Rishi Kapoor, the man with multiple celluloid personalities and chameleon-like skills still continues to shine and scintillate with his unparalleled versatility and unmatched perfection. With 48 years of contribution to Hindi Cinema and a seldom-seen reinvention at the movies, his transformation from a constant charmer to the industry’s most reliable and robust character-actor is equally inspiring and intriguing.
Kapoor, who was drained and exhausted by playing the done-to-death romantic characters only required to wear designer sweaters and romance the leading ladies on the luscious landscapes of Switzerland, underwent a mammoth metamorphosis and shocked the audiences with one drastically different character from the other. It shall be both unfair and difficult to pick-up his five best performances but let’s try:-
1. Luck By Chance (2009)
This Zoya Akhtar directorial was both an ode to the fantastical dream that Cinema is as well as the brutal realities of the Hindi film business. And torn between the two was Rommy Rolly, an over-enthusiastic and over-zealous filmmaker who’s superstitions could give Ekta Kapoor a run for her money. His undying passion for cinema and penchant for making blockbuster movies are nothing but a mirror to a majority of the filmmakers in showbiz, and Kapoor brought both humor and warmth to his character.
2. Do Dooni Chaar (2010)
As the title can be deciphered, it was a slice-of-life drama-cum-comedy about a middle class family and its comedic yet concrete struggles to meet their ends. And right at the heart of the film was Kapoor’s character of Santosh Duggal. Portraying the nuances of a forthright school teacher and a miser father with perfection, Kapoor showcased the two contrasting lives of one human and gave us both entertainment and enlightenment.
3. Agneepath (2012)
After turds like Khoj (1989), Kucch To Hai (2003) and Kal Kissne Dekha (2009), the veteran and seasoned actor returned to portray an antagonist in Karan Malhotra’s Agneepath. He donned the role of Rauf Lala, an underworld don who deals in drugs and prostitution. His hideousness and filth were all internalized, and not merely restricted to his physical appearance. Eliciting loath and unrest, Lala was one character that Kapoor was hesitant to depict, but shone when he finally showcased in one of the only respectable remakes to come out of the movies.
4. Kapoor & Sons (2016)
Amrjeet Kapoor aka Daadu is a character for the ages. Playing an octogenarian buried under heavy prosthetic, Rishi Kapoor gave this immensely likable family member his own comedic touch and shades of geniality. Although portrayed mostly for the laughs, there was a bundle of untapped emotions and fear of loss deep down inside. And the film’s dysfunctional theme did complete justice to the complexities of the character.
5. Mulk (2018)
Are all Muslims terrorists or all terrorists Muslims? This question was thrown to the audiences in Mulk, a chilling courtroom drama that tackled some uncomfortable questions and could possibly make the viewers squirm with fear and panic. Rishi Kapoor played Murad Ali Mohammed, an Advocate who’s ironically embroiled in a court case himself when his nephew joins a Terrorist Organization and his brother has to bear the brunt. And expectedly, Kapoor made his anguish and agony completely palpable and gave us another evidence of his tenacious understanding of the craft.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Namastey London, Love Aaj Kal, Aurangzeb, D-Day and 102 Not Out.
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