I’ve been the right guy at the wrong time, says Rishi Kapoor

Kolkata: As a romantic hero among actions stars, Rishi Kapoor says he was the “right guy at the wrong time” in the Indian film industry.

“I came into films when there was action. When I retired it was romantic period. The credit for lasting long in that action-oriented era goes to me,” the 64-year-old actor, who had a varied career from 70s’ formula-driven films to post-2000 realistic genre, said.

“I had to chart a complete career after Bobby (1973). But then I was slotted as just a romantic hero even as the industry was dominated by action heroes like Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, who had an angry young man image. I have been the right guy at the wrong time,” Rishi said.

There was the same pattern of either rich boy-poor girl or vice-versa in that time, and every actor of that era would do four films having a similar lost-and-found theme, said at the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet here last evening.

“But our audiences those days were very forgiving unlike the present times and did not question. I wish I were younger now,” Rishi, who also signed covers of his new book Khullam Khulla: Rishi Kapoor Uncensored,’ said.

Acknowledging the audience divide now, he said there are takers of “intelligent, a commercial cinema which can be enjoyed in good theatres with popcorn” while there is a different genre of films for masses.

Spiritedly arguing that there has been no nepotism in Indian cinema, Rishi said, “My father (has become) Raj Kapoor was not because of Prithviraj Kapoor. I am not because of my father and my son Ranbir Kapoor is not because of me.”
Pointing out Ranbir was luckier than him for working in an era of more realistic films, Rishi said, “From a rockstar to a dumb man – he portrayed so many shades!”

“In fact in ‘Rockstar’ I could not recognise him. These films are not the basketball/baseball wala types but belonging to the off-the-track genre. Such films did not come in our young days,” he said.

The Kapoor & Sons actor, who said Doosra Aadmi (1977) Ek Chadar Maili Si and Mera Naam Joker (1970) were ahead of their times, praised the dedication of younger generation of actors.

Stating that bad films are made while good films just happen in all ages, he said it would be unfair to rate any of his films as favourite “as I got paid for all roles”.