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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

On Raj Kapoor’s 94th birth anniversary, some lesser known facts about the legendary actor

Much has been written about the legendary showman of Bollywood, Raj Kapoor. However, some unknown facts can still take many by surprise. Read them here.

bollywood Updated: Dec 14, 2018 09:51 IST
Nivedita Mishra
Nivedita Mishra
Hindustan Times
Raj Kapoor was one of the three stars, along with Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar, who dominated the 1950s.
Raj Kapoor was one of the three stars, along with Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar, who dominated the 1950s.(HT Photo)

No mention of Hindi film history can be complete without the mention of Raj Kapoor. Born Ranbir Raj Kapoor in 1924, he was the eldest of the six children of Prithviraj Kapoor, a pioneer of Indian theatre and Hindi film industry. In his growing up years, his father was already an established actor having worked in the silent era. What his father began, Raj would take to great heights. His socialist themed, song-and-dance musical dramas which would tug at heartstrings would travel across continents and charm audiences across the globe. To this day, Raj Kapoor remains a strong pull for India in countries like Russia or in the former Soviet republics in central Asia to understand the magic of his films.

He is often called the greatest showman of Bollywood for his strong visual sense — even his songs had a great visual quality and his filmmaking was known for his elaborate sets and dramatic lighting.

With Nargis, his co-star in many of hit films.
With Nargis, his co-star in many of hit films.

On his birthday today, here’s a look at some of the lesser known facts about him:

1) Satyajit Ray is not the only Indian filmmaker to win acclaim at the Cannes International Film Festival. Raj Kapoor is a two-time nominee for the Palme d’Or grand prize for his films Awaara (1951) and Boot Polish (1954).

2) Raj Kapoor is often called “the Clark Gable of the Indian film industry”, perhaps because both were consistent box office performers in history.

3) Time magazine rated his performance in Awaara as one of the top 10 greatest performances of all time.

4) He introduced the music directors Shankar-Jaikishan and the lyricists Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra into Bollywood.

5) Raj Kapoor made his film debut as a child artist, aged 10, in 1935’s Inquilab.

6) Raj Kapoor initially wanted to become a music director before making it big as an actor. He became the youngest film director at 24.

7) The scene where Rishi meets Dimple for the first time in Bobby was inspired by the real life meeting between Raj Kapoor and Nargis.

8) At Dilip Kumar’s wedding, the baraat was led by Prithviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand.

9) Awaara (1951) was the first movie to feature three generations of Kapoors in its cast — Diwan Basheshwarnath (Raj Kapoor’s grandfather), Prithviraj and Raj.

10) The Kapoor family is rightly called the first family of Bollywood. While Raj Kapoor and his other two brothers, Shammi and Shashi, are well known, not many they had a sister too, called Urmila. She married Nagpur-based Charanjit Sial whose family was into mining of coal. Her son Jatin Sial is also an actor and a popular face in the world of advertisement. Incidentally, Pakistani singer Salma Agha’s maternal grandfather, Juggal Kishore Mehra, was the first cousin of Raj Kapoor. Also, Anil Kapoor’s father, Surinder Kapoor, the famous Bollywood producer was a cousin of Prithviraj Kapoor.

11) While Raj Kapoor’s affair with Nargis is well documented, not many are aware that he has a brief affair with actor Vyajanthimala as well. Son Rishi Kapoor writes about this in his biography Khullam Khulla. What may come as a surprise to many is that the late Krishna Malhotra, whom he would marry, was his first cousin once removed.

Follow @htshowbiz for more

The author tweets @mniveditatweets

First Published: Dec 14, 2018 09:49 IST

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