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Rishi Kapoor bought award, had illogical dislike for Rajesh Khanna


The actor said Amitabh Bachchan in his heyday did not give enough credit to his supporting cast while Bobby co-star Dimple Kapadia flicked a ring meant for Kapoor's lady love Yasmin.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Mayur Lookhar

Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor’s honest views have won him both praise and criticism. But the actor remains unconcerned. And it is this same devil-may-care attitude that is reflected in his book Khullam Khulla. After disclosing that he had met gangster Dawood Ibrahim, Kapoor shared some great anecdotes from his book on a popular news television show.

The Kapoor & Sons (2016) actor made some candid confessions about a "lingering issue" with Amitabh Bachchan and admitted not quite liking Rajesh Khanna, the reigning superstar when Kapoor made his debut as a lead actor with Bobby (1973).

In a stunning disclosure, Kapoor also admitted having bought an award. While he has not mentioned anything about the film or the award, speculation is rife that this could be the Filmfare award for Best Actor in 1974 which he won for Bobby.

“I was very young and naive. Someone said to me that we can get you recognition, an award, but it will cost you a little money. I paid that money to get an award,” Kapoor confessed on the show.

“He [Bachchan] was perhaps also nominated that year. These are conjectures," he added, suggesting that this could be the "lingering issue".

For the record, Bobby remains Kapoor’s lone Filmfare Best Actor award. That year, Bachchan was nominated for Zanjeer.

Asked how much money he paid and why, Kapoor said, "I paid about Rs25,000. It was a lot of money in the early 1970s. I was too naive, brash, a spoilt rich kid who had so much success in one film and I had too much money. Now when I look back, I say oh my god, I was like this. I feel bad about it, but I cannot change history. I should be credited for being honest about it. You would not have known if I didn’t tell you.”

While he does regret that episode, Kapoor has hinted earlier that Bachchan did not give enough credit to his co-stars. "I don’t imagine three of the top heroes working together in this age and time," he said. "There is no doubt that he is the greatest actor we have had, but the rungs of his career ladder were also his co-stars.”

The book also mentions an "illogical" dislike for Khanna, who married Kapoor's co-star Dimple Kapadia soon after the success of Bobby. During filming, Kapoor and Kapadia were romantically linked by the rumour mills.

Kapoor also said Kapadia had taken his ring, given to him by his then girlfriend, which in turn upset Khanna who took it from her and flung it into the sea at Juhu. Commenting on the episode, he said, "First of all, I'm still finding that ring on the beach at Juhu. It’s been 45 years and I’m still finding it. Dimple is going to kill me for saying this, but Kakaji [Khanna] is no more. I probably disliked him because he took away my heroine. He married her when I was just about to start working with her. I felt bad about it but I've worked lots of times with him and even directed him in a film.”

While he did not name her, Kapoor was dating actress Yasmin at the time, but after his rise to stardom with Bobby, she severed ties with him. Kapoor tried using co-star Neetu Singh to communicate with her, but, in a sweet irony, ended up marrying Singh. They are still husband and wife.

“A magazine had written about a relationship between Dimple and me. I wish it had happened. Someone whom I was dating read that article and decided to call off our relationship. We didn’t have cell phones in those days, and we used to make these urgent calls. Because that someone wasn’t answering, I took Neetu’s help. Life is such that I ended up marrying her.”

In another disclosure, Rishi Kapoor has admitted about his father, the legendary actor-filmmaker Raj Kapoor, having affairs with his actresses. Talking about it, Rishi said, "We were too young to understand it. My mother took the brunt of it. We were moved out of the house, then we stayed in a hotel and, later, a temporary place. I was just happy to stay in a hotel for I wasn’t getting the same food at home. We accepted it and never held any grudge against our father.”

Raj Kapoor was romantically linked with Nargis too, but, surprisingly, Rishi's mother Krishna welcomed her graciously at his wedding with Neetu Singh.

Rishi first faced the camera as a child in the classic song 'Pyar Hua Ikrar Hua' from his father's film Shree 420 (1955). “I was just about two years old then," he recalled. "I had to walk into this rain song. I was crying because the water kept hurting my eyes, and as a result the shot was getting delayed. Nargisji came up to me and said that if I keep my eyes open, she’ll give me a chocolate. So she bribed me with a chocolate to get my first shot!”

More candid disclosures are expected from the book. Watching this space for more on Khullam Khulla.

Click here to watch Kapoor's candid confessions on the NDTV show.