From The Editor's Desk: Rajiv Kapoor was cut out to be a star, but Bollywood didn’t happen


Death came unexpectedly for Rajiv Kapoor yesterday. At 58, he died of a massive heart attack. That’s all people will know. But friends of Rajiv, who was Raj Kapoor’s youngest son and brother of Randhir and Rishi, tell of a somewhat sad life. In which Destiny was never on his side. He wanted to be an actor. He was born into the film industry. But Bollywood can be as cold and heartless as it is warm and welcoming. He was just not accepted.

Rajiv looked like a younger version of his legendary uncle Shammi Kapoor. Unfortunately, directors wanted him to be like that. When his brand of acting had the tragedy of his father, the mischievous romance of his uncle Shashi Kapoor, and the wild entertainment of Shammi. Yet Bollywood rejected him after two hits and several flops. He was a true blue Kapoor. So he took up production and direction. Keeping the RK Studios' banner flying.

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I never knew him. But I regularly met him at parties. He would make a late and shy entry. Seeking out the elders in the party, his father’s and uncles’ contemporaries, and respectfully touch their feet. But I don’t think anybody’s blessings worked when Life itself was giving him a tough time. I understand he was excited this week, because on Valentine’s Day he was to announce his Bollywood comeback after three decades. That also is Life.

Away from the limelight and the spotlight, he lived a reclusive sort of life, maintaining the Kapoor tradition of being a hearty eater and drinker. Though he never achieved any of their highs. And was content to just share their joys. Living the life of somebody stardom neglected. His films didn’t work, his television series didn’t work, his marriage didn’t work. And another Kapoor is gone. I’m glad all of Bollywood came to say goodbye. RIP.