Raj Kapoor: Life Story of an Indian Actor, Film Producer & Film director

Raj Kapoor

Raj Kapoor Biography & Life Story of Indian Actor, Film Producer & Film director

Shrishti Nath Kapoor is very popularly known as Raj Kapoor. He is also known as Ranbir Raj Kapoor. Raj Kapoor was an Indian actor, film producer & film director.

He worked for Hindi cinema. He is also popular as The Greatest Showman of Indian Cinema. He received multiple recognitions like three National Film Awards and 11 Filmfare Awards in India.

The Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award is named after him. In 1951, he produced Awara & in 1954 again he produced Boot Polish.

Both of them competed for the Palme d’Or grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Time magazine ranked his performance of Awara as one of the “Top-Ten Greatest Performances of All Time in World Cinema”.

In 1971, Indian government honored him with the Padma Bhushan for his contribution to the arts. In 1987, India’s highest award in cinema ‘The Dadasaheb Phalke Award’ was granted on him by the Indian Government.

His movies were popular in many parts of South/Central/Southeast Asia, the former Soviet Union/Bloc, China, the Middle East, and Africa.

They were global commercial successes. It is seen that he was inspired by Charlie Chaplin. He played characters based on The Tramp in films such as Awaara and Shree 420. He was known as the Charlie Chaplin of Indian cinema.

Early & Personal life of Raj Kapoor:

Raj was born on 14th December 1924 as Shrishti Nath Kapoor at Kapoor Haveli, Peshawar. He was born to a Punjabi Hindu family.

Prithviraj Kapoor and Ramsarni Devi Kapoor were his parents. Raj was the eldest sibling of six children in the family.

Late actors Shashi Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor were his brothers. He had a sister named Urmila Sial. Later they moved to Mumbai for education.

Kapoor family needed to move from city to city early as Prithviraj needed it for his career in 1930s. He attended several different schools like Colonel Brown Cambridge School in Dera Doon, St Xavier’s Collegiate School in Calcutta and Campion School in Mumbai.

Raj married to Krishna Malhotra on 12th May 1946. As of the cine-magazine Filmindia in June 1946, their marriage was reported as, “Raj Kapoor, the talented and versatile son of Prithviraj Kapoor ended his career of wild oats by marrying Miss Krishna Malhotra in the second week of May at Rewa, Madhya Pradesh”.

The couple had five children, three sons named Randhir, Rishi & Rajiv Kapoor. They had two daughters named Ritu Nanda & Rima Jain.

It is said that, he had a longtime romantic relationship with renowned actress Nargis Dutt during 1940s & 1950s. They starred in several films together, including Awaara and Shree 420.

After Chori Chori, Nargis ended their relationship & married Sunil Dutt. He had an affair with 1960s top actress Vaijantimala during the shooting of Sangam.

However, Vaijantimala denied it, & said it was a publicity stunt by Kapoor to promote Sangam. He was also linked with the Douthern actress Padmini. His son Rishi confirmed his father’s affairs in his autobiography named Khullam Khulla in 2017.

Dilip Kumar, Mukesh, Dev Anand, Pran, Rajendra Kumar, Manna Dey, Shankar Jaikishan, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Khwaja Ahmad Abbas and Rajesh Khanna were his closest friends from the movie industry.

His eldest daughter Ritu died in January 2020 & in the same year in April Rishi also died. Even his youngest son Rajiv died in February 2021.

Career of Raj Kapoor:

In 1935, at the age of 10, for the first time he appeared in a Hindi movie Inguilab. However, his big break came with the lead role in Neel Kamal in 1947 opposite Madhubala.

At the age of 24, in 1948 he established his own studio named R. K. Films. With it he became a youngest film director of his time.

His first film as a director was Aag. He himself acted in it along with Nargis, Kamini Kaushal & Premnath. In 1949, his film Andaz was his first major success as an actor.

Later a year his movie Barsaat was his first success as producer, director & star. Under R. K. banner, he produced many hit films like Awaara, Aah, Shree 420, Jagte Raho & Jis Des Men Ganga Behti Hai.

Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai was directed by Radhu Karmakar, it won Filmfare Award for Best Film. Outside the R. K. banner, he acted in Dastan, Anhonee, Chori Chori, Anari, Do Ustad, Chhalia & Dil Hi To Hai.

In 1950s he produced hit social films like Boot Polish & Ab Dilli Door Nahin. In 1964, Sangam was his first hit film in color as producer, director & actor.

He acted opposite Rajendra Kumar & Vaijantimala in that movie. That was his last successful film as a leading actor. Later, he acted in Dulha Dulhan, Around the World & Sapno Ka Saudagar, they were box office flops.

He was a member of jury at 4th Moscow International Film Festival in 1965. In 1970, he produced, directed & starred in his most ambitious movie Mera Naam Joker.

He took more than six years to complete it. His son Rishi Kapoor made his debut as Raj Kapoor’s younger version.

Unfortunately, it was a big box office disaster & it put Kapoor’s into financial crisis. After few years, it was acknowledged as a cult classic.

In 1971. He launched his elder son Randhir Kapoor in a family drama film Kal Aaj Aur Kal. Raj Kapoor, Prithvi Raj Kapoor, Randhir Kapor & Babita played lead role in it.

In 1973, he launched Rishi Kapoor in lead role in the movie Bobby opposite Dimple Kapadia. Bobby was a huge box office success.

In 1975, he acted with Randhir Kapoor in Dharam Karam. During 1970s & 1980s, he produced & directed movies with the focus on the female protagonists like Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Prem Rog, Ram Teri Ganga Maili.

In Naukri, he played supporting role along with Rajesh Khanna. He also played in Do Jasoos & Gopichand Jasoos.

Again in 1979 he was a member of the jury at the 11th Moscow International Film Festival. His last major film appearance was in Vakil Babu in 1982.

He acted with Shashi Kapoor in it. In movie Chor Mandali he appeared against AshokKumar, unfortunately it remained unreleased due to a legal dispute. In 1984, Kim was his last film as an actor with a cameo appearance.

Before his death in 1988, he was set to direct Movie Heena with Rishi Kapoor & Zeba Bakhtar. Later Randhir Kapoor directed it & released it in 1991.

Raj Kapoor Death:

Raj was suffered from Asthma in his later years. In 1988, at the age of 63, he died due to it. He suddenly collapsed at the event where he had to receive the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in New Delhi.

He was taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi for the treatment. There he was hospitalized for about a month.

Raj & his parents’ memorial is at their farm ‘Rajbaugh’. Rajbaug means garden of kings. It is located inside the MIT Art Design & Technology University.

It is located on the banks of Mula-Mutha River in Loni Kalbhor village 30 km east of Pune in Maharashtra. It was unveiled in 2014 in the presence of Lata Mangeshkar and Kapoor clan.

Awards and honors of Raj Kapoor:

He received many awards throughout his career, including 3 National Film Awards, 11 Filmfare Awards and 21 nominations. His films Awaara and Boot Polish were nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

His acting in the former was rated as one of the “Top-Ten Performances of All Time in World Cinema” by Time magazine. His film Jagte Raho won the Crystal Globe award at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

The Government of India honored him with the Padma Bhushan in 1971 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1987 – the highest award for cinematic excellence in India.

He was honored with “Best Director of the Millennium” by Stardust Awards in 2001. In 2002, he was named “Showman of the Millennium” by Star Screen Awards.

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