When Raj Kapoor refused to visit China because of his 'size'

Feb 15, 2018, 14:13 IST | PTI

Raj Kapoor's films might have travelled to China, but his son Randhir Kapoor revealed that the actor-filmmaker never visited the country as he did not want fans to see him after his weight gain

Raj Kapoor
Raj Kapoor

Raj Kapoor's films might have travelled to China, but his son Randhir Kapoor revealed that the actor-filmmaker never visited the country as he did not want fans to see him after his weight gain. Randhir said his father's films were so popular in China that the late actor once received an invitation to visit the country.

"One day, he called me and said he got an invite to visit China because his films are very popular there and we all are going to China! He was very excited and so were we. "While we were making arrangements, two days later he called me and said, 'I am thinking, let's not go to China'. He said, 'They are in love with the Raj Kapoor of 'Awaara', 'Shree 420' and look at my size now! I don't look like that anymore'!" he said.

Randhir said despite being the pioneer of Hindi films in China, the actor never visited the country as he did not want to disappoint his fans. "He said, 'Russia has been seeing me over the years in various sizes so they accept me even now, but I don't want to disappoint all my fans and break the image (in China). I am not the Raj Kapoor they think I am'," recalling the conversation with his father, he said. "That was the actor in him speaking.

He didn't go. All his life he never went to China! He is still very popular, his films are very popular. Now all our films are going there (China) but he was the pioneer who took our films there. But the actor in him didn't want to break the image," he added. Randhir, along with brothers Rishi Kapoor and Rajiv Kapoor, was speaking at a panel discussion last night during 'Raj Kapoor Awards for Excellence in Entertainment'. The session was moderated by journalist Shekhar Gupta. Randhir said of all the characters his father played, the 'common man' role is his personal favourite.

"He created the 'common man' character Raju for himself. One of my favourite films of his -- not produced or directed by him -- is 'Anari', which again had the same common man which Hrishikesh (Mukherjee) da took (inspiration from). I like the common man character," he said. Rishi said 'Anand' was originally written for his father. The role was later played by Rajesh Khanna.

"He missed two films which he couldn't do which were created for him. One was 'Anand'. Hrishi da had discussed it with him, he wanted to make it with him," he said. "The second film was L V Prasad's 'Milan', which later had Sunil Dutt and Nutan. That's why all the songs are sung by Mukesh. Prasadji waited for papa but he was busy with something else so he couldn't do it," he added. Rishi also revealed that his father nearly missed the opportunity of being directed by legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray.

"Originally 'Jaagte Raho' was offered to Satyajit Ray to direct but he wasn't available. That's why the the whole crew was Bengali in the film because Dada was supposed to direct it... My father missed being directed by Ray and, in fact, my grandfather just missed being directed by the great Rabindranath Tagore in another film," he said. Filmmaker Ramesh Sippy was conferred the first 'Raj Kapoor Awards for Excellence in Entertainment' at the event. Director R Balki, who recently directed "Padman", and Umesh Shukla, the helmer of "Oh My God", were also honoured. The event was a part of the two-day 'Elevate 2K18' bi-annual conclave, held here.

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