Born on December 14, 1924 to Prithviraj Kapoor in Peshawar (now Pakistan), Raj Kapoor made his official acting debut with 1947 film Neel Kamal and went on to become "the greatest showman of Indian cinema". He made a mark as an actor with films like "Shree 420", "Awaara" and "Barsaat". (All photos: mid-day archives)
At the age of 24, Raj Kapoor became the youngest filmmaker of his time when he made his directorial debut with Aag (1948) featuring himself alongside Nargis, Kamini Kaushal and Premnath.
Raj Kapoor was famous for his Charlie Chaplin-esque style of acting, which garnered attention not only from the Indian audience but also made him a fan-favourite in Russia.
Raj Kapoor married Krishna Malhotra in 1946. They had five children: three sons, actors Randhir, Rishi and Rajiv, and two daughters, Ritu Nanda and Rima Jain.
In Raj Kapoor's son-actor Rishi Kapoor's autobiography - Khullam Khulla, he began the book talking about his father's affair with yesteryears' actor Nargis Dutt, who together, continue to be widely acknowledged as the most iconic pair on screen.
Rishi Kapoor has written, "My father, Raj Kapoor, was twenty-eight years old and had already been hailed as the 'showman of Hindi cinema' four years before. He was also a man in love at the time, unfortunately, with someone other than my mother. His girlfriend was the leading lady of some of his biggest hits of the time, including Aag (1948), Barsaat (1949) and Awara (1951)."
Rishi Kapoor further wrote that Nargis was Raj Kapoor's 'in-house heroine' and was understandably immortalised in the RK Studios emblem. Rishi further highlighted the relationship his father shared with co-star Vyajanthimala, who in the past had denied having an affair with the actor.
In picture: Raj Kapoor lighting up a cigar. The filmmaker was known for his stylish lifestyle
Raj Kapoor died of complications related to asthma on June 2, 1988 at the age of 63 in New Delhi.
In picture: Raj Kapoor with Mukesh. The great singer was Raj Kapoor's voice in most of his films. Not surprisingly, when Mukesh died, Kapoor commented, "Main ne apni aawaaz ko kho diya" (I have lost my voice).
In picture: Raj Kapoor and Nadira. The duo featured together in the evergreen song from 'Shree 420' (1955) 'Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh' in which Nadira is trying to seduce Kapoor.
In picture: Raj Kapoor with his youngest son Rajiv. Nicknamed Chimpu, Rajiv had a failed stint in Bollywood, with 'Ram Teri Ganga Maili' (1985) being his only movie of note.
In picture: Raj Kapoor with Dimple Kapadia, whom he launched in 'Bobby' (1973) when she was only 16 years old.
In picture: Raj Kapoor with son Randhir Kapoor. The former acted in the 1975 film 'Dharam Karam' which was directed by Randhir.
In picture: Raj Kapoor and Randhir Kapoor again. Randhir also directed the 1971 classic 'Kal Aaj Aur Kal', which is most remembered for bringing together three generations of the Kapoor family - Prithviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor and Randhir Kapoor, the latter making his acting debut. Incidentally, Randhir's future wife Babita played his love interest in the movie.
In picture: Raj Kapoor with sons Randhir (left) and Rishi Kapoor. Rishi played his father's younger character in 'Mera Naam Joker' (1970), which marked his big screen debut.
In picture: Raj Kapoor with younger brother Shammi Kapoor. Shammi narrated the 1991 film 'Heena' which was directed and produced by Randhir Kapoor, after Raj Kapoor died before completing the film.
In picture: Raj Kapoor with Zeenat Aman. Kapoor directed the 1978 film 'Satyam Shivam Sundaram', which starred Zeenat and is widely termed as the filmmaker's most controversial work. Many found Zeenat's dressing in the film, specifically the white saree, provocative.
In picture: Raj Kapoor being showered with flowers. Kapoor was much loved by people in India as well as abroad, especially in Russia.
In picture: Raj Kapoor in a festive mood. The Kapoor family's Holi bash was once among the most popular celebrations in Mumbai.
In picture: Raj Kapoor receiving one of his many honours from former President R Venkataraman. Kapoor was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1971 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1987.
In picture: Raj Kapoor with wife Krishna Kapoor. Krishna is the sister of actors Rajendra Nath and Prem Nath.
In picture: Raj Kapoor and wife Krishna. There were plenty of stories surrounding Kapoor's extramarital flings, but the duo stuck together till the filmmaker's death.
In picture: Raj Kapoor with Lata Mangeshkar. The legendary singer was actually the inspiration behind 'Satyam Shivam Sundaram' (1978), Kapoor's daughter revealed in a book some years back. In fact, the filmmaker even wanted to cast Lata in the lead role.
In picture: Raj Kapoor sitting next to wife Krishna and Shammi Kapoor with his second wife Neela Devi (in a blue sari). Shammi's first wife, Geeta Bali, died of smallpox in 1965.
In picture: Raj Kapoor at work. The ultimate showman of Bollywood, movies were always his first love. He once said, "When I die bring my body to my studio. It is quite possible that I may wake up and start shouting Action...Action."
In picture: Raj Kapoor with actor-turned-TV host Simi Garewal. In Kapoor's 'Mera Naam Joker' (1970), Garewal did a stripping act, which was quite unheard of in those days.
In picture: Raj Kapoor with Vyjayanthimala and Rajendra Kumar in 'Sangam' (1964), which was the showman's first film in colour.
In picture: Raj Kapoor with son Randhir and wife Krishna at a religious gathering.
In picture: Raj Kapoor with son Rishi Kapoor and brother Shammi Kapoor. Rishi and Shammi starred together in the 1982 classic 'Prem Rog' directed by Raj Kapoor.
In picture: The Kapoor Khandan. L to R (Standing) Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor. (Sitting) Prithviraj Kapoor with Randhir Kapoor on his lap and Shashi Kapoor.
Raj Kapoor will always remain the original and greatest showman of Indian cinema. He's been truly missed!
The legendary Raj Kapoor has left behind a body of work that continues to inspire filmmakers. On his death anniversary, we pay tribute to 'The Showman' through a collection of memorable pictures
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