From Vyjayanthimala seducing her husband in Sangam to a saree-clad Mandakini dancing about a waterfall in Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Kapoor was unabashed in the way he filmed his female leads. He faced criticism that beneath the thin veneer of progressive attitude towards sex and nudity was a filmmaker’s commercial desire to titillate his audience.
Exclusive - Bigg Boss 14's Rakhi Sawant: Don't regret leaving the finale with Rs 14 lakh as I needed money for my mother's chemotherapy
His biggest cult film is considered to be ‘Mera Naam Joker’ (1970). The list of his flop films include 'Valmiki' (1946), 'Dil-Ki-Rani' (1947), 'Pyaar' (1950), 'Paapi' (1953), ‘Around the World’ (1966) and ‘Sapnon Ka Saudagar’ (1968), to name a few.
At the age of ten, he appeared in Bollywood films for the first time, in 1935's Inquilab. Raj Kapoor's big break came with the lead role in Neel Kamal (1947) opposite Madhubala in her first role as a leading lady. In 1948, at the age of twenty-four, he established his own studio, R. K. Films, and became the youngest film director of his time making his directorial debut with Aag starring himself, Nargis, Kamini Kaushal and Premnath. In 1949 he co-starred alongside Dilip Kumar and Nargis in Mehboob Khan's hit film Andaz which was his first major success as an actor. He had his first success as producer, director and star of Barsaat released later that year.
However, Kapoor’s films, despite their obvious ‘showcase’ element, never shied away from projecting the realities of the society.
Kapoor was born into a Khatri Punjabi Hindu family in 1924 at Kapoor Haveli, a house then owned by his father, in then British-held Peshawar, North Western Frontier Province, to Prithviraj Kapoor and Ramsarni Devi Kapoor. He was the eldest sibling of six children in the family. He was the grandson of Dewan Basheshwarnath Kapoor and great-grandson of Dewan Keshavmal Kapoor, part of the famous Kapoor family. His brothers were the late actors Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor. He also had a sister named Urmila Sial. Two other siblings died in infancy. They later on moved from Peshawar to present-day India for residence and for education. His maternal cousin, Juggal Kishore Mehra, was a singer, whose granddaughter, Salma Agha, later became a Bollywood actress.
In June 2011, Noah Cowan, Artistic Director of TIFF Bell Lightbox, and Sabbas Joseph, Director, Wizcraft along with members of the Kapoor family came together to pay tribute to the life and work of Indian actor, director, mogul and legend Raj Kapoor, as presented in partnership by TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival), the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA), and the Government of Ontario. Indian Mirror Reports suggest Kapoor will be inducted onto the Brampton Walk of Fame in Ontario, Canada.
A postage stamp, bearing his face, was released by India Post to honour him on 14 December 2001. To honour him, a brass statue of his was unveiled at Walk of the Stars at Bandra Bandstand in Mumbai in March 2012.
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.