Over the years it's become apparent that Rishi Kapoor is clearly my favorite of all the Kapoor clan. I might love Raj Kapoor's early films; I might appreciate the unabashed enthusiasm of Shammi Kapoor; but none of the Kapoor clan comes close to Rishi for consistently capturing my undivided attention in whatever film he's in. I even joke about having a "Rishi Rule": if Rishi is in the film, that will automatically redeem it for me, no matter what else is going on.
I will also confess to a great admiration for how Rishi has managed to navigate his career -- where other actors try to hard to extend their hero roles way beyond their welcome, Rishi has settled into a charming uncle phase. You only have to watch films like Love Aaj Kal or Delhi-6 to appreciate him, and he lends charm and grace to whatever he's in. It's probably no surprise that he won awards for the role of the struggling teacher Santosh Duggal as he tries to balance the dreams of his family with the reality of life on a teacher's salary in Habib Faisal's 2010 film Do Dooni Chaar.
It was a challenge to pick out five favorite Rishi songs, but I think these are the ones that maybe make my heart go "ping" every time I watch them.
1. "Main Shayar To Nahin" from Bobby (1973, dir. Raj Kapoor):
If I have mixed feelings about the film, that's not the case for the film's music. Every song in Bobby is a gem, and though others may show Rishi off as a performer, I love him in "Main Shayar To Nahin" for his gentleness and restraint. He may say he's not a poet, but his performance is pure poetry:
2. "Dil Dena" from Rafoo Chakkar (1975, dir. Narender Bedi)
Inspired by Some Like It Hot (1959, dir. Billy Wilder), Rafoo Chakkar is a film I love to bits, and "Dil Dena" gives me an opportunity to indulge in some Neetu-squee, too. Rishi and Neetu (now married in real life) are another of my favorite screen couples, and I love any opportunity to see them indulge in some silliness:
3. "Parda Hai Parda" from Amar, Akbar, Anthony (1977, dir. Manmohan Desai)
Another chance at a wee bit of Neetu-squee, and for me, "Parda Hai Parda" is probably the moment that my heart went "pingpingping" and Rishi became one of my favorites forever:
4. "Om Shanti Om" from Karz (1980, dir. Subhash Ghai)
Probably one of the most iconic Rishi moments, and no wonder: Rishi dancing on a giant turntable. It, of course, inspired director Farah Khan to recreate the moment in her 2007 film Om Shanti Om:
5. "Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karenge" from Pyaar Mein Twist (2005, dir. Hriday Shetty)
I have never seen Pyaar Mein Twist, and my efforts to procure a copy for Kapoor Khazana have so far been in vain. But how can I resist a film that reunites the two Bobby stars, Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia? I cannot. No, I cannot, indeed:
This video alone caused me to create a new catogory on the blog, the long-overdue "Rishi Squee".