wiki:Raj Kapoor

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Raj Kapoor


Hindi megastar, producer, director and all- round showman. Born in Peshawar (now Pakistan) as Ranbirraj Kapoor; son of actor Prithviraj Kapoor. Worked with his father as stage actor, prod. manager and art director. First film role aged 11. Started as clapper-boy at Bombay Talkies; then assistant director there and at Ranjit (1946). Set up R.K. Films (1948) to make Aag. Expanded into a full-scale studio at Chembur in Bombay (1950), continuing with Mehboob, Kardar and Sohrab Modi the studio tradition into the post-Independence period. Screen persona makes repeated references to Chaplin’s tramp, but Kapoor also asserted his debt to Capra (their first meeting is recorded in Capra’s autobiography) and to De Sica (esp. Miracolo a Milano, 1950). The earlier films, esp. Awara and Shri 420 scripted by K.A. Abbas, evince a sentimental approach to social reform, presenting political Independence as a loss of innocence in exchange for stability, condensed into the persona of the mother/lover as played by Nargis. With their elaborate sets, fine camerawork and music (usually composed by Shankar-Jaikishen and written by Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri), the films achieved immense popularity throughout India, in the USSR and in the Middle East. Although Boot Polish was credited to Prakash Arora, one of his assistants, most of the film’s final version was attributable to Kapoor. Also produced his classic performance in Jagte Raho/Ek? Din Raatre. Sangam, his first colour film, used locations in exotic Europe. Became more sexually explicit in the 70s after the box-office failure of his ambitious Mera Naam Joker, a maudlin epic inspired by Limelight (1951) which took 6 years to make. Bobby introduced Dimple Kapadia as star opposite Rishi Kapoor. The combination of sentimentalism with lush stylisation and steamy sexuality (presented with moral indignation) in his later work recalls Cecil B. DeMille?. Kidar Sharma (1952) described Raj Kapoor as an example of ‘The director with the Cave Man conception of love.’ Mahesh Bhatt (1993) described him as ‘An audacious film-maker who displayed the feverish carnality of a schoolboy in most of his films.’ Produced his own directions.

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