Raj Kapoor

Raj Kapoor (December 14, 1924 - June 3, 1988) was a megastar, producer, director, actor and all-round showman. He permanently carved for himself a special niche in commercial Hindi cinema.

He was born Ranbir Raj Kapoor in a town called Samandru in Peshawar (now in Pakistan). His family left Peshawar and came to Bombay in 1929. The son of actor Prithviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor started his career as a clapper boy assisiting for Kidar Sharma but bagged his first film role at the age of eleven. He got his first break as a hero in Neel Kamal, a 1947 film by Kidar Sharma. In 1948, at the age of 24, he became the youngest film director of his time when he set up his own studio (R.K. Films) and made his first feature film, Aag (Fire), which would become the first of his many early successes, including Barsaat (Rain) in 1949 and Shri 420 (Mr. 420), a reference to someone who has a reputation for theft and deception, (since apprehensions for such crimes are usually section 420 of the Indian Penal Code) in 1955. (See also: The Number 420.)

Raj Kapoor whole-heartedly embraced the Indian popular cinema from the very beginning. He made every effort to ensure that his movies appealed to every section of society, in particular the common man. Film historians and buffs have spoken of him as the "Charlie Chaplin of India," since he often himself played a tramp-like figure who, despite adversity, could still be cheerful and honest, a gem of a man. He appealed also, as in his films Aag and Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hein (The Country in which the Ganges Flows), to patriotic sentiment, nowhere better commemmorated than in the famous lines from a song in 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 songs of his films endeared Raj Kapoor not only to the masses in India, but to audiences in large parts of Africa, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union, where his films were to become enormous commercial successes. Many of his films were to be characterized not only by lively music, but by the extensive use of elaborate sets. The angst of the common man is portrayed through heavy brooding landscapes and sets with sharply contrasted light. Visual imagery would always be an important part of his films.

However, after the box office failure of his ambitious Mera Naam Joker (My name is Joker), which took six years to complete, his movies took a more sensual turn. The film Bobby (1973) introduced Dimple Kapadia, who would go on to become one of India's superstars, and established itself as the fore-runner of a new generation of romances targeted for adolescents. But the film owed its phenomenal success to other considerations as well. By the restrictive if not puritan standards of commercial Hindi cinema, Kapadia appeared in suggestive, some would say rather sexually explicit, poses and scenes. Raj Kapoor kept up with this trend of titilating sexuality in later films like Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978) and Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985).

Raj Kapoor married his aunt (his father's second cousin) Krishna in 1946 when he was 22 years old. His first son Randhir was born the following year in 1947. His first daughter Ritu was born the year following that in 1948. His second son Rishi was born in 1952 and second daughter Rima in 1956. Youngest son Rajiv was born in 1962. Randhir, Rishi and Rajeev have also acted in films. In spite of being a married man, Kapoor also had a longtime romantic relationship with actress Nargis during the Fifties. The couple starred together in several of Kapoor's films including Awaara and Shri 420.

Some of the people introduced by Raj Kapoor to films include his sons Rishi and Rajiv, Nimmi, Dimple Kapadia, Zeenat Aman and Mandakini. Also music directors Shankar-Jaikishan, lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri started off working in Raj Kapoor films.

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

Raj Kapoor who had been suffering from asthma, passed away in 1988 at age 60. At the time of his death he had been working on Henna a film on an Indo-Pakistani love story. The film was completed by his son Randhir Kapoor.

Though Raj Kapoor was described by one critic as exhibiting "the carnality of a schoolboy" in his films, it remains indubitably the case that he was among the most successful film-makers for nearly four decades. Thus his sensitivity to the requirements of film audiences should not be dismissed. The present generation of films from Bollywood still borrows several themes that had been perfected in his films, and some believe that it is still a compliment for a commercial film to be compared to one of his works.

References

  • 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

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The present generation of films from Bollywood still borrows several themes that had been perfected in his films, and some believe that it is still a compliment for a commercial film to be compared to one of his works. He was initially cast in the part and was excited about playing the Mormon church founder, but had to back out due to other acting obligations. Thus his sensitivity to the requirements of film audiences should not be dismissed. Recently, Kilmer was in negotiations with Richard Dutcher (God's Army, Brigham City) for the lead role in his 2005 film Prophet: The Story of Joseph Smith. Though Raj Kapoor was described by one critic as exhibiting "the carnality of a schoolboy" in his films, it remains indubitably the case that he was among the most successful film-makers for nearly four decades. Many comment on his great enthusiasm, high intelligence, and dedication to both the roles he plays and the projects he is involved with in general, although the adjective "eccentric" continues to surface in descriptions of the actor. The film was completed by his son Randhir Kapoor. Kilmer is regarded as "difficult" by some in the industry, such as directors John Frankenheimer (The Island of Doctor Moreau) and Ron Howard (Willow). Frankenheimer reportedly became so angry that he had Kilmer physically escorted from the set, later commenting "At my age there are two things I will never do, climb Mount Everest or work with Val Kilmer ever again!" Many others who have worked with Kilmer consider him a gifted, dedicated artist with whom they would be happy to work again.

At the time of his death he had been working on Henna a film on an Indo-Pakistani love story. They have two children, daughter Mercedes and son Jack. Raj Kapoor who had been suffering from asthma, passed away in 1988 at age 60. The two met while working together on the film Willow. Raj Kapoor was given the Dadasaheb Phalke Award 1987, for lifetime commitment to Indian cinema. Kilmer's ex-wife is Joanne Whalley, an actress and former lead singer of Cindy & the Saffrons. Also music directors Shankar-Jaikishan, lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri started off working in Raj Kapoor films. Caruso also lost a brother in a tragic accident.

Some of the people introduced by Raj Kapoor to films include his sons Rishi and Rajiv, Nimmi, Dimple Kapadia, Zeenat Aman and Mandakini. Caruso explored the theme of loss together in their film release The Salton Sea. The couple starred together in several of Kapoor's films including Awaara and Shri 420. J. In spite of being a married man, Kapoor also had a longtime romantic relationship with actress Nargis during the Fifties. Recently, Kilmer and director D. Randhir, Rishi and Rajeev have also acted in films. When Val was 17 and just about to start study as the youngest student ever admitted to the Juillard School of Fine Arts in New York, Wesley tragically drowned in the family's own swimming pool.

Youngest son Rajiv was born in 1962. Born in Los Angeles, California, and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Kilmer is one of three sons born to Gladys and Eugene Kilmer, the others being older brother Mark and younger brother Wesley. His second son Rishi was born in 1952 and second daughter Rima in 1956. In a 2002 film, he plays Danny Parker, a jazz trumpeter who infiltrates a group of crystal meth addicts and becomes one himself in an attempt to avenge the senseless death of his wife which they caused. His first daughter Ritu was born the year following that in 1948. Kilmer is known for roles as diverse as the Elvis-like teen idol Nick Rivers in Top Secret! to real-life legends Billy the Kid, cultural hero Robert Elliot Burns, and rock idol Jim Morrison, to larger-than-life characters Bruce Wayne/Batman and Simon Templar, the Saint. His first son Randhir was born the following year in 1947. Val Edward Kilmer (born December 31, 1959) is an American actor considered by fans to be one of the most talented and underappreciated actors currently working in film and television.

Raj Kapoor married his aunt (his father's second cousin) Krishna in 1946 when he was 22 years old. A License to Steal (2005). Raj Kapoor kept up with this trend of titilating sexuality in later films like Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978) and Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985). Delgo (2005). By the restrictive if not puritan standards of commercial Hindi cinema, Kapadia appeared in suggestive, some would say rather sexually explicit, poses and scenes. Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang (2005). But the film owed its phenomenal success to other considerations as well. Alexander (2004).

The film Bobby (1973) introduced Dimple Kapadia, who would go on to become one of India's superstars, and established itself as the fore-runner of a new generation of romances targeted for adolescents. Mindhunters (2004). However, after the box office failure of his ambitious Mera Naam Joker (My name is Joker), which took six years to complete, his movies took a more sensual turn. Spartan (2004). Visual imagery would always be an important part of his films. Wonderland (2003). The angst of the common man is portrayed through heavy brooding landscapes and sets with sharply contrasted light. The Salton Sea (2002).

The songs of his films endeared Raj Kapoor not only to the masses in India, but to audiences in large parts of Africa, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union, where his films were to become enormous commercial successes. Many of his films were to be characterized not only by lively music, but by the extensive use of elaborate sets. Run For the Money (TV) (2002). He appealed also, as in his films Aag and Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hein (The Country in which the Ganges Flows), to patriotic sentiment, nowhere better commemmorated than in the famous lines from a song in Shri 420:. Pollock (2000). Film historians and buffs have spoken of him as the "Charlie Chaplin of India," since he often himself played a tramp-like figure who, despite adversity, could still be cheerful and honest, a gem of a man. Red Planet (2000). Raj Kapoor whole-heartedly embraced the Indian popular cinema from the very beginning. He made every effort to ensure that his movies appealed to every section of society, in particular the common man. Joe the King (1999).

(See also: The Number 420.). At First Sight (1999). 420), a reference to someone who has a reputation for theft and deception, (since apprehensions for such crimes are usually section 420 of the Indian Penal Code) in 1955. The Prince of Egypt (1998). Films) and made his first feature film, Aag (Fire), which would become the first of his many early successes, including Barsaat (Rain) in 1949 and Shri 420 (Mr. Africa Unbottled (TV documentary) (1998). In 1948, at the age of 24, he became the youngest film director of his time when he set up his own studio (R.K. The Saint (1997).

He got his first break as a hero in Neel Kamal, a 1947 film by Kidar Sharma. The Ghost & the Darkness (1996). The son of actor Prithviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor started his career as a clapper boy assisiting for Kidar Sharma but bagged his first film role at the age of eleven. The Island of Doctor Moreau (1996). His family left Peshawar and came to Bombay in 1929. Heat (1995). He was born Ranbir Raj Kapoor in a town called Samandru in Peshawar (now in Pakistan). Batman Forever (1995).

He permanently carved for himself a special niche in commercial Hindi cinema. Dead Girl (1995). Raj Kapoor (December 14, 1924 - June 3, 1988) was a megastar, producer, director, actor and all-round showman. Wings of Courage (IMAX) (1995). Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 1988. Tombstone (1993). The Moving Image. True Romance (1993).

Kishore, Valicha. The Real McCoy (1993). London: British Film Institute; New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1994. Tis Pity She's A Whore (Joseph Papp Public Theatre, New York) (1992). Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema. Thunderheart (1992). Rajadhyaksha, Ashish; Willemen, Paul. The Doors (1991).

Gore Vidal's Billy the Kid (TV) (1989). Kill Me Again (1989). Hamlet (Colorado Shakespeare Festival) (1988). Willow.

The Man Who Broke 1000 Chains (TV) (1987). The Murder in the Rue Morgue (TV) (1986). Top Gun (1986). One Too Many (TV) (1985).

Real Genius (1985). Top Secret! (1984).

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