The life, times, and notable achievements of the legend Rishi Kapoor

 The life, times, and notable achievements of the legend Rishi Kapoor

After the tragic passing of Irrfan Khan on April 28th, Indian cinema has lost another gem as Rishi Kapoor passed away on April 30 after his battle with Leukemia. Rishi was one of those actors whose work entertained and inspired multiple generations. With more than 123 movies under his belt and a career that got national and international recognition from the 1970s to 2020, there could be no other Rishi Kapoor in the world.

As the nation grieves the legend, let’s have a brief look at his life and his work that will continue to inspire millions long, long after we are all gone.


Rishi Raj Kapoor was the son of the legendary filmmaker and actor Raj Kapoor and his wife, Krishna Raj Kapoor. The second amongst his siblings, Rishi Kapoor has two brothers- actors Randhir Kapoor and Rajiv Kapoor, and two sisters Late Ritu Nanda and Rima Jain. He was born into a family that is considered royalty in the world of Indian cinema. His grandfather was the pioneer of Indian theatre and cinema, Prithviraj Kapoor. Rishi Kapoor did his schooling from Campion School in Mumbai and then did his graduation from Mayo College in Ajmer.


Rishi Kapoor had made his first screen appearance at the tender age of 3 in his father, Raj Kapoor’s movie Shree 420. Raj Kapoor also went on to launch Rishi Kapoor in his debut film Mera Naam Joker in 1970, where he played a younger Raj Kapoor. His breakthrough performance came with his role in the hit Bobby alongside Dimple Kapadia. His father, Raj Kapoor, also directed this film. The movie went on to become a massive success at the box office and also earned Rishi Kapoor his first Filmfare Award for Best Actor. Post Bobby, he went on to star in several movies like Khel Mein, Rafoo Chakkar, Amar Akbar Anthony, Hum Kisise Kum Naheen, Zahreela Insaan, and Doosra Aadmi.

Rishi Kapoor also ventured into the thriller genre with Karz which was directed by Subhash Ghai. Amongst romantic movies, he was seen in films like Raaja, Chandni, Bol Radha Bol, Damini, Karobar, Saagar, Prem Rog, Sargam, and Laila Majnu.


Rishi Kapoor had more than 123 films under his belt. He was not just famous for his charm and acting, but also his emotional performances. He is known as one of the most charming and ‘spot-on’ Bollywood superstars of all time, and now, Ranbir Kapoor is continuing his legacy. Let’s have a look at some of the many, many pieces of his work where his performances made an impact that will last forever.


If you like Rishi Kapoor’s performances, you couldn’t help but re-watch this 1980’s movie. Directed by Subhash Ghai, this thriller also stars Tina Munim. He plays Ravi, who is murdered by his wife and reincarnated as Monty.

Yeh Vaada Raha

This drama from 1982 also stars talents like Shammi Kapoor, Poonam Dhillon, and Tina Munim. The movie is based on a Danielle Steel novel that has also been adapted to a film by Hollywood (The Promise).

Amar Akbar Anthony

This movie has become a legend and a cult classic. Also starring Amitabh Bachhan, this masterpiece was directed by Manmohan Desai and written by none other than Kader Khan. The movie is based on a story of three friends – Amar, Akbar, and Anthony. Rishi Kapoor plays the character of Akbar Ilhabadi.


The movie is a love story that is based on teenagers living in Mumbai. Rishi Kapoor plays the protagonist by the name of Raja. This Raj Kapoor-directed romantic film came out in 1973 and was Rishi Kapoor’s debut as the leading man. His life was never the same, and his talent got recognition quickly.


Playing Iqbal Seth, Rishi Kapoor steals the show in yet another cult classic cinematic masterpiece. The movie came out in 2013 and starred Irrfan Khan, Arjun Rampal, Huma Qureshi, Shruti Hassan, and other talents. Nikkhil Advani directed the film.

His list of masterful acting performances is truly never-ending. But some other movies come to mind while reminiscing the times his acting made us move, laugh, cry, and inspired.

  • Mera Naam Joker (1970)
  • Naseeb (1981)
  • Namastey London (2007)
  • Do Dooni Chaar (2010)
  • Agneepath (2012)
  • The Body (2019)


Rishi Kapoor received several awards and recognitions over the years for his contribution to the world of Hindi films. The notable ones are as follows:

  • National Film Award – Mera Naam Joker (1970)
  • Filmfare Best Actor – Bobby (1974)
  • Filmfare Lifetime Achievement (2008)
  • Filmfare Best Actor Critics – Do Dooni Chaar (2011)
  • TOIFA Best Actor in a Negative Role – Agneepath (2013)
  • Filmfare Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Kapoor & Sons (2017)


Many people believe that Raj Kapoor wrote and made the movie ‘Bobby’ to launch his son Rishi Kapoor. In the film, Rishi Kapoor also played his father’s character as a kid in the movie Mera Naam Joker.

Till this day, Rishi Kapoor’s on-screen chemistry with Neetu Kapoor is considered to be one of the best pairings of all time. Both of them did a lot of movies together, and they were well-received by the public.

He was known for wearing ‘the best sweaters’ in his movies. So much so that it might have started a design trend.

A master of romantic performances, he starred in over 100 romantic movies as the lead character.

His autobiography is titled as Khullam Khulla: Rishi Kapoor Uncensored.


Condolences for the Kapoors are coming in from everywhere. As the nation grieves the loss of one of the shining stars of Bollywood, let’s take a look at some of the heartfelt messages noted celebrities had to share with the public.

Amitabh Bachchan posted a tweet stating how the news had him in shock and “destroyed.” The tweet was deleted after a brief time. Akshay Kumar expressed his shock and surprise, stating that it feels like he is in the “midst of a nightmare.” Rishi Kapoor was a good family friend of Akshay’s.

Rajinikanth – the iconic South Indian star had shares screen time with Rishi Kapoor in the movie Dosti Dushmani in 1986. He stated that he was heartbroken to hear the news, adding that he wishes his dearest friend rests in peace.

Jeetendra and Shobha Kapoor – close family friends of Rishi Kapoor, expressed their grief by saying that the magnitude of his absence and the vacuum his passing has left behind will be everlasting in their lives.

Taapsee Pannu stated that he was the most exciting storyteller, and even his bullying came with so much love that she enjoyed listening to his words. Aamir Khan thanked him for the joy he brought to everyone’s lives through his work. Priyanka Chopra Jonas stated that it was a privilege to have known him for as long as she did.

Countless other directors, celebrities, businessmen, and notable figures have expressed their love and grief on Twitter, and the messages are still coming through – as they will be for years to come.


After his health got worse, Rishi was moved to the HN Reliance hospital on April 28. The medical staff stated that even in his last moments of battling Leukemia, he was talking with everyone, listening to their songs, giving them advice on how to stay happy, and shining with life. He passed away peacefully on April 30, at 8.45 am IST.

What is Leukemia

Leukemia is a type of cancer that slows down the body’s ability to fight against infections. A blood cancer caused by blood-forming tissues and an abnormal rise in the formation and numbers of white blood cells, Leukemia is a rare disease, with under 1 million cases per year in India.

Rishi Kapoor’s battle with Leukemia goes all the way back to two years ago in 2018 when he was diagnosed with cancer. Over time, his condition aggravated and started causing issues with health, causing him to eventually return to Indian from New York, the U.S. in September 2019. During his two-year battle with the disease, he hasn’t just shown courage but also has motivated millions to do the same.

Videos and interviews are proofs of how jovial he was during his darkest times. His family members stated that he was grateful for the love his fans showered at him and that he never let the disease get the better of him or discourage him in any way.

The statement from his family focused on his wish to be remembered with a smile – not tears. The actor is survived by Neetu Kapoor (wife), Ranbir Kapoor (son), and Riddhima Kapoor Sahni (daughter). As we mourn the loss of Indian cinema’s veteran, we can’t help but shed a tear of joy remembering all the great pieces of art you have given us – and a tear of grave sadness to know we would never hear your voice again. Rest in peace, Rishi, we hope your soul is one with God now.

Ali Raza

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