Raj Kapoor

Raj 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.

Ranbir 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.

The 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 (1968).

Kapoor 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 till today.

Bobby's 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.

On 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.

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