Lockdown10: Rishi Kapoor
Lockdown10: Rishi Kapoor
I was just about trying to get over the shocking news of Irfan Khan passing away yesterday when just now comes the news of the demise of Rishi Kapoor. He is one of my favourite actors and it has been my privilege to watch his progress in Bollywood from “Mera Naam Joker” to “Mulk”. What a stupendous career he has had!
As my tribute to the actor par excellence, I have a story to share with you. His first major film “Bobby” directed by Raj Kapoor was released in 1973. At that time, I was in Delhi and studying in Class 10. We had a group in our school, my classmates, who were all crazy about films. We used to bunk classes to catch movies on the first day of its release. In fact, there was a competition between two groups as to who can break the record for maximum “First day, First shows”.
When “Bobby” was released, there was no way we were going to miss the first show. Amongst other theatres in Delhi, it was released in ‘Chanakya’, which was one of my popular haunts. Along with a couple of friends, I cycled to the theatre early morning to get tickets for the show.
We were dismayed to find a long queue at the theatre with police struggling to keep order. The movie was touted to be a blockbuster even before it was released. Dimple Kapadia, then a young and unknown actor, was making a debut and it was being said that she would be the next star! Rishi Kapoor too was making his debut as a hero. It was touted to be a love story with a difference, fresh and wild.The songs were already hits.
I could see that there was no way that we could get tickets. We also discovered that people were more than desperate to buy tickets and were using innovative methods to ensure that. The queue for ladies was separate, and among the women we could see many in tattered clothes standing for tickets. They were beggars and we were surprised to find them here. It transpired that smart boys had engaged these beggar women to stand in the queue for them! They were being paid handsomely for quitting their profession for a few hours to buy tickets for the needy!
We desperately searched for beggars but they were all engaged. Just as when I was about to give up, we saw a lady in the queue who looked familiar. I told my friends and they confirmed. The lady was one of the teachers in our school!
It was difficult to decide whether we should approach her and risk being caught for bunking, or throw caution to the winds. My friend said that we should ask her, and approached her boldly. She was a bit embarrassed to be confronted by students of her school catching her in the queue for a movie.
We told her about our problem and asked her if she can help us. She agreed, and that is how we saw “Bobby”. The movie was well worth the money and time and it went on to become a blockbuster. We came out of the hall, humming “aur chabi kho jaye”.
Many, many years later, I was on a trip to the Kashmir valley with my family and we had booked a cottage in Gulmarg. Guess what! It was the same cottage where the song “Andar se na bahar koi jaa sake..” I was thrilled!
RIP Rishi Kapoor. We will miss you, but not your films.