Raj Kapoor was one of the greatest and most influential actors and filmmakers of Hindi cinema. While people mostly remember the icon for his contribution to cinema, there’s more to the person beyond his passion for movies. On his 94th birth anniversary, we walk down memory lane to give you a sneak-peek into his childhood, his acting career and his relationship with his children.
1. With father Prithviraj Kapoor frequently leaving behind his family to travel for work, Raj Kapoor, the eldest among all children, was lonely and very protective about his mother, who was only 16 years older to him.
2. Raj was obsessed with food, something that goes back to his childhood when he wanted to take part in races only to get the snacks at the end.
3. The actor finally had his way after a dramatic showdown with his father, who wanted him to lead a conventional life away from showbiz.
4. As a boy, Raj did not have much of an interest in academics. Instead, he loved to read comics like Archies and Little Lulu. “He told our children mythological stories,” actor Randhir Kapoor said in a magazine interview. “Or he would read aloud from Archie comics,” Rishi Kapoor had added.
5. At the age of 10, Raj Kapoor appeared in a film titled Inquilab for the first time. At the age of 24, he became the youngest film director of his times by making the film Aag, starring himself and Nargis in lead roles.
6. As a father, Raj Kapoor wanted his children to discover their own identity. “He [Raj] is my guru…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,” Rishi Kapoor had revealed while speaking at the 16th Pune International Film Festival’s PIFF Forum.
7. For Raj, cinema wasn’t just his profession; it was his life. On holidays, he would visit his farm near Pune or his Swiss resort to be at the races. But it’s not like he wasn’t around for his children when needed.
8. In an interview with Filmfare, Raj’s daughter Rima Jain had revealed, “Papa was not a regular dad, who’d be available at all times. But he was aware of everything that we did. Basically, Papa, for us, meant ‘entertainment’. Movies, vacations, parties, new outfits… He loved throwing lavish parties.”
9. Despite being known to the world as a showman, he enjoyed simple things and enjoyed sleeping on a mattress on the floor, even if it meant dragging it off the bed at a hotel. He also preferred to be driven in the Ambassador car, while the Mercedes was reserved for his wife.
10. Raj Kapoor was honoured with Padma Bhushan in 1971, and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1987.