Mumbai, April 30: Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor, who personified the Bollywood romantic hero for three decades before becoming a sought after character artiste, died here on Thursday after a two-year battle with leukaemia. He was 67.
Rishi, the third generation of the Kapoor dynasty that defined stardom, is survived by his wife Neetu, actor son Ranbir and daughter Ridhima.
“He is no more. He has passed away,” his elder brother Randhir told PTI.
The actor, familiar to generations of film goers for his many roles, right from Bobby to Kapoor & Sons , was taken to the H N Reliance hospital on Wednesday.
The end came at 8.45 am, the family said in a statement, requesting fans and friends to respect the restrictions in place in view of the lockdown.
His death comes a day after after his “D-Day” co-star Irrfan Khan passed away, also of cancer. Three months ago, the disease claimed his sister Ritu Nanda.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were among the many people who condoled his death.
“Multifaceted, endearing and lively…this was Rishi Kapoor Ji. He was a powerhouse of talent. I will always recall our interactions, even on social media,” the prime minister wrote on Twitter.
Kapoor was passionate about films and India’s progress, he added.
Naidu recalled that the talented actor essayed many roles with aplomb and was popular for his romantic films.
“In his passing away, the nation lost a beloved son and film industry lost a gem,” Naidu’s office tweeted.
“This is a terrible week for Indian cinema, with the passing of another legend, actor Rishi Kapoor,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, describing Rishi as a “wonderful actor, with a huge fan following across generations”.
The doctors and medical staff at the hospital said he kept them entertained to the last, the family disclosed in their statement.
He remained jovial and determined to live to the fullest right through two years of treatment across two continents. Family, friends, food and films remained his focus and everyone who met him during this time was amazed at how he did not let his illness get the better of him, the family said in a statement.
“In this hour of personal loss, we also recognise the world is going through a very difficult and troubled time. There are numerous restrictions around movement and gathering in public. We would like to request all his fans and well-wishers and friends of the family to please respect the laws that are in force. He would not have it any other way, it added.
Rishi returned to India last September after undergoing treatment for his cancer in the US for almost a year.
In February, he was hospitalised twice.
He was first admitted to a hospital in Delhi where he was attending a family function. At the time, he said he was suffering from an “infection”.
After his return to Mumbai, he was again admitted to a hospital with viral fever. He was discharged soon after.
Rishi made his first screen appearance when he was just a toddler in his father Raj Kapoor’s film Shri 420 , where he appeared in the song Pyaar hua ikraar hua . This was followed by “Mera Naam Joker” in 1970.
But it was in 1973, with the blockbuster Bobby , again directed by his father, that he really became a marquee name, making his debut as a romantic hero, a slot he made his very own as he danced and sang through three decades and scores of movies.
His notable films as a romantic hero include “Laila Majnu”, “Rafoo Chakkar”, “Karz”, “Chandni”, “Henna” and “Saagar”.
He was, however, more proud of his second innings as an actor, which he found more satisfying. His notable films as a character artiste are “Do Dooni Chaar” with wife Neetu, “Agneepath” and “Kapoor & Sons .
As the film industry came to terms with the loss of the actor, who had a five-decade career in cinema and was in plans to do more films, the tributes poured in.
Amitabh Bachchan, a close friend and frequent collaborator, broke the news on social media, but deleted the tweet seconds after posting it.
“He’s GONE .. ! Rishi Kapoor .. gone .. just passed away .. I am destroyed, he said.
Bachchan had starred opposite Rishi Kapoor in films like Amar Akbar Anthony , Kabhi Kabhie , Naseeb , Coolie and Ajooba . Their last movie together was 2011’s 102 Not Out .
South superstar Rajiinkanth, who worked with Rishi Kapoor in 1986’s Dosti Dushmani said he was heartbroken .
Heartbroken … Rest In Peace … my dearest friend #RishiKapoor, the actor wrote.
Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar said the actor’s passing away has created a huge void in the cinema industry.
I don’t know what to say? I’m very said with the news of Rishi ji’s demise. His passing away is an irreparable loss for the film industry. It’s really tough for me to bear this pain. May his soul rest in peace, Mangeshkar posted on Twitter. (PTI)