Whether Madhuri, Dimple or Padmini…Rishi endures, his heroines haven’t!

Bollywood has been kind to the veteran actor but not so to his past leading ladies

Rishi Kapoor’s plate is full and how. The veteran actor is waiting to complete his current clutch of films, before he can tee off shooting for another batch of movies. Yes, he has no less than four interesting films that he will plunge into shooting. Life couldn’t get better.
The same cannot be said for the leading ladies who played against Rishi in his younger days. The actor himself points out, “I have not been offered any film where I am required to team up with any of my past heroines. My characters no longer require that kind of glamour. I am either playing a subdued character or I am not paired with a woman at all.”
In his heyday, Rishi was credited with being the first choice for actresses making their debuts. However, most of those actresses have ceased to be active on the film scene. Even if they were interested, the youth-obsessed industry has not exactly been deluging the older actresses with tempting roles…

Dimple Kapadia had made a sensational debut opposite Rishi in the teen romance, Bobby (1973). It was also the first leading role for Rishi, who had been a child artiste till then. However, the same year Dimple married Indian superstar Rajesh Khanna and retired from acting. She returned to the film industry in 1984, following her separation from Khanna. She established herself as one of the leading actresses of Hindi cinema in the 1980s. However, Dimple is rarely seen on the big screen any more. Among her most recent films were Dabangg (2010), Cocktail (2012) and Finding Fanny (2014).


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Ranjeeta Kaur had also debuted opposite Rishi Kapoor in Laila Majnu. The FTII trained actress appeared in around 47 films. However, marriage has now kept her far from films. Married to Raj Masand, she lives with her husband and son Sky in Norfolk, Virginia, US. They reportedly own a series of 7-Eleven stores in Virginia.

Shoma Anand had made her debut as a lead actress in Pramod Chakraborty’s romantic-crime movie Barood (1976). However, she generally played supporting roles and cameos during the Eighties and Nineties. Shoma found success on television and was seen in successful soaps like ‘Bhabhi’, ‘Hum Paanch’ and ‘Maayka’.

Kajal Kiran had shot to fame after being discovered and cast opposite Rishi Kapoor by Nasir Hussain in his blockbuster hit Hum Kisise Kum Naheen (1977). The film was one of the biggest successes of that year, but it did not boost Kajal’s career. Her pairing with Rishi was not repeated either and they have not been cast opposite each other again. Despite a few hits, her career didn’t go places and she quit the film industry in 1990 after marriage and relocated to the Netherlands.

South star Jaya Prada made her Hindi film debut as a mute dancer in Sargam, opposite Rishi Kapoor. The film took the top box office spot in 1979. After a successful career and an unsuccessful marriage, Jaya Prada plunged into politics in 1994. Her involvement in Hindi films was down to a trickle. However, she did garner attention for her strong roles in Malayalam and Kannada films.

Madhuri Dixit and Rishi Kapoor paired together in no less than three films. Today, however the roles have practically evaporated for the still stunning Dixit, who has turned producer with a Marathi film.

Whether Kim from Naseeb, Padmini Kolhapure from Zamaane Ko Dikhaana Hai, or Zeba Bakhtiar from Henna, practically all Rishi’s one-time heroines have disappeared from films.
No wonder he quips, “Romance has gone out of my movies, not life. My real-life heroine, Neetu is very much around.” Incidentally, Neetu, who had a most successful onscreen pairing with Rishi, is rarely ever seen on the big screen either.