Rishi Kapoor, the chocolate boy of the ’80s, is being conferred an award by the Union Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation for his contribution to the Hindi film industry. The Ministry of External Affairs is co-hosting a Panorama of “Journey of Indian Cinema” during the ongoing Year of India in Russia.
Kapoor’s latest film “Chintuji”, which also featured Kseniya Ryabinkina, the Russian actress, who acted opposite his father Raj Kapoor in “Mera Naam Joker”, will be showcased at the festival. Forty years since he played a young Raj Kapoor in “Mera Naam Joker”, Rishi Kapoor remains an icon for romantic heroes. He says, “I am still active in the industry because of my fans.” Here he talks about the award and his experience. Excerpts from an interview:
You are being honoured by the Russian Government for your contribution to the Indian film industry. How do you feel?
I have contributed to the Hindi film industry in my own small way and it feels wonderful when the world acknowledges your work. I am humbled by this award being conferred on me and I shall personally go and receive it on 9th November.
The Kapoor name was made famous by your father (Raj Kapoor) in Russia. Today you are being honoured by them. You must be ecstatic.
It’s been 21 years since my father expired and I feel extremely happy that I am carrying forward the legacy of the Kapoor khandan. Dad established the Kapoor name in Russia and I am honoured to do the same and make him proud.
You have been in the industry for almost four decades now, how do you think it has evolved?
Technologically we have progressed by leaps and bounds but content-wise we have seen a major decline. Content has lost the battle to technology and capital investment. Movies reflect what is prevalent in the society, but lately content is in a state of regression. Obviously a “Prem Rog” will not work with the young audience, but neither will “Balika Vadhu” on the big screen.
You were the quintessential romantic hero for more than two decades. Has the definition of romance changed in the Hindi film industry?
Romance speaks a common language but the approach has changed. The emotions will always remain the same, but now the approach is a lot more open and confident. Romance is now sexually oriented in movies and in the society. My film “Love Aaj Kal” is an example of how romance has evolved over the years.
Your movie “Chintuji” received average reviews and the promotion was almost non existent. What do you think went wrong?
It is the producers and the distributors’ fault. A lot of small budget films like “Aamir” and “Welcome to Sajjanpur” have done tremendously well because of strong script and proper distribution. “Chintuji” died in oblivion because it was not promoted at all.