The Kapoor Dynasty of Bollywood is the most revered family in the Indian film industry. It all started with Prithivi Raj Kapoor, a resident of Peshawar, who for reasons obvious moved to Bombay back then and Mumbai of today. It would not be incorrect to call Prithvi Raj Kapoor as the father of the Indian film industry. His was the era of the silent movies and early voice films, and after his death his place was taken up by his son Raj Kapoor.
Raj Kapoor, first as a leading man and later on in life as a director and producer, delivered hit after hit movies. It was the era of the black and white cinema. His film, “the Joker”, which he not only acted in but also directed and produced was a mega hit. It was made in collaboration with the Russian film industry and was also dubbed in Russian language for the Russian audience. This film was not only a mega hit back then but amazingly is still running in some cinema houses to packed houses, even today. This film is also taught in drama and film academies not only in India but all over the world, as a specimen of how a masterpiece movie is made, and the ingredients necessary in it to compel generations after generations of film lovers to watch it again and again and to discover something new every time they do so.
The death of Raj Kapoor was a loss to the Indian film industry, and left a huge void, with no one of his stature to steer the helm of affairs. But life goes on and as a stop gap arrangement, not as well established and well learned craftsmen, in the art of cinematography tried to fit in his shoes. Though unsuccessfully at first things slowly came to be normal in time.
The credit of this resurgence of the Bollywood goes to no other than the scions of the Kapoor Dynasty; the brother, namely Shammi Kapoor and the sons of Raj Kapoor , Randhir Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor and Ranveer Kapoor.
In 1950’s Shammi Kapoor acted in mega hits , the most famous being, “Junglee” ( Hindi, meaning wild). After him the mental passed on to Randhir Kapoor and then to Shashi Kapoor. He, in fact, was the one responsible to reserruct the Kapoor Dynasty to its former glory in Bollywood. An accomplished actor he acted in mega hits one after the other. The most famous of his flicks was”Khabi Khabi” (Hindi, meaning sometimes, sometimes); he also directed and produced great hits, later in his life
After Shashi Kapoor, it was the turn of the youngest of the lot Rishi to keep the Kapoor Dynasty alive. He also proved a success at the box office. He acted in over a hundred films, and all did phenomenal business. The greatest of his films was “Akbar, Amar, Anthony,”__ a film which broke all previous records at the box office and transformed Bollywood into an international industry.
One would expect an end to the Kapoor Dynasty, with age catching up with Rishi, but this was not to be. The daughter of Randhir Kapoor, Khrisma Kapoor, kept the Kapoor Dynasty of Bollywood up and running. It was the first for the time that not a male but a female member of the revered dynasty entered the film industry. Though the wife of Rishi, Neetu Singh, was also a leading lady during the 1970’s but she was not one of the Kapoors. Khrishma Kapoor’s film “Raja Hindustani”, is still playing to packed cinema houses, all over India even after three decades of its release.
The beauty about Kapoors and what makes them a true Bollywood Dynasty is that as soon as one member of the family is on the verge of retirement, a younger, more energetic member takes his/her place. The same was true as far as Khrishma was concerned, as soon as her film career was on the decline, she was replaced by her younger sister, Kareena Kapoor. Kareena has had a phenomenal career since she entered the glamorous world of Bollywood in 2001. Kareena Kapoor, is the recipient of six Film Fare Awards as the best actress, in her career up till now and is still growing from strength to strength, with each passing day. She is married to Saif Ali Khan, a leading man of Bollywood. This power couple is referred to as Saifeena.
A beautiful twist in the tale of the Kapoor Dynasty of Bollywood is that Ranbhir Kapoor, the first cousin of Karishma is now the alpha male of the clan. He like all the Kapoors before him is the hearth throb of millions of cine goers all around the globe. And the Kapoor Dynasty of Bollywood expects great feats from him, as he, in the opinion of some film pundits, is the reincarnation of the legendary Prithivi Raj Kapoor, his paternal great grand father and the founder of this Kapoor Dynasty of Bollywood__ the entertainers par excellence.
An Op-ed written by: Iftikhar Triq Khanzada