Raj Kapoor

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Raj Kapoor

Raj Kapoor (December 14, 1924 - June 3, 1988) was a legendary actor, director, and producer of Bollywood(Indian) movies.



Raj Kapoor began his career as a clapper boy assisting Kidar Sharma. At age eleven, he appeared in films for the first time, in the 1935 film Inquilab. Raj Kapoor's big break, however, came when he played the hero's role in Neel Kamal (1947) by Kidar Sharma. In 1948, at the age of twenty-four, he established his own studio, R. K. Films, and became the youngest film director of his time. His first movie as a director Aag (Fire) (1948) was an immediate success.

Raj Kapoor's career as director spanned the years from 1948 through 1988. He directed many films that are still remembered and loved, from Barsaat (1949) to Awara (1951), Shri 420 (1955), and Sangam (1964). He starred in a number of the films he directed, often with actress Nargis, who was his real-life love interest.

After the box office failure of his ambitious 1970 film, Mera Naam Joker (My name is Joker), which took more than six years to complete, his movies took a sexy and determinedly crowd-pleasing turn. The film Bobby (1973) introduced Dimple Kapadia, later an Indian superstar, and was the first of a new generation of teen romances. By the restrictive if not puritan standards of commercial Hindi cinema, Kapadia appeared in suggestive, even sexually explicit, poses and scenes. Raj Kapoor trafficked in boundary-pushing sexuality in later films like Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978) and Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985).

Raj Kapoor suffered from asthma in his later years; he died of complications related to asthma in 1988 at sixty-four years of age.At the time of his death he was working on the movie Henna (an Indo-Pakistani love story). The film was later completed by his son Randhir Kapoor.


Raj Kapoor is appreciated both by film critics and ordinary film fans. Film historians and movie buffs speak of him as the "Charlie Chaplin of Indian cinema," since he often portrayed a tramp-like figure, who, despite adversity, was still cheerful and honest. His fame spread world-wide. He was adored by audiences in large parts of Africa, the Middle East and the former Soviet Union; his movies were commercial successes.

Many of Raj Kapoors movies had a patriotic theme. His films Aag,Shri 420 and Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hein (In the Country where Ganges flows) celebrated the newly independent India, and encouraged film-goers to be patriots. Raj Kapoor commissioned these famous lyrics for the movie Shri 420:

Mera joota hai Japani
Ye pataloon hai inglistani
Sar pe lal topi roosi
Pir bhi dil hai hindustani
My shoes are Japanese
And the trousers are English
The cap on my head is Russian
But my heart is Hindustani (Indian)

The song is still extremely popular and has been featured in a number of movies since Shri 420.

Raj Kapoor was a canny judge of filmi music and lyrics. Many of the songs he commissioned are evergreen hits. He introduced the music directors Shankar-Jaikishan and the lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri. He is also remembered for his strong sense of visual style. He used striking visual compositions, elaborate sets, and dramatic lighting to complete the mood set by the music. He introduced the actors Nimmi, Dimple Kapadia, Zeenat Aman and Mandakini, as well as fostering the careers of his sons Rishi and Rajiv.

Raj Kapoor was given the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1987, for lifetime commitment to Indian cinema.

Personal Life

The Kapoor family hailed from Samundri near Lyallpur in present-day Pakistan. Raj Kapoor was born on 14/Dec/1924 at Peshawar in the North-West Frontier Province of what is now Pakistan. He was named Ranbir Raj Kapoor at birth, and was the eldest of the four children of renowned stage and cinema actor Prithviraj Kapoor and his wife Smt Ramsarni (Rama) Devi. His younger brothers were the actors Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor. He also had a sister by name Urmila Sial.

In 1946, at the age of 22, Raj Kapoor married Smt Krishna nee Malhotra, who was his first cousin once removed, being his father's maternal uncle's daughter. His eldest son Randhir was born the following year. His elder daughter Ritu was born the year after, in 1948. His second son Rishi was born in 1952 and second daughter Rima in 1956. His youngest son Rajiv was born in 1962. Randhir, Rishi and Rajiv have all acted in films. Raj Kapoor is also known to have had a longtime romantic relationship with the renowned actress Nargis during the 1950s. The couple starred in several films together, including Awaara and Shri 420.

Noted film personalities Karisma and Kareena Kapoor are granddaughters of Raj & Krishna Kapoor, being the daughters of their eldest son Randhir by his wife Babita.


External Links


  • Rajadhyaksha, Ashish; Willemen, Paul. Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema. London: British Film Institute; New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1994
  • Kishore, Valicha. The Moving Image. Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 1988

fr:Raj Kapoor sa:राज कपूर


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