Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor, who turned 61 Wednesday, has entertained his fans over the years with comedy and romantic roles. Here's looking at the ageless entertainer's 10 best films:
"Mera Naam Joker" (1970): This is where Rishi Kapoor's astounding journey as a star-actor began. Playing an adolescent who has a serious crush on his school teacher (Simi Garewal), Rishi, at 14, won his first National Film Award. Looking at his performance, under father Raj Kapoor's direction, even today you feel that he got the confusions of sexual awakening in his character dead right.
"Bobby" (1973): From here onwards Rishi's struggle to make his presence felt in heroine-oriented film began. Whether it was "Bobby" or "Barood" (1976), the directors focused on the heroine, while Rishi made his presence felt as best as he could. While Dimple Kapadia played the author-backed role in "Bobby", Rishi was amazing in his confidence level while portraying the rich, introvert and neglected child of irresponsible parents.
"Rafoo Chakkar" (1975): Delightful in drag, Rishi simply stole the show with Paintal playing his farcical foil. And yes, wife Neetu Singh">Neetu Singh was around too. Narendra Bedi directed this enjoyable desi version of "Some Like It Hot". Amazingly, decades later Paintal son Hiten Paintal played Rishi's son Ranbir's pal in "Bachna Ae Haseeno" (2008). But the chemistry was not the same.
"Laila Majnu" (1976): One of Rishi's greatest performances. As the legendary lover, he absolutely lived the pain, agony and suffering of the character in the sand dunes of Rajasthan. H.S. Rawail directed this film. Madan Mohan songs like "Barbaad-e-mohabbat ki dua saath liye ja" were put across by Rishi with intense passion. Simply breathtaking.
"Amar Akbar Anthony" (1977): Playing Akbar in the film where Amitabh Bachchan's Anthony clearly had an edge, Rishi's qawwallis "Parda hai parda" and "Taiyyab ali pyar ka dushman" stole the show. No matter how brief his role, Rishi always has fun with it.
"Sargam" (1979): Armed with a dafli and oozing a rustic charm as a love-smitten villager, who wants nothing but to see the object of his adoration (actress Jaya Prada) happy, Rishi re-defined the do-gooder hero's space in Hindi cinema by making the character believable and vulnerable. Another very accomplished performance.
"Karz" (1980): The ultimate rockstar act in the fulsome musical by Subhash Ghai. No one could take to the dance floor the way he did. Not even his very talented son. In this film on the theme of reincarnation, Rishi took sweet revenge on his school teacher from "Mera Naam Joker" Simi.
"Prem Rog" (1982): Another heroine-centric film where director Raj Kapoor focused entirely on young widow Padmini Kolhapure's plight. And yet as her silent supporter and sympathiser, Rishi excelled far beyond the script. Watch his expressions during the song "Yeh pyar tha ya kuch aur tha" during Padmini's marriage. You'd know why many consider Rishi the best actor of the Kapoor clan.
"Ek Chadar Maili Si" (1986): One of Rishi's most underrated performances, here he was cast as Triloka, a rustic Punjabi youngster forced to marry his Bhabhi (sister-in-law) Hema Malini who is 10 years his senior. Adapted from literateur Rajinder Singh Bedi's short story, this bold film remains memorable for giving Rishi a chance to explore something beyond his usual rom-com space.
"Khoj" (1989): At a time when he played loverboy roles, Rishi took a grand risk with this role of a man who murders his own wife. But shhh! We don't know that until the end. And as we all know, 'The End' is a long way off from Rishi's exceptional career.
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