The name Raj Kapoor signifies India: Bachchan

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan said the name of veteran filmmaker-actor Raj Kapoor reflects the spirit of India as a country – full of life and zest.

In an emotional video message from Thailand, where he is shooting for “Thugs of Hindostan”, the 75-year-old actor recounted a few instances from his life with Kapoor.

“The name Raj Kapoor only signifies one word – India. The Indian showman of all time. Visit any part of the world and your own Indian identity gets identified by his name… Such was and still is his presence. It will be very difficult to describe the phenomenon of Raj Kapoor.

“Was it the choice of his stories that he so passionately got involved in… To be able to read its effect into the eyes of the audience? Was it the music of his films? Every note, word, musical interval… The tune we still remember after so many years… His production elegance never seen before. His penchant for getting the right cast for every story…” Bachchan said.

The actor recalled an instance when the two of them were in Tashkent together and the organisers of the event asked Kapoor to sing a song, to which he ended up crooning to “Saare jahan se achcha…”

“No one could ever match his love, his zest for life, which reflected in his works…” he added, talking about Kapoor.

Bachchan remembered how Kapoor walked smiling in the ICU when he was recuperating after his accident on the sets of “Coolie” in 1982 and opened up a champagne, toasting to his good health – saying “With this bottle, we shall launch the ship of love again…”

He was speaking at the launch of the book “Raj Kapoor: The One and Only Showman”, both an autobiography and biography.

It is a tribute to Kapoor by his five children Randhir Kapoor, Ritu Nanda, Rishi Kapoor, Rima Jain and Rajiv Kapoor.

Published by HarperCollins Publishers India, the book was presented by his daughter Ritu on Kapoor’s 93rd birth anniversary.

In a tribute to Kapoor’s youngest brother, Shashi Kapoor, Rishi opened the event by reading an excerpt which the late veteran actor had penned about his elder brother, Raj Kapoor, who was like a “father” to him.

Shashi passed away on December 4 at the age of 79.

Ritu quoted her father’s song “Jeena yahaan marna yahaan” and said the book was a humble attempt to do justice to Kapoor’s legacy in films and in life.

“(I) wanted to bring together all those people who have been touched by Raj Kapoor – in one way or the other,” she said.

While Rima remembered how, as children, Kapoor’s birthday was like a “national holiday” for them.

Randhir said he was aware about the love their father received from countries such as Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, but when he and Ritu travelled to China, they realised the Chinese loved him as much as the Russians.