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. The close relationship he has developed with the FDNY, as well as individual firefighters across the New York/New England area, has resulted in Leary's most recent television show, Rescue Me, a drama-comedy on FX. Thus his sensitivity to the requirements of film audiences should not be dismissed. As the foundation's president, Leary has been active in all of the fundraising, and usually presents large checks and donated equipment personally. 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. A separate fund run by the Leary's foundation, the Fund for New York's Bravest, has distributed over $2 million (USD) to the families of the 343 firefighters killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks, as well as provided funding for necessities such as a new mobile command center, first responder training, and a high-rise simulator for the FDNY's training campus. The film was completed by his son Randhir Kapoor. In response, the comedian founded the Leary Firefighters Foundation, which has since distributed over $2.5 million (USD) to fire departments in the Worcester, Boston, and New York City areas for equipment, training materials, and new vehicles and facilities.

At the time of his death he had been working on Henna a film on an Indo-Pakistani love story. Tommy Spencer. Raj Kapoor who had been suffering from asthma, passed away in 1988 at age 60. Among the dead were Leary's cousin, Jerry Lucey, and his close childhood friend, Lt. Raj Kapoor was given the Dadasaheb Phalke Award 1987, for lifetime commitment to Indian cinema. On December 3, 1999, 6 firefighters from Leary's hometown of Worcester were killed in a massive warehouse fire. Also music directors Shankar-Jaikishan, lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri started off working in Raj Kapoor films. However, many other comedians - including Jon Stewart, Janeane Garofalo, Colin Quinn, and Lenny Clarke - have formed close personal and professional relationships with Leary, which suggests that the opinion of him as a material thief is not shared by everyone within the profession.

Some of the people introduced by Raj Kapoor to films include his sons Rishi and Rajiv, Nimmi, Dimple Kapadia, Zeenat Aman and Mandakini. While it has never been proven that Leary took any of his jokes from other comedians (a claim he fiercely denies), some comedians (notably Joe Rogan and Greg Giraldo) and especially fans loyal to Hicks consider aspects of Leary's act and persona to be stolen. The couple starred together in several of Kapoor's films including Awaara and Shri 420. The friendship ended as a result, though Leary has said he wanted to patch things up before Hicks died in 1994. In spite of being a married man, Kapoor also had a longtime romantic relationship with actress Nargis during the Fifties. For many years, Leary had been friends with fellow comedian Bill Hicks. However, when Hicks heard Leary's 1993 release No Cure For Cancer, he decided Leary was stealing his material, due to the perceived similarity in topics covered and some punchlines of Hicks', particularly those on Hicks' releases of 1989 (Sane Man) and 1990 (Dangerous). Randhir, Rishi and Rajeev have also acted in films. Leary also produces numerous movies, television shows, and specials, including Comedy Central's Shorties Watching Shorties and the movie Blow, through his production company, Apostle.

Youngest son Rajiv was born in 1962. He also provided voices for characters in animated films such as Ice Age and A Bug's Life. His second son Rishi was born in 1952 and second daughter Rima in 1956. Although he says he is most at home on stage doing stand-up, Leary has appeared as an actor in over 40 movies, including The Match Maker, The Virgin Suicides, The Ref, Wag the Dog, and Demolition Man. His first daughter Ritu was born the year following that in 1948. Due to its explicit and controversial content, however, it received limited airplay on mainstream American radio stations. His first son Randhir was born the following year in 1947. It was voted #1 in a major Australian youth radio poll, the Triple J Hottest 100, and the video became a late-night MTV staple.

Raj Kapoor married his aunt (his father's second cousin) Krishna in 1946 when he was 22 years old. In 1994, his sardonic commentary song on the American lower-middle-class male, "Asshole", achieved much notoriety. Raj Kapoor kept up with this trend of titilating sexuality in later films like Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978) and Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985). No Cure for Cancer was written with contributions from the English comedians Frank Skinner and David Baddiel when Leary was forced to stay over in London for a short period due to his son's premature birth there and ensuing health problems. By the restrictive if not puritan standards of commercial Hindi cinema, Kapadia appeared in suggestive, some would say rather sexually explicit, poses and scenes. He has also released two records of his stand-up comedy: No Cure for Cancer (1993) and Lock n' Load (1997). But the film owed its phenomenal success to other considerations as well. Leary first became famous through an MTV sketch in which he ranted about REM.

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. Leary is a distant cousin through marriage of Conan O'Brien; contrary to popular belief, they are not actually related through a recent common ancestor. 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. He is a graduate of Emerson College in Boston, where he also taught comedy writing classes for five years after graduating. Visual imagery would always be an important part of his films. August 18, 1957) is an actor/comedian/writer/director whose father immigrated to Worcester, Massachusetts from Ireland. The angst of the common man is portrayed through heavy brooding landscapes and sets with sharply contrasted light. Denis Leary (b.

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. 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:. 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. 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.

(See also: The Number 420.). 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. 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. 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.

He got his first break as a hero in Neel Kamal, a 1947 film by Kidar Sharma. 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. His family left Peshawar and came to Bombay in 1929. He was born Ranbir Raj Kapoor in a town called Samandru in Peshawar (now in Pakistan).

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

Kishore, Valicha. London: British Film Institute; New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1994. Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema. Rajadhyaksha, Ashish; Willemen, Paul.

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