maula. Son of Raj Kapoor and father to superstars Karisma and Kareena, Randhir’s approach to life has always been very relaxed and chilled out. Those who know him can swear by his sense of humor and also the numerous anecdotes and stories he can narrate about his family members – all of who are celebrities in their own right. Randhir’s grandson Taimur Ali Khan has become one of the most popular celeb kids in the country. In an exclusive chat with ETimes, Randhir spoke on several topics like his films, his wife Babita, his kids, the legacy of his father Raj Kapoor and the tragic untimely loss of his brother Rishi Kapoor.
The first thought that comes to mind when one thinks of you is your ‘De Taali’ and your signature wink. Was that a part of your personality or did you cultivate it for films?
‘De Taali’ was there in the script of ‘Rampur Ka Lakshman’, which was one of my earlier films. It was ‘Rampur Ka Lakshman’ maker Manmohan Desai‘s idea. But everyone has a typical style. So I didn’t cultivate anything per se for films. I was in my films like I am in real life, unless I had a drastically different character to play. Despite being educated in a Convent and further in the UK, I got a lot of
dhoti-kurta films in my early days in Bollywood.
Chal gayi woh movies, and then you know how it is, an actor gets stamped (smiles). I became a comic hero. But my word! I enjoyed all those films.
You said that you were in films just like you are in real life. You were so bindaas in most of them…
Even now, I am like that. I love life. I like to enjoy every moment of it. Life is short,
yaar. I don’t do things which I am not comfortable about.
So, you don’t take stress?
Why should I take stress?
Jo hona hai, woh to hona hi hai. And, I am grateful to God for having given me whatever he has given. My journey has been wonderful. I have no regrets whatsoever.
You say that you enjoy life. What’s your day like?
Well, I am a carefree guy. I like to eat good food. I like to drink good whiskey. I meet my friends, either they come over or I go to their place.
Nanak dukhiya sab sansar (the world is besieged with problems and sadness). Why add to the miseries of life by getting worried?
If I ask you to pick three films from your filmography that you enjoyed the most which would they be?
I enjoyed ‘Rampur Ka Lakshman’. I loved making my first film as director, ‘Kal Aaj Aur Kal’. I also loved acting in ‘Chacha Bhatija’, ‘Haath Ki Safai’, ‘Hamrahi’, ‘Jawani Diwani’ and ‘Harjaee’.
Did you not get stressed when your films didn’t work?
Dukh toh hota hai. But it’s a part of the game. I knew how to take it in my stride.
You have had some of the most melodious songs in your long career, what is your take on the current scene of the music industry
The golden years of music are over. I don’t know where has music gone. It’s a sort of death of melody.
Woh banane wale jo the ab woh nahi hain. Woh din aur the, Woh udaan aur thi. There is no poetry. It’s only noise. I can’t understand so many lyrics. Tell me, do you think that we’ll have someone like Rafi, Mukesh and Kishore again? Never. And let me tell you that I am very thankful to Shankar Jaikishan, RD Burman, Bappi Lahiri, Laxmikant Pyarelal, Kalyanji Anandji and Ravindra Jain because they gave good songs which were picturised on me.
If you had to rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 on the following what marks would you give: As a father to Karisma and Kareena?
I think I am a decent father. I love my children very much and I am grateful that they too love me very much. It is unfortunate that I am separated from my wife (Babita). She has brought up my children very well and I give her full credit. Both my kids have led their lives in a very dignified manner, be it real life or screen life. And, they have done well in their work and made me proud. What more can I ask for?
So 8/10 as a father?
I can’t take all the credit. Babita and I may have separated but she is still my wife. And, my kids were living with her until they got married. So 5 marks belong to Babita and 5 are mine.
As a son?
I think I was always a very good son. We were not rebellious type of hippies.
So 8/10 at least here?
Haan, chalo theek hai.
As a brother?
I have been a very good brother. I miss Rishi very much. We used to work together and sit in the same office.
How would you describe this loss?
It’s an emotional loss to me. We had many common likes and dislikes. We both were fond of good food and booze. We would often party by ourselves. We would call up each other and tell each other: ‘
Kya kar raha hai? Agar tum nahin aate ho, to chalo main aa jaata hoon’. When together,
humko kisiki bhi zaroorat nahi thi. We didn’t need a crowd to entertain us. I miss that.
Hum waise hi khush-mijaz the. Hasi khushi kat rahi thi zindagi. Ab usmein se ek musafir utar gaya. Dekhen aage kya hota hai.
What was the talk on the table when you’ll ate and drank together?
Anything and everything. And that’s simply because we were happy amongst ourselves. It could be even about space. We often travelled together, so sometimes that too.
Which film of Rishi would rate as his best?
I liked him in ‘Prem Granth’. I also liked him in the film he did with Sunny Deol and Meenakshi Seshadri- ‘Damini’.
When you said Prem before Granth, I thought you were going to say ‘Prem Rog‘…
Oh, yes. I wanted to say ‘Prem Rog’ only. He was terrific in ‘Prem Rog’. Basically, he was a very good actor. I think he was the best in our generation. In the entire period of action era,
ek aadmi chale ja raha tha apna jhanda leke. I saw ‘Mulk’ the other day. He’s done it so well. We’ll all miss him.
Fate can be so cruel at times…
Talking about ‘Prem Rog’ reminds me about that unforgettable scene where Rishi goes to Shammi Kapoor in darkness, asking for Padmini Kolhapure’s hand. And the lights come on…
Woh full scene director ki kamaal hai. Woh Raj Kapoor ka scene hai. I love that movie very much.
What’s Raj Kapoor’s best work, according to you?
‘Mera Naam Joker;, ‘Awara’, ‘Shri 420’, ‘Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai’. Aisi films nahi banne wali phir se. Imagine ‘Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai’ being a dacoit film didn’t have a single fight in it, not even one
The time has come to ask you a few comparisons between Karisma and Kareena. Who was naughtier?
Both. As they’ve grown up, they’ve sobered.
Sab bachche naughty hote hain. Bas haste khelte bachche badhe ho jayen, toh rab (God) ki mehr hai.
Who was the fighter?
I don’t think they ever fought with each other.
Not like Rishi and you fought over occupying the window seat in a car?
Boys are different.
Who was more ambitious about getting into acting?
Both wanted to be actors. The entire ambience in our family was that of acting. There were so many people in our family who were into films-
chacha, chachi, baap, dada- saara mauhaul hi actors ka tha.
Can I make a guess that Kareena is more fond of dressing up? Hope you don’t say ‘both’ in this question too…
Yes, she is (more) fashion conscious. She came in at a time when fashion was in demand. Today, everyone dresses up well.
Achcha hi hai.
Who gets more upset if her film doesn’t do well and you have to play the consoling father?
That’s their mother’s department. I won’t be able to answer that.
Who is more attached to you and who is more attached to Babita?
They are both attached to Babita and very fond of me.
Who’s more fond of you?
Who was a better student?
The other aspect that everyone wants to know about the Kapoor khaandaan is: Where’s Chimpu Kapoor (Rajiv Kapoor)? What’s he up to? Why does he keep a low profile?
Well, he kept a low profile even during his growing up years. He doesn’t even stay in Mumbai. He’s settled in Pune. He plans to make a film, soon. For now, he’s acting in Ashutosh Gowariker’s upcoming film ‘Tulsidas Junior’. And, he’s open to doing more roles in days to come if the offers are good.
Actor kabhi retire nahin hota.
My concluding question: There have been many reports since many years about the RK banner being revived. It was also being said that Ranbir wants to. What happened?
Well, it’s happening. We are reviving the RK banner now. It will happen soon in a couple of months. The film will be a love story. I shall direct it.
Have you decided about that film’s cast?
Well, I can’t tell you anymore about it at this point of time (smiles)..But we’ll throw out the news of the cast with a bang.