Randhir Kapoor, an actor much more than image of happy-go-lucky person he got trapped in

Randhir worked in a surprisingly large number of hit films, but was never taken seriously as an actor; maybe because he never took himself seriously

Randhir Kapoor, an actor much more than image of happy-go-lucky person he got trapped in

Subhash K Jha

It’s a pity that Randhir Kapoor got trapped in the image of a happy-go-lucky awaraa-nalayak version of his father Raj Kapoor. There was so much more to him than the rumbustious ho-ho-ho blustering bumpkin’s image that he was stuck with. Part of the blame for not breaking out of that stereotype must go to Daboo, alias Randhir Kapoor. He loved to be perceived as a typical Kapoor: an overweight foodie with a snappy sense of humour who didn’t care for the hit-or-flop cycle of the box office. But Randhir had the chops, and he had the hits. Take a look.

1. Kal Aaj Aur Kal (1971): This was quite a family affair: that is to say, Randhir’s family his grandfather Prithviraj Kapoor and father Raj Kapoor, played their real-life roles while his fiancé Babita played his girlfriend. This was Randhir’s debut as an actor and director, and he was promising. The film still exudes freshness in its tone. It deals with the theme of the generation gap with a certain amount of wisecracking wisdom. Shankar-Jaikishan created a hit score without the presence of Lata Mangeshkar . Songs like Aap yahan aaye kis liye and Bhanware ki gunjan are hummed to this day. The film was an average success at the box office. Interestingly, Mehmood spoofed Prithiviraj, Raj and Randhir playing all three roles himself a year later in the Jeetendra starrer Humjoli.

2. Rampur Ka Lakshman (1972): A year after his debut Randhir Kapoor featured in Manmohan Desai’s potboiler a superhit with chartbuster songs composed by Rahul Dev Burman for Randhir to sing: Rampur ka wasi hoon main laxman mera naam and Ghum hai kisi ke pyaar mein being the two biggest hits. Randhir had his pal Rekha for company in this film where villain Shatrughan Sinha stole the show. The two actors played brothers at loggerheads.

3. Hamrahi (1974): One of the most under-estimated films of Randhir’s career Hamrahi directed by Anand Sagar was a load of fun and a source of inspiration for Priyadarshan’s Hera Pheri. Known for his comic virtuosity Randhir got tit for tat from the spontaneous and vivacious Tanuja. One wonders why these two were not cast together again. They seemed to have so much fun together. Their repartees sparkled, and why not! The dialogues were written by eminent Hindi litterateur Kishan Chander. Later Kishan Chander also wrote Ram Bharose for Randhir.

4. Jawani Diwani (1972): Randhir Kapoor shared a very warm and close bonding with filmmaker Ramesh Behl who cast the actor with Amitabh Bachchan in Kasme Vade and with Jaya Bachchan in this sparkling musical college comedy with R D Burman belting out hit after hit…. Yeh jawani hai diwani, Jaan-e-jaan, Agar saaz cheda tarane banenge...take your pick. A superhit the same team tried to encore the success in Dil Diwana two years later, but failed.

5. Dharam Karam (1975): Ek din bik jayega mati ke mol…Majrooh Sultanpuri’s words reverberate across the universe. Alas, the song has far outlived the film which was a forgettable mess. It brought together father Raj Kapoor and son Randhir in a muddled potboiler inspired by Raj Kapoor Awara. The narration is scattered all over the place. The father-son equation was much better tapped in Kal Aaj Aur Kal.

Fun facts about Randhir Kapoor: He worked in 15 films with Rekha and they remain friends to this day….Raj Kapoor and Randhir Kapoor appeared in a film together called Do Ustad when Randhir was 12 but they did not play father and son….Randhir worked in a surprisingly large number of hit films including Haath Ki Safai (1974), Chacha Bhatija (1977), Rampur Ka Lakshman (1972) and Jawani Diwani (1972) but was never taken seriously as an actor; maybe because he never took himself seriously.

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