Rishi Kapoor passes away: Director Nikkhil Advani remembers the veteran actor and working with him in D-Day
Rishi Kapoor and Nikhhil Advani collaborated for a second time in D-Day after Patiala House.
In a pinstriped suit, rose-tinted gold-rimmed sunglasses and a walrus moustache, Rishi Kapoor filled the frame as the gangster Iqbal in Nikkhil Advani’s action drama D-Day. It was the second time the actor and director were collaborating, having previously worked together on the 2011 sports drama Patiala House, in which he played Akshay Kumar’s father.
For filmmaker Advani, this is a surreal time. His other D-Day actor Irrfan Khan passed away on Wednesday, which was followed by the loss of the 67-year-old Kapoor on Thursday morning.
Advani remembers the veteran actor:
“Chintuji was a brat and opinionated, but he brought all that fame, experience of ups and downs and the Kapoor legacy to the set. He had also been a director and as Raj Kapoor’s son, he often spoke about Raj saab. Chintuji had that rare respect for a director. He came from that generation, like Amitabh Bachchan, which believed in the director’s word.
Even before we had worked together, he had a relationship thanks to my association with Karan Johar. At the time of Chandni Chowk to China (2009), he called me and said that when he saw the trailer of the film, he told everyone it would be Sholay. But after the release, he called and said, ‘You made a fool of me. Everyone is now cursing me. You owe me one’.
A few years later we shot a large part of Patiala House on steady cam, which was a new experience for us and for Chintuji. He was fascinated, adding that this technology would have made Raj saab happy and he would have used it to a great extent. He learnt a lot from his father and he passed on a few of those lessons to me.
His father would often show the under-production RK Films to all the staff of the studio and then spend hours discussing the pros and cons of the film with them. Therefore, Chintuji could not understand why we were so guarded with our work. ‘Why do you behave like you are making an atom bomb? You are making a film. Show it to people and get their feedback,’ he would say.
The other thing he observed—and which used to upset him—is the dissection of a movie as ‘first half’ and ‘second half’. It would pain him when people would judge a film based on two halves. ‘A story is a story. Who writes a story in two halves,’ he would exclaim. For him, the interval break spoilt the process and, with it, the purity of storytelling was compromised.
At the time of D-Day, I first offered him the role of the head of RAW. In his inimitable style, he replied, ‘You want to make me Gene Hackman or Jon Voight? But I am not a supporting actor.’
Then, as we drank whiskey—his usual Black Label and single malt for me – he showed me the trailer of Agneepath. The next day, having thought about it, I offered him the main role and he said, ‘Are you still drunk?’ But once we did the look test for Iqbal, he was thrilled and on-board. We were hoping to do another film together and make it a hat-trick.
His reaction to the trailer of Batla House, which he watched while he was recuperating in New York, was: ‘It’s a good trailer but then you always cut a good trailer!’ I don’t really like Black Label but I think today I will bring out a bottle and have one peg to toast Chintuji.”
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