, Raj Kapoor was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award for cinematic excellence.
d) Raj Kapoor received the "Best Director of the Millennium" award by Hero Honda-Stardust on 8 January 2001.
e) Star Screen Awards named Raj Kapoor the "Showman of the Millennium" in 2002.
f) Raj Kapoor was conferred with a "Special Award" by Star Screen Awards in 2007.
a) He won the Best Actor award for his movies Anari and Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai.
b) He won the Best director award for his movies Sangam, Mera Naam Joker, Prem Rog and Ram Teri Ganga Maili.
c) Prem Rog and Ram Teri Ganga Maili also won the best movie award in 1982 and 1985 respectively.
Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards:
a) He won the Best Director and Editor Award for Sangam in 1964.
b) In 1967 and 1971 respectively, he won the Best Actor Award for Teesri Kasam and Mera Naam Joker.
c) He also won the Best Director Award for Mera Naam Joker in 1971.
Wife: Krishna Kapoor
Brother: Shashi Kapoor
Sons: Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor and Rajiv Kapoor
Daughters: Ritu Nanda and Rima Kapoor
Daughter-in-laws: Babita Kapoor and Neetu Singh Kapoor
Son-in-law: Rajan Nanda
Grandchildren: Karisma Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan,Ranbir Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor and Riddhima Kapoor Sahani.
(FAN OF Shri RANBIR RAJ KAPOOR)
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