By Lachman Balani
Brampton: On May 6, veteran actress Neetu Kapoor, and her director/actor husband Rishi Kapoor of Indian Cinema’s Kapoor dynasty, delighted an audience at the Powerade Centre in Brampton.
Rishi, with his commanding personality, and Neetu, looking extremely elegant in a Sabyasachi creation, are the first Bollywood actors to take part in a five –part ‘In conversation’ series with Bollywood actors. Both admitted to be undertaking such a live talk show for the first time ever anywhere in the world. They totally fascinated the crowd with stories from their acting careers. Rishi let on that he first appeared in ‘Shree 420’ when he was only two years old. His next film was 15 years later ‘Mera Naam Joker’ and then came his full-on debut as a lead actor in 1973, in the blockbuster ‘Bobby’.
Neetu mused on how she was first stirred by Rishi. Rishi was working with her on a film and then had to leave to work on another movie in another town and from there sent her a telegram (gasp- remember those days!?), with the words ‘Sikhni yaad ayee!’(Sikhni remember me). From then on the relationship blossomed and ended in blissful marriage! Her comeback in ‘Do dooni char’ in 2010 was only possible because of the encouragement and comfort that Rishi provided.
Rishi, the more talkative of the two, said, in a typical Mumbai mix of Hindi and English, stories of his great grandfather, grandfather, father, uncles, brothers and cousins and how because of their name, even relatives from his mother’s side like Premnath and Prem Chopra came to join the film industry. Asked which movie he would recommend to put in a time capsule so that 100 years hence people could look back and talk about it he picked the movie ‘Awaara’ (Vagabond), which he said was the only movie he knows where 4 generations of a family are portrayed– his great grandfather Dewan Bashwanath, his grandfather Prithviraj, his father Raj, his uncle Shashi and his brother Randhir. The movie was also well accepted in the Soviet Union, Africa, Japan , China , Turkey and the Middle East with the song ‘Awaara Hoon’ on everyone’s lips in those countries.
Regarding their son Ranbir, they had nothing but kind words and high hopes, because they said that in today’s world, just coming from a dynasty of established actors doesn’t cut it. Ranbir will have to continuously prove his mettle and gain his fans adulation and as everyone knows- he excelled in ‘Rockstar’!
Rishi also said that Hollywood movies are more popular because they are in the more universal language of English and that their budgets are huge therefore their productions are better.
There were many professional and personal topics covered in their hour and half of conversation and interaction with the crowd. Rishi ended by delighting the crowd with a live rendition of ‘Main shayar to nahin’ from his movie ‘Bobby’. The talk show was skillfully hosted by Mohit Rajhans and Sushmita Rao.