Rishi Kapoor might be gone but his legacy of work is immortal. One film that stays a ‘fan favourite’ for its music and performances is ‘Henna’. Ashwini Bhave, who played an important role in this RK film, has the fondest memories of working with Rishi. In an exclusive chat with ETimes, she shares her thoughts on Rishi as a person and Rishi as her co-star. Here are excerpts from the chat…
How did you hear about Rishi Kapoor’s demise?
I received a text message from a friend that said that Rishi Kapoor has been hospitalized. I remember the next thing I did was text Neetu Kapoor that I am praying for his quick recovery and hoping that he will come home soon. Then I saw Randhir Kapoor’s statement that he is not doing that well and I was really praying. About 30 minutes later, I got another text from a friend saying that he is no more. It was completely devastating news. Then I read Amitabh Bachchan’s blog post saying he feels destroyed by the demise of his dear friend. What a sad thing for all of us. First of all, we are in quarantine. We are already going through a difficult time and then to lose Irrfan Khan who was just beginning to make waves at the international arena and after that immediately to lose a star like Rishi Kapoor who has ruled our hearts for so many years, it is just so sad.
Were you in touch with him over the phone or in person?
No, I was not. I did contemplate. I knew he was in New York for some time. But over the years, I won’t say I lost contact, but I just did not feel comfortable to go and see him when he was battling a grave illness. I have had experiences in the past with my close friends who have battled with cancer and they didn’t want anybody to see them suffer. This was there in the back of my mind and I really did not try very hard to see him. I just didn’t feel comfortable doing that. When I got the news, I spoke to a few people and got updates regarding his health. I was looking at Neetu Ji’s blog posts. But I did not meet him in person or try to call him.
When was the last time you spoke with him?
I spoke with him about five or six years ago. There was a time when we were in regular touch. He used to share so many jokes on whatsapp. Then I don’t know what happened. I remember, there was somebody’s party I was invited to in Mumbai and I happened to be there. I I had a good chat with him there.
What is that one thing that you will always remember Rishi Kapoor for?
I would like to say two things about him. Firstly, he was a natural actor. He did so many characters as a romantic hero. Before him, we had Rajesh Khanna who carried the title. But he had a stylized way of acting that at times made it unnatural. Rishi Kapoor never did stylized acting. He was just natural. What lines he said, he said like he meant it. That spontaneity is unique about Rishi ji
Secondly, he was also a fantastic dancer. People mostly do stylized dancing but Rishi ji just followed the rhythm. Just go back and watch, ‘Parda Hai Parda’ song. I must have watched it over 50 times. The way he sits back on the Gadda, his body language was fully into the rhythm. That makes him a unique dancer. Whether he is playing a Dafli or a violin, doing qawwali, or dancing on the floor on ‘Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahi’, he was just the best.