Home Feature Two knights lost- the passing of celebrated virtuosi

Two knights lost- the passing of celebrated virtuosi

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This time will be remembered-9

   By SUNITA VIJAY 

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts’ – William Shakespeare

Whether I should call it a dark week in the history of Bollywood or in the collective history of humanity, or yet another thorn piercing our hearts, as we lose two charismatic stars of Bollywood within a gap of 24 hours – I feel bereft of speech. It’s a jolt too soon, too strong; the hard to recover dual tragedies, back to back, make this trying period unforgettable.

The last two days of April came as a taxing phase for the fans of the two luminary actors, Irrfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor, who left on a higher journey, leaving us shattered and mourning. It’s news coming at this weird moment when the world is gripped with the humongous Corona fear and is battling with it.

Both the multifaceted actors fought cancer bravely, both seemed to have recovered from it and both had resumed work; the press notes too were presenting their favourable health story. Yet, their respective diseases proved more lethal than the ongoing crisis, snatching the two talented stars, the powerhouses of talent from us before time.

Irrfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor leave behind a legacy of brilliant work and stupendous acting. If one had charm, a marvellous flair, chocolate boy looks, and enormous talent, then the other lured us with his ‘dependable’ star appeal, unfeigned expression in all characters, strong screen presence and unmeasurable acting skills. It would be wrong to compare the two stars that shone so bright in the cinematic cosmic sky. They had their unique flavour, respective fan following and band width experience gap. They have left a huge gap that may remain unfilled with their untimely demise. Both have given us innumerable cinematic chops to savour from time to time, year by year; entertained us with their talent and craft. We are left aghast. Death is so cruel, it comes silently, takes one unaware, leaving behind the memories.

Irrfan Khan was much junior to Rishi Kapoor. He made an entry in the film Industry with a small role in Salaam Bombay in 1988 after graduating from NSD. He had his own style, own zone, own cult. He sailed in each role with ease whether it was of his age, older or younger. His calmness was endearing, his common man looks were adorable, his acting nonpareil, that made a connect with the audience. He was a man with whom we could relate our lives with whether it was the middle-aged widower in The Lunch Box or a bereaved father as the kidnapper in Madaari, the notorious blackmailer and the blackmailed in Blackmail, the easy-go-lucky man in Piku or a responsible family man in Namesake, or a sharp cop in Talvar, a spirit – one’s conscience in Haider, and in many versatile roles that he played in Karwaan, Maqbool, Hindi Medium, Angrezi Medium and other entertaining movies; he is unforgettable. This award-winning actor went on to play supporting roles in many Hollywood films too – The Inferno, Slumdog Millionaire, Jurassic Park, Life of Pi, to name a few. His honed performances were mesmerising and his not hero-material looks never stood as an obstacle to prevent powerful roles with the best directors in the industry coming his way. His work earned acceptance, respect, love and admiration. He made his act look effortless, spontaneous and flawless. In return, he received laurels and appreciation from his fans, industry and critics. This bundle of incredible talent provided some master pieces that will stay in our memory forever.

On the other hand, Rishi Kapoor had the privilege of belonging to a star-studded family. He had a cosy launching pad yet he carved his own niche. He proved that connections can make one stand but can’t really make one run. He will always be remembered as Rishi Kapoor, and not as the son of Raj Kapoor or the father of Ranbir Kapoor. Acting ran in his veins, he was blessed with good looks, so his DNA along with hard work stood the test of time. His innocent charm, infectious laughter, atypical dance steps, adorable looks, peerless lips-sync, romantic musical blockbusters; all won the heart. What a flourishing beginning to a career! A debut role fetched him a National Film Award for the best child performance in Mera Naam Joker, 1970. From where, there was no looking back. As a hero in Bobby, he swirled the world of youngsters, became the teen rage overnight. He played many heart-warming romantic roles till 2000.

The heart throb of the ‘80s took the industry by storm with his dashing looks, innocent face, vibrant scarves, long mufflers, colourful sweaters and bell-bottom pants with an extra flare; his style was copied blindly by one and all. His dance, bubbliness, agility, grace, charm all overflowed in his work. The darling hero, exhibited versatility in all his roles even later in his career when he switched over to different characters as he aged. He grew with time, explored new boundaries, accepted challenging roles and played them adequately. His films – Amar Akbar Anthony, Karz, Chandni, Nagina, Premrog, Agneepath, Mulk, Kapoor and Sons, 101 Not Out, the list goes on. His popularity never failed; his magnetism unparalleled!

The joviality and effervescence that Rishi Kapoor displayed onscreen never left him off screen. He loved to be candid, in his expression on various issues. The title of his book, Khullam Khulla says it all. His amiable personality was alluring, his charisma nonpareil and his energy contagious. The best tribute that this gifted actor deserves is to be remembered with joy and not with tears. It would be disgracing the accomplished to mourn his death. He is immortal!

This time will surely be remembered. The cruel hands of destiny left us bewildered. The two stars left for the higher abode silently. Both were brave. Both fought the battle against cancer with grace and patience, not letting their fans be bogged down with their personal problems. Maybe the higher souls knew that they will part soon, so they left cherished memories with us.

Stars never die. They shine bright in darkness to light up the sky. They are alive and breathing in our memories. They have merely changed cloaks to play another role in heaven.