Raj Kapoor is hailed as the showman of Indian film industry. On his 93rd birthday today, let’s remember some of his most remembered performances as an artist and filmmaker. His first movie was Inquilab in 1945 in which he worked as a child artist. After acting in several films over the next 12 years, which also includes assisting Kirdar Sharma as a clapper boy. Raj’s big break came with the lead role in Neel Kamal (1947) opposite Madhubala in her first role as a leading lady. In 1948, at the age of twenty-four, he established his own studio, R. K. Films, and became the youngest film director of his time making his directorial debut with Aag starring himself, Nargis, Kamini Kaushal and Premnath. In 1949 he co-starred alongside the legendary Dilip Kumar and Nargis in Mehboob Khan’s hit film Andaz which was his first major success as an actor. He had his first success as a producer, director, and star of Barsaat released later that year.
Raj Kapoor is remembered for his versatile acting. His famous films were Awara, Jagtae Raho, Shree 420, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Mera Namm Joker and many. He was known to perform both serious and comic role equally well. For example, in Jagte Raho he played a thief and remained silent throughout the movie. The contrast is in Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai in which he played a very bubbly and emotional character. His movie Mera Naam Joker was his life’s philosophy which deals with problems like poverty, love-relationships and life of artists besides many hidden themes. The reason why he is hailed as the biggest showman of them all was that he even introduced music directors Shankar-Jaikishan and the lyricists Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra in the film industry. He also introduced actresses Nimmi, Dimple Kapadia, and Mandakini, as well as launching and reviving the careers of his sons Rishi, Randhir and Rajiv. Raj Kapoor was famous for his bold takes includig on women. Films like Bobby, Mera Naam Joker and Ram Teri Ganga Maili are examples of bold cinema based on complex human relationships and lives of women in traditional Indian society.
Son of theatre and movie artist Prithvi Raj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor was born in 1924 at Kapoor Haveli, a house then owned by his father, in Peshawar, now Pakistan. In May 1946, Raj Kapoor married Krishna Malhotra. Raj and Krishna Kapoor were blessed with five children: three sons, actors Randhir, Rishi and Rajiv, and two daughters, Ritu Nanda and Rima Jain.