Raj Kapoor’s full name is interestingly Ranbir Raj Kapoor. However, he is popularly known as Raj Kapoor (Hereafter referred to as RK). Current heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor is his grandson and has been named after him by his extremely popular filmstar son Rishi Kapoor.
Today 14th December is the Birthday of RK, called India’s Greatest Showman or Clark Gable Of India or Charlie Chaplin Of India. On his birthday, let us reminiscence some interesting and rare trivia about him.
A young Director at 24
RK produced, directed and acted Aag in 1948. This was the 1st film of the RK Banner and he was only 24. However, it was not a success. This was his first film with Nargis and they went on to act in 16 films together.
His next movie, Barsaat was a major success. Barsaat was the 1st time RK teamed up with Shankar-Jaikishan and the team went on to do many memorable movies together.
Raj Kapoor and Mukesh
One cannot think about RK without associating him with Mukesh. They had many memorable songs together such as Awaara hoon, Dost dost na raha, Kisi ke muskurahoton pe and Jaane kahaan gaye vo din.
RK and Mukesh met for the 1st time in 1947 during the shooting of the film Neelkamal. Mukesh was practising and impressed by his voice, RK could not control himself and went up and introduced himself. Aag and Barsaat made them friends and started a memorable journey of friendship. When Mukesh passed away, RK wept and said, “I have lost my voice”.
When Mukesh passed away he had a concert commitment which his son Nitin Mukesh wanted to fulfil. However, there was lack of star-power. RK postponed the shooting of Satyam Shivam Sundaram and agreed to be the chief guest. The entire industry turned out and made the event a success due to his presence. Nitin Mukesh always says “Whatever I am in life, its due to Raj Kapoor”
3 Generations in 1 movie
Awara showcased RK, his father Prithviraj and his grandfather Diwan Basheshwarnath. Interestingly his son Randhir too brought together Prithviraj, RK, and Randhir in Kal, Aaj aur Kal.
Inspirations from real life
RK’s first meeting with Nargis inspired the iconic scene of Bobby where Rishi and Dimple meet for the first time. In Barsaat, there is a scene of RK holding a violin in his left hand and Nargis in the other. This became the logo of RK films. It is also said that RK’s fascination for his heroines in white saree came from his once gifting his wife Krishna a white saree and finding it very soothing and charming.
RK made 18 films with RK Films and was not afraid to go in for creative and bold experimentation. Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Bobby, Mera Naam Joker, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Prem Rog, Ram teri Ganga Maili are only a few such examples.
RK remains an inspiration. Happy Birthday, Greatest Showman.
Ritesh Misra is an IRS officer currently based in Mumbai. He blogs & tweets @riteshmisra.
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