Kapoor was the greatest entertainer known to Indian films. He
was the actor, director, producer, editor, musician, story-
teller, all wrapped in one. Raj Kapoor started multi-tasking
from the age of 24 when he produced, directed and acted in Aag
(1948). Aag was the first film under the RK banner.
Raj Kapoor, born on December 14, 1924, in Peshawarwas was the
son of Prithviraj Kapoor the head of India's greatest and largest
film family. Drawn towards cinema, he started working as an
assistant on the sets of Dilip Kumar's first film, Bombay Talkies'
Jwar Bhatta. He worked as an assistant to Kidar Sharma who gave
him his break a lead actor in 1947 with Neel Kamal opposite
Madhubala. Raj Kapoor shot to fame with Mehboob Khan's Andaz
(1949), where he costarred with Nargis and Dilip Kumar. The
same year Barsaat showed Raj Kapoors’s ability as a director.
The film was a great success at the box office and it also brought
to the limelight new music directors Shankar - Jaikishen, lyricists
Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri and the actress Nimmi.
fifties saw Raj Kapoor's greatest work as a Producer-Director
besides establishing himself as one of India's biggest ever
film stars along with Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar - the Trimurthi!
His next directorial venture Awaara (1951) was a fascinating
film which was a runaway hit and was released in Russia as Bradyaga
to unprecedented success. The song Awaara hoon became a Russian
favourite. Kapoor's RK banner flew high with Shri 420 (1955),
Anadi (1959) and Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (1960), Sangam
(1964); and, later, in Deewana (1967) and Sapnon Ka Saudagar
made his magnum opus Mera Naam Joker (1970) about a clown who
laughs on the outside and cries within and though absolutely
brilliant in parts (particularly the first chapter of the adolescent
hero discovering love and sex) the film, a highly self indulgent
exercise flopped miserably at the box office shattering him.
Raj bounced back with Bobby (1973) a teenage romance of young
lovers fighting parental opposition that is aped by Hindi cinema
stellar success was not duplicated by Kapoor's next, Satyam
Shivam Sundaram (1978). Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978) examining
Physical Beauty v/s Inner Beauty was a misfire but Prem Rog
(1982) based on widow re-marriage and Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985)
where he employed a woman as a metaphor for a once pure, but
now defiled, country were successful.
June 3, 1988, Raj Kapoor, who had been suffering from asthma,
finally succumbed. At that time he was making Heena, a love
story breaking the barriers of the Indo-Pak border. The film
was later on completed by his elder son Randhir Kapoor for the
RK banner. The film was a spectacular success. Raj Kapoor was
awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for his contribution to Indian
Cinema in 1988.