Rishi Kapoor’s top 10 films

This deathless entertainer has given us loads of very enjoyable musical romances to watch in leisure for forever, and a day

Rishi Kapoor’s top 10 films
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Subhash K Jha

Here’s looking at Rishi Kapoor’s 10 Best Films.

Mera Naam Joker (1969)—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 award. Looking at his performance, under father Raj Kapoor’s direction, even today you feel he got the confusion 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, 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 Rishi was amazing in his confidence level while portraying the rich introverted 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 was around too. Narendra Bedidirected this enjoyable desi version of Some Like It Hot. Amazingly decades later Paintal's son Hiten Paintal played Rishi’s son Ranbir’s pal in Bachna-Ae-Haseeno. 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 Qawwali Parda hai parda and Tayyab 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(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 rock star act in the fulsome musical by Subhash Ghai...No one could take to the dancefloor the way Rishi Kapoor did.Not even his very talented son. In this film on the theme of reincarnation, Rishi took sweet revenge on his schoolteacher from Mera Naam Joker Simi Garewal.


Prem Rog (1982)—Another heroine-centric film where director Raj Kapoor focused entirely on young widow Padmini Kohapure’s plight. And yet as her silent supporter and sympathizer Rishi excelled far beyond the script. Watch his expressions during the song Yeh pyar tha ya kuchh 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 Hema Malini who is 10 years his senior. Adapted from litterateur Rajinder Singh Bedi’s short story this bold film was memorable for giving Rishi a chance to explore something beyond his usual rom-com space. Sukhwant Dhadda directed. Wonder what happened to him!

Khoj (1989)—At a time when he played lover-boy roles, Rishi took a grand risk with this role of a man who murders his own wife. But shhhh! We don’t know that until the end. And as we all know, ‘The End’ is a long way off from Rishi Kapoor’s exceptional career.

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