Juhi Chawla remembers Rishi Kapoor: Happiest set memories involve him

Updated: May 01, 2020, 08:51 IST | The Hitlist Team | Mumbai

As time went by, and we worked on more films together, including Bol Radha Bol and Saajan Ka Ghar, Chintuji [and I] would play Scrabble on set.

Rishi Kapoor and Juhi Chawla
Rishi Kapoor and Juhi Chawla

I worked with Chintuji in films like Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani, and Ghar Ki Izzat. As a newcomer, I would be in awe [of him]. An effortless actor, he would barely rehearse, but the director would always be happy with his first take.

Though a little detached, he was always friendly. Chintuji [would arrive on set] at 10 am. He would often sit outdoors under a tree to have his make-up done. His make-up artiste, Shashi dada, would set out a neat table with the [products]. A tiny transistor radio would be turned on while the make-up was done. When done, Chintuji would impatiently pick up the sponge, rub it all over his face, and undo dada's effort, and then announce that he was ready.

As time went by, and we worked on more films together, including Bol Radha Bol and Saajan Ka Ghar, Chintuji [and I] would play Scrabble on set. I played well, but he was too good, and would often beat me. Nonetheless, I kept trying to win!

In September 2017, a charming script [of the upcoming film, Sharmaji Namkeen] was narrated to me. It was about a middle-aged gentleman called Sharmaji. I liked it immensely and found it amusing and heart-warming. It was tailor-made for Chintuji. Producer Honey Trehan wanted to hold a joint narration with the entire cast and crew. It seemed like a good ice-breaker.

Chintuji was reluctant, but agreed, because he said Amitabh Bachchan would do such sessions often. He said [he'd leave early] too, however, when the reading began, it was so joyful that he stayed till the end, and was the last to leave.

I last met Chintuji at HK hospital, where he had gone for a routine treatment, in early March.

A few days ago, I thought I should check on him. I heard the news [of his passing] this morning, and was devastated. I have many happy memories of him, and have laughed so much on the sets with him. I am going to miss him very much.

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