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Sunday, June 20, 2021

On Raj Kapoor’s death anniversary, celebrating his 8 iconic films, from Awara to Bobby

From Bobby to Awara, here are eight classics you should watch to pay tribute to Hindi cinema legend Raj Kapoor.

Written by Anvita Singh | New Delhi |
June 2, 2021 8:14:47 am
raj kapoor filmsHere's looking back at some classics from Raj Kapoor's filmography. (Photos: Express Archive)

Born as Shrishti Nath Kapoor, the late Raj Kapoor dabbled in many forms of filmmaking, including acting, directing and producing. The actor passed away on this day in 1988. On the eve of his death anniversary, we remember the veteran artiste by revisiting a few classics from his filmography. From Awara to Bobby, here are eight movies which best establishes Kapoor’s artistry.

Barsaat (1949)

barsaat Raj Kapoor as Pran in Barsaat. (Photo: RK Films)

Barsaat was the second movie Raj Kapoor had directed after the somewhat melodramatic Aag. The plot of the film revolved around two couples — Reshma and Pran (Raj Kapoor and Nargis), and Gopal and Neelam (Prem Nath and Nimmi). Pran and Gopal are fast friends who could not have had more different personalities. While Pran was portrayed as the sensitive one, Gopal was a complete womaniser. One love story reaches its fruition, the other one doesn’t. Bankrolled by Raj Kapoor, Barsaat was written by Ramanand Sagar. Post its release, Barsaat was declared a hit at the box office.

You can watch Barsaat on YouTube.

Awara (1951)

awara movie Raj Kapoor in a still from Awara. (Photo: Express Archive)

Awara can arguably be said to be the most iconic movie from Raj Kapoor’s rich repertoire. It is a mish-mash of a variety of genres, including crime drama, romance and a generous dose of the melodrama. The central storyline of Awara revolved around a small-time thief (Raj Kapoor), his lover, the privileged Rita (Nargis), and judge Raghunath (Prithviraj Kapoor) who is unaware of the fact that the thieving Raj is his real son. Awara went on to become a huge success in international markets, and is said to have sold over 200 million tickets abroad at the time.

Awara is streaming on YouTube.

Shree 420 (1955)

shree 420 Raj Kapoor and Nargis Dutt in Shree 420. (Photo: Express Archive)

Shree 420, also directed by Raj Kapoor, is popular for many reasons. First for being an excellent comedy-drama for its time, second for its top-notch music, especially the Mukesh-sung “Mera Joota Hai Japaani” and third, for the Charlie Chaplin references that Kapoor’s character constantly draws upon. Considered to be one of the highest grossing Hindi movies of its time, Shree 420 also starred Nadira and Nargis in pivotal parts.

Shree 420 is available to stream on YouTube.

Chori Chori (1956)

chori chori Chori Chori was said to be inspired by the Hollywood movie It Happened One Night. (Photo: AVM Productions)

A romedy by nature, Chori Chori is strongly inspired by the Hollywood classic It Happened One Night. It featured the famous on-screen pair of Nargis and Raj Kapoor, who, with their crackling chemistry, once again saved the day. Chori Chori also happens to be one of the last films Nargis and Raj Kapoor featured in together as a couple. It was helmed by Anant Thakur.

You can watch Chori Chori on Amazon Prime Video.

Sangam (1964)

sangam movie Sangam had Raj Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar and Vjayanthimala in the lead roles. (Photo: Express Archive)

Sangam is also a love story, and could have been a cliched one had it not been for the climax. A tale of friendship, love and betrayal; Sangam tells the story of the characters of Raj Kapoor, Vyjayanthimala and Rajendra Kumar who grew up together, but an obstacle presents itself when the two men end up falling for their friend Radha. Sangam can be a bit loud in places and even somewhat tiring with its push-and-pull of an obsessive kind of love, but is ultimately a winner thanks to its somewhat shocking end and credible performances.

Teesri Kasam (1966)

teesri kasam Teesri Kasam was a story based in rural India. (Photo: Saregama Music/YouTube)

Based on the short story Maare Gaye Gulfam penned by famous Hindi writer Phanishwarnath Renu, Teesri Kasam had Raj Kapoor and Waheed Rahman in the lead roles. Its narrative is set in rural India where an innocent, well-meaning bullock cart driver falls for a dancer at a travelling theatre troupe. The movie won a National Award for Best Feature Film upon its release.

Mera Naam Joker (1970)

mera naam joker Raj Kapoor directed and starred in the 1970 movie Mera Naam Joker. (Photo: Express Archive)

Mera Naam Joker has been directed and produced by Raj Kapoor. Earlier called out for its length and plot points, the film is now considered a cult classic for exploring philosophical themes. It is also said to have been Raj Kapoor’s personal favourite from his own career, and was under production for six years until it finally saw the light of the day in 1970. The film’s narrative focuses on a clown’s final performances as three important women of his life view it from the galleries. Mera Naam Joker also marked the debut of Rishi Kapoor in films.

Bobby (1973)

rishi kapoor Rishi Kapoor made his debut as a male lead with Bobby. (Photo: RK Studios)

Now this is a tale as old as time, especially as far as Hindi cinema is concerned. Raj (Rishi Kapoor) and Bobby (Dimple Kapadia) fall for each other despite their circumstances — the class divide, different religions, the works. As warring parents and the proverbial society gets in their way, Raj and Bobby do everything in their capacity to keep the flame of love alive and burning. Bobby was directed and produced by Raj Kapoor. It marked the debut of both Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia as lead actors.

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