UPDATED: Editor & Author’s note: Our readers have expressed conflicting feelings regarding Rishi Kapoor’s history, and we looked more into it and now have a more informed view. Kapoor had been known for domestic abuse allegations and casteist and sexist remarks against many people, especially women. We do not support that in any way nor do we want to glorify that behavior. We appreciate and value the feedback and the time viewers have taken to inform and educate us on this. Thank you for making us better writers, editors, and a better platform.
I’ve never seen the movie, Bobby. Every time I would fly home to Bangkok to stay with my family, my father would recommend the movie for us all to watch together. Every time, we would entertain the idea and we would get closer to playing it on the telly but ultimately, we would go with another choice. Because, well, there was this idea that Bobby would always be there, right? As would all the other evergreen films that my parents, chacha, chachi, and grandparents loved when growing up.
Today, we learn the news of another legend’s passing. Rishi Kapoor passed away earlier this morning after a two-year-long battle with leukemia. My social media is once again inundated with quotes, anecdotes, and stories of how the amazing and incredibly charming Rishi Kapoor changed their lives growing up. Of his mesmerizing screen presence. Of how Bollywood’s eternal romantic hero stole their hearts but didn’t break it, but rather nourished it. His playful antics on-screen made us all blush and his victories made us rejoice. And, as his family tells us all, even in his own life during his health struggles, he still managed to keep everyone around him smiling. I’m also struck at how many people from my generation are recognizing this loss.
I am incredibly embarrassed to admit that I haven’t seen many of the veteran’s classic films. I grew up knowing of his impact – I mean, my family even made it a point to pass by his house in Mumbai when I visited with my family for the first time. I knew this man meant so much to my parents and their parents, and I, a generation later, was obsessing over his son, Ranbir Kapoor. Slowly, my fondness for Rishi Kapoor grew as well through his later films like Namastey London, Luck By Chance, and Kapoor & Sons. He was brilliant in every role and stole the scene every time we saw him. And yet, I kept delaying watching his earlier films with my parents, particularly with my father.
All my father wanted was to share some of his favorite films with his children. To share his likes, dislikes, and opinions. To share a little bit about his life growing up and to pass on his memories. There is definite grief over the loss of a legend and the impact he has made on cinema. With that, also comes the grief of missed shared experiences with our family.
I am so far away from home right now and every day, I am reminded of how much I had taken the small moments with my family for granted. There is this belief that our heroes and the people we admire will always be there – the same belief holds for our loved ones and the memories and experiences they hold. Growing up watching Hindi films, I saw the power of love radiate through the stories that were shared about family, romance, and about community. Rishi Kapoor embodied that love, and how strong a feeling it can be.
I write this with a heavy heart and with the knowledge that any words of mine will not do justice to this incredible legend. It will not bring back the time that I didn’t spend with my parents and family to hear and learn about their childhood, their dreams, and their experiences. But hopefully, it will be a reminder for me to pay more attention because, after all, what better way to show our affection than to cherish what our loved ones love.
RIP Rishi Sir. You brought so much joy and love into the lives of many. You’ll live on in the memories of future generations yet to come.