Born: December 14, 1924
Died: June 2, 1988
Achievements: Known as Showman of Hindi Cinema; honored with
Dadasaheb Phalke Award for his contribution to Indian Cinema. .
Raj Kapoor was the doyen of Hindi cinema. He was a multitalented
artiste. Raj Kapoor was an actor, director and producer. Raj Kapoor is
also famous as Showman of Hindi Cinema.
Raj Kapoor was born on December 14, 1924 in a town called Samandru in
Peshawar (now in Pakistan). His family left Peshawar and came to Bombay
in 1929. Raj Kapoor's father Prithviraj Kapoor himself was a well-known
actor. Raj Kapoor was the eldest of the four children. His other two
brothers Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor also are well-known actors.
Raj Kapoor started his career as a
boy assisting Kidar Sharma. In 1935, at the age of eleven, Raj Kapoor
appeared in his first film Inquilab. In 1946, Raj Kapoor married Krishna
Malhotra, his aunt and his father's second cousin. Raj Kapoor's big
break came in 1947, when he played leading role in the film Neel Kamal,
directed by Kidar Sharma. In 1948, at the age of twenty-four, Raj Kapoor
established his own studio, R. K. Films, and became the youngest film
director of his time. His first movie as a director was Aag (Fire). The
film was an instant success.
Thereafter, Raj Kapoor directed several films. He also acted in most of
them. Some of the famous films directed by Raj Kapoor are Barsaat
(1949), Awaara (1951), Shri 420 (1955), and Sangam (1964). He formed a
hit pair with Nargis. Raj Kapoor depicted the story of common man in his
films and his films appealed to every section of the society. Raj Kapoor
had great sense of music and the music of his films was very popular not
only in India but in countries like Russia too. Film historians have
characterized Raj Kapoor as the "Charlie Chaplin of India,"
since he often himself played a tramp-like figure who, despite
adversity, could still be cheerful and honest.
After the commercial failure of his ambitious film Mera Naam Joker in
1970, Raj Kapoor's films took a turn toward sensuality. In 1973, Raj
Kapoor released Bobby, which started the trend of teenage romance in
Indian cinema. He introduced Dimple Kapadia in Bobby who later went on
to become a mega star. The film showed Dimple Kapadia in bikini, which
was a bold attempt considering societal standards at that point of time.
He further pushed the boundaries of sensuality in his other films like
Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978) and Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985). Raj
Kapoor's film carried social message too. For example, his film Premrog
(1982) advocated widow remarriage.
For his contribution to Indian cinema Raj Kapoor was honored with
Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1987. He died on June 2, 1988 due to asthma
related complications. At the time of his death he was working on the
film Henna, based on a love story between an Indian boy and Pakistani
girl .The film was later completed by his son Randhir Kapoor and was a
major commercial success.