Actor Rishi Kapoor has died at 67 after a two-year battle with cancer. Rishi breathed his last at the Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital in Mumbai. His wife and actor Neetu Kapoor was by his side, confirmed brother Randhir Kapoor. “Yes, he is no more” he told Hindustan Times.
A statement from the family read:
Our dear Rishi Kapoor passed away peacefully at 8:45am IST in hospital today after a two-year battle with leukemia. The doctors and medical staff at the hospital said he kept them entertained to the last.
He remained jovial and determined to live to the fullest right through two years of treatment across two continents. Family, friends, food and films remained his focus and everyone who met him during this time was amazed at how he did not let his illness get the better of him.
He was grateful for the love of his fans that poured in from the world over. In his passing, they would all understand that he would like to be remembered with a smile and not with tears.
In this hour of personal loss, we also recognise the world is going through a very difficult and troubled time. There are numerous restrictions around movement and gathering in public. We would like to request all his fans and well-wishers and friends of the family to please respect the laws that are in force.
He would not have it any other way.
Amitabh Bachchan tweeted the news saying he was devastated. He’s GONE .. ! Rishi Kapoor .. gone .. just passed away .. I am destroyed !” wrote Amitabh, who has been a friend and colleague of Rishi’s for years.
Born in the first family of Hindi cinema, Rishi Kapoor was the son of the man India call the showman, Raj Kapoor, and grandson of the famous Prithviraj Kapoor. Rishi was the second son of late actor Raj Kapoor and the sibling of Randhir, Ritu Nanda, Rima Jain and Rajeev Kapoor.
He started his career early, as a child actor in his father’s film Mera Naam Joker (1970), for which he also won a Filmfare Award. His first role as an adult came in the iconic Bobby (1973) opposite Dimple Kapadia. He also received the Filmfare Best Actor Award in 1974 for the film.
He went on to play the romantic lead in 92 films between 1973 and 2000, and was awarded the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. He appeared opposite his future wife Neetu Singh in 12 films.
He was part of hit films such as Amar Akbar Anthony, Laila Majnu, Rafoo Chakkar , Sargam, Karz, Bol Radha Bol and others. In the later stage of his career, he was seen in films such as Kapoor and Sons, D-Day, Mulk and 102 Not Out.
The actor was last seen in Emraan Hashmi’s The Body and had recently announced his next project, a remake of Hollywood film The Intern, also featuring Deepika Padukone.
His death left the country shocked and distressed. Fans and colleagues who were still reeling from the death of actor Irrfan Khan a day ago, voiced their thoughts. Akshay Kumar called it a nightmare for Bollywood after the death of actor Irrfan Khan just a day before on Wednesday. “It seems like we’re in the midst of a nightmare…just heard the depressing news of #RishiKapoor ji passing away, it’s heartbreaking. He was a legend, a great co-star and a good friend of the family. My thoughts and prayers with his family,” he tweeted.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi wrote, “This is a terrible week for Indian cinema, with the passing of another legend, actor Rishi Kapoor. A wonderful actor, with a huge fan following across generations, he will be greatly missed. My condolences to his family, friends & fans all over the world, at this time of grief.”
Rishi’s hospitalisation was confirmed by his elder brother, actor Randhir Kapoor. “It’s true that he has been admitted to the hospital. He is in Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital. He was not keeping well and had some problem, so we admitted him early this morning,” Randhir had said on Wednesday evening. Asked if it was an emergency situation, Randhir said: “That’s why he has gone to the hospital. But I know that he will be alright. Neetu (Kapoor) is by his side.”
In 2018, Rishi Kapoor was diagnosed with cancer, following which the actor was in New York for more than a year to receive treatment. While he returned to India this year, he had again been hospitalised in New Delhi in early February, while on a visit there..