Members of the first family of Hindi cinema, ‘Kapoor khaandan’, do enjoy certain advantages when they venture into the film industry, but they also have to face quite a heavy burden of expectations, actor Rishi Kapoor said on Saturday.
Kapoor was discussing his cinematic journey with the audience during a candid chat on ‘Contribution of an actor to cinema’, at the 16th Pune International Film Festival’s PIFF Forum. Countering the oft-repeated charges of nepotism against the Hindi film industry, he insisted there was no such thing, as an actor had to build a career solely based on his or her talent.
“It is an advantage to be born in the epic Kapoor family and to be known by that name, but it is also a burden because there are a lot of expectations from you. There is no nepotism in the Hindi film industry. An actor cannot be forced on the audience. It is the audience who chooses an actor and a politician,” said Kapoor.
He cited the examples of Saawariya and Refugee — the debut films of Ranbir Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor — which bombed at the box office, but the two actors made powerful comebacks after the initial setback, and became successful. On his 45-year-long journey in the world of cinema, Kapoor said, “I am no champion and no great name… I am just a small actor who loves working in films. I like to call myself the son of a famous father and the father of a famous son. I am just a hyphen.”
Elaborating on the differences between an actor and a non-actor, Kapoor compared the latter to a postman. “There’s no such thing as a good actor or a bad actor. A non-actor is basically a postman who delivers the dialogue, without any involvement or understanding,” he said.
Kapoor admitted that his love for his job as an actor was fairly recent, as now he was being offered the kind of roles he actually wanted to play. “In the first 25 years of my career, all I was asked to do was wear a jersey, romance heroines, sing and dance around trees with them, and travel to exquisite locations for filming. I got a chance to act only in my second innings. I am passionate about acting and would like to be known for my work,” he said.
When asked about his father, legendary actor and filmmaker Raj Kapoor, he said, “He is my guru… the best role he ever played was in the movie Jagte Raho.
While sharing anecdotes about working with his father, Kapoor described an incident while shooting his first song in the film Bobby. “… When I reached the set to film Main shayar to nahi, there was no choreographer to help me with the shoot. I asked sahab (Raj Kapoor) about it and he said there was no need for one. I got very upset and nervous about it as it was my first time shooting a song. But he was certain about it as he didn’t want me to copy someone else… he wanted me to have my own signature style.”