Hailing from an acting dynasty in Indian cinema, the Chandni star, who has died aged 67, played the sweet-natured eternal juvenile roles that stole the audience’s hearts
The story of Rishi Kapoor is a love story: he was loved as the chubby and cherubic child star who morphed into an irresistible, indefatigable romantic lead in dozens of comedies, dramas, musicals and thrillers. He famously fell in love with his leading lady Neetu Singh, married her, appeared in dozens more love stories with Neetu on the big screen – and the public fell in love with them both. Then, as the 21st century brought a career shift into twinkly-eyed avuncular character roles (and occasional bad guys) the public fell for him all over again. His loss is an awful blow so soon after Irrfan Khan’s death and also the loss in 2018 of Rishi’s frequent co-star Sridevi.
Rishi and Neetu had a son who went into showbusiness, actor Ranbir Kapoor, and the Kapoor family is a legendary movie clan. Rishi’s grandfather was the actor Prithviraj Kapoor, his father was the formidable producer-star Raj Kapoor and the number of Kapoors in Bollywood is dizzying. Rishi is incidentally the nephew of Shashi Kapoor – and by that token, the nephew of Shashi’s wife Jennifer Kendal, sister of Felicity. Amitabh Bachchan’s daughter Shweta is married to Rishi’s nephew Nikhil Nanda. The Kapoors are virtually the royal family of Indian cinema.