Rishi Kapoor-Neetu Kapoor’s love story played like a film, he said ‘I was very difficult, but Neetu absorbed all the shocks’
Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh love story is a stuff of legends. Considered one of Bollywood’s golden couples, Neetu was his pillar of strength as Rishi battled cancer for two years.Updated: Apr 30, 2020, 12:51 IST
Actor Rishi Kapoor died on April 30 in Mumbai, a day after India lost Irrfan Khan. Both fell fighting cancer. In both the cases, their respective spouses were their pillars of strength, standing by them through thick and thin. While little was known about Irrfan’s wife Sutapa Sikdar, Neetu Singh remained in limelight through Rishi’s battle against cancer.
In fact, through their entire stay in New York where they had been stationed during his treatment, Neetu had shared their life though a series of pictures on Instagram. After all, the golden couple of Bollywood, was also one of the most popular star-couple in their heydays. The two were a clear departure from the norm - a hit onscreen couple, they were also a happily married one too.
It started in the 1975, when a teenaged Neetu would work in as many as 15 films paired with Rishi. In their initial days as co-stars, Neetu was merely a a confidante to Rishi, who would pour out his disappointments to her over failed relationship. The couple spoke frankly about their romance on Karan Johar’s show.
The moment of epiphany came to Rishi when he was away in Paris for the shoot of his film, Barood. The two had just shot for the film, Kabhi Kabhie in Kashmir. It was then that Rishi felt lonely and sent Neetu a telegram. ‘Ye Sikhni badi yaad aati hai (I am missing this Sikhni)’, wrote Times of India in a report. Neetu had shown that telegram to Yash and Pam Chopra. Rishi was, however, commitment phobic; he had reportedly told Neetu, “I’ll only date you, I’ll never get married to you.” All this, when Neetu was still in her teens. However, the bond between them was way too strong to Rishi to not consider marriage. Five years after they began dating, they were married.
Their engagement was a hush-hush affair. Rishi had reportedly gone to Delhi to attend a friend’s wedding while his sister had secretly invited the immediate families. They didn’t have rings to exchange; while he gave Neetu his sister’s ring, film Jhootha Kahin Ka’s director, who was also present, gave his ring to Neetu to give it to Rishi.
There are some interesting incidents about their courtship days; like how Rishi had subtly indicated to her that there would be a deadline to her shoots. Just like he would pack up after 8 pm, he expected her to do so too. Neetu would later laugh and say how she would follow his dictum and how afraid she was of him then.
There were rules from Neetu’s side too, in fact those of her mother’s. During their courtship period, Neetu was never allowed to meet or go with Rishi alone. Neetu would usually be accompanied by her cousin brother. He would get out of the car midway and while coming back they used to pick him up again.
Neetu gave up acting for good after she got married in January 1980 but contrary to popular perception, Rishi never forced her to do so. It was entirely her decision. She had begun her film career, aged only 5, and had seen it all - name, fame and money. She was a super star in her own right, when she got married. Clearly the arclights didn’t enamour her anymore and she settled for matrimony.
With two children, Riddhima Kapoor Sahni (now married to Bharat Sahni and mother to a girl) and Ranbir (who is in a relationship with actor Alia Bhatt), Neetu and Rishi’s married life was set, for most parts. However, it was not completely without hurdles. There was a time when their relationship hit a rough patch. Talking about it, Rishi had said, “It has always been Neetu who has made all the efforts, I have always been a difficult man.” Explaining further, he was quoted in the same report as saying, “Every relationship goes through such turmoils but eventually comes out of it, our relationship was no different. I was being very difficult then, but Neetu absorbed all the shocks I gave her really well. And held onto me.”
Neetu had then explained why she had stuck on to him, “Rishi has always been a very good husband and a very good father, so no matter what happened I knew what I wanted from him and held onto him.”
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