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Rishi Kapoor (1952–2020), Bollywood romantic star

by John Maxwell

Rishi Kapoor was an Indian actor known for starring in over 100 Bollywood films. He was a romantic lead, singing and dancing for 30 years before transitioning into an acclaimed character actor.

Movies were a family business

Kapoor began his acting career in the 1970 film “Mera Naam Joker” (My Name is Joker), directed by his father, actor-director Raj Kapoor. His father cast him as the lead in the musical teen romance “Bobby” (1973), which became one of the biggest Bollywood hits of the 1970s. The movie’s story of young love set against a social clash of rich vs. poor was a Bollywood trendsetter. Kapoor became one of the most popular leading men in Indian film. He married his frequent co-star, actress Neetu Singh in 1980, and the couple had two children, including son Ranbir Kapoor, who has become a star in his own right.

Kapoor on the struggle of being a romantic lead

“I may have not slept on pavements or gone hungry and had a huge hit in ‘Bobby,’ but then what? I was in the choppy sea all my life… I was a romantic hero in an action-films era.” —from a 2017 interview with the Hindustan Times


What people said about him

Full obituary: The New York Times

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