Why Cinema Will Miss Bollywood’s Rishi Kapoor

Bollywood, and Cinema in general, suffered a huge loss recently with the death of veteran actor Rishi Kapoor. Having acted in around 150 movies throughout his career, he left a lasting impression on the Bollywood film industry. Notable movies include Khel Khel Mein (1975), Karz (1980) Chandni (1989) and Mulk (2018).

Young Bollywood star Rishi Kapoor

In this article, we explore the legacy of Bollywood superstar Rishi Kapoor and why Cinema will miss him.

1. Helped Shape Bollywood

It is no exaggeration to claim that Rishi Kapoor helped define an era of Bollywood.

Rishi Kapoor has had a turbulent career. He has had many hits and super-hit films. As well as his fair share of flop and disaster movies.

Rishi helped define the Romantic hero with many of his earlier roles. For example, an early role of his is that of Raj Nath in his father’s production of Bobby (1973). The film went on to become the biggest hit of 1973 and the second highest grossing Bollywood film of the seventies (behind Sholay).

Rishi then went on to star in several strong roles in the 1980’s. Some of which include his role of Monty in Karz (1980) which went on to become a cult classic, Devdhar in Prem Rog (1982) which is considered one of Rishi Kapoor’s finest performances and Ravi in Saagar (1985).

Rishi Kapoor proved that he was still relevant in the 1990’s through films such as Henna (1991) which went on to become India’s submission for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film in that year.

2. Helped Launch Bollywood To The World

Whilst Rishi Kapoor was instrumental in helping Bollywood grow within India, he also did a lot to help get Bollywood noticed on the world stage.

Kapoor would not hesitate to work with global actors, such as Pakistan’s Zeba Bakhtiyar in Henna. Whilst not completely unusual, it helped highlight to the world how Bollywood was a global industry, willing to collaborate with talent from all over the world.

As mentioned earlier, this movie was also launched as a submission to the Academy Awards, further launching Bollywood into the global stage.

3. Improved With Age

Rishi Kapoor is one of the few actor’s worldwide who actually got better with age, and continued to improve throughout their entire career.

Whilst Rishi Kapoor may have been Bollywood’s romantic lead for the majority of his career, since the early 2000’s, he successfully transitioned into being a character-actor.

If you don’t believe me, check out his incredible performance as Rauf Lala, a human-trafficker in the 2012 remake of Agneepath:

This is further demonstrated by the fact that Rishi Kapoor continued to win a number of prestigious Bollywood awards for his performances in his later years. Examples include the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor in Do Dooni Char (2011) and Filmfare’s Best Supporting Actor for his role in Kapoor & Sons (2016).

4. Not Afraid To Take Risks

A sign of a confident actor who is willing to challenge themselves is an actor who takes risks. There are many actors, not just in Bollywood, who take on the same roles time and time again. Rishi Kapoor, especially towards the back end of his career, was not one of these actors.

For example, he played the role of Yogendra Vashishth in Student Of The Year (2012) as a gay dean. A role which led to many award nominations. This is a risky role for such a prominent actor in Bollywood, especially at the risk of alienating some of India’s more conservative viewers.

Another risky role taken by Rishi Kapoor is that of Murad Ali Mohammed in Mulk (2018) where he played a Muslim father trying to prove the innocence of his family after their son is accused of having ties to extremist organisations. The movie garnered enough controversy to be banned in Pakistan and was certainly a risky role to take on.

5. His Influence

Lastly, a legacy is only solidified in history when you consider what influence it has had on the career of others.

Rishi Kapoor’s son, Ranbir Kapoor, has also gone on to become a major superstar in Bollywood. He has played some of the most iconic roles in recent years and won many major awards. This would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the advice and guidance of his father.

Ranbir Kapoor talking about his father

You only have to look at how many of his peers reacted to his death to see the impact he had on the Bollywood film industry.

Shahrukh Khan’s emotional tribute to Rishi Kapoor

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