“Rishi Kapoor ji’s passing away has come as a shock. It is heart-wrenching. I am shattered by his demise. He was a great actor,” Umesh Shukla told indianexpress.com.
Remembering his collaboration with Rishi Kapoor in 102 Not Out and All Is Well, Shukla said, “He was a spontaneous actor. He never believed in homework. He would just arrive on set and give his best. He was a natural. We have lost a great actor today. We first worked together on All Is Well, and then 102 Not Out. I don’t remember Rishi ji any other way. I remember him as the great actor he was.”
He added, “During All Is Well days, he was not well. He had sciatica, but 102 Not Out was a smooth ride. We shot for 40 days, and it was 40 days full of heaven as I got to direct not one, but two legendary actors, Rishi ji and Amitabh Bachchan sir. And then his health started deteriorating, but he never let anyone know. He didn’t even try to be happy. He was just the happy person we knew. He believed he had to make the best of everything he has and make sure that people around him are entertained.”
Umesh Shukla also heaped praise on Rishi Kapoor’s ability to get into character with ease. Lauding Rishi’s acting prowess, he said, “Rishiji was so good. He never carried his characters with him. He would be his character in one second, and Rishi Kapoor in the next second. It was so easy for him to get in and out of character. I would wonder how he does it. Once he is dressed as his character, he would be that person in a split second. He was magic. He truly was magic.”
Calling Rishi’s demise a huge loss for the film fraternity, Shukla said, “It is a huge loss. He always said that his second innings was much better than the first one. He would say that in his first innings, he always roamed around trees and sang songs on mountains wearing sweaters. Whereas, he was happy that he was getting good meaty characters in his second innings. He would tell us, ‘This is my best time, and I want to make the best of it.’ I have never seen anyone enjoy their work as much as he did.”
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The filmmaker last met Rishi Kapoor in the US where the actor was being treated for cancer. He said, “Even when we went to meet him in the US, he was so happy. He was always full of life.”