Hindi Movies

Spotlight: Prithviraj Kapoor's Family

Chances are, that if one is asked to name any five successful Bollywood actors of all times, at least one member of the illustrious family of Bollywood - the Kapoors, will make it to your list.

Published: Sunday,Mar 01, 2015 21:59 PM GMT-07:00
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Chances are, that if one is asked to name any five successful Bollywood actors of all times, at least one member of the illustrious family of Bollywood - the Kapoors, will make it to your list. In-laws to the first family of movie industry, the Bachchans, and entertaining us since four generations, the Kapoor clan is undoubtedly the oldest film family in India. Blue-bloods of the Hindi Cinema, the Kapoors are originally Hindu Pashtuns, hailing from Samundri, Punjab.

In the year 1929, one of the pioneers of Indian Theatre and Cinema, Prithviraj Kapoor made his Bollywood debut as a male lead with Cinema Girl and rest as you all know, is history. While he had delivered many hits, his most memorable performance which left an impact on audience and is still revered by cinema lovers is as Emperor Akbar in Mughal E Azam (1960). Prithviraj also made an impact with his impeccable performances in various silent films, including the likes of Do Dhari Talwar and Prince Vijaykumar. Prithviraj also went on to establish the famed travelling theatre, Prithvi Theatres and was one of the founding members of the Indian People's Theatre Association. 

Prithviraj Kapoor's eldest son, Raj Kapoor, followed in his father's footsteps and became the torch bearer of Indian Film industry world over. He developed a huge fan base in Russia, then USSR, after the release of his hit film Shree 420 (1955). His most notable films include Awara (1951), Chori Chori (1956), Anari (1959), and many more. Apart from being a celebrated actor, he was also the founder of one the most prestigious film studios in India, RK Productions. Even today, RK studio stands proudly in Mumbai with filmmakers making a beeline to book their shoot-schedules. 

His younger brothers, Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor, were immensely popular actors in their own right. Till date, Shammi Kapoor is paid homage by many a young popular actors for his classic dance moves in his cult songs "Yahoo" and "Badan Pe Sitaare". His all time hits comprise of films like Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957), Dil Deke Dekho (1959), Junglee (1961), Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), Teesri Manzil (1966), and Brahmachari (1968). While Shashi Kapoor was a successful mainstream actor, he experimented with many serious roles and went on to become the first Kapoor to register his presence in parallel cinema by producing and acting in films like Junoon (1978) and Kalyug (1981). He still managed to leave his mark on commercial cinema with Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965), Pyaar Kiya Jaa (1966), Sharmilee (1971).

The bright light of Kapoor family dimmed a little with their next generation. Raj Kapoor's three sons, Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, and Rajiv Kapoor all chose acting as their career, but except Rishi Kapoor, none found the kind of success their previous generation had enjoyed in the industry. Rishi Kapoor inherited the good looks of his family and dancing chops of his uncle Shammi Kapoor, enjoyed a huge female following, and thrived on his image of chocolate boy for a long time. He was launched by his father in Bobby (1973), and from there on, there was no looking back. Some of his notable hits are Khel Khel Mein (1975), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Karz (1980), Saagar (1985), Chandni (1989), and Deewana (1992). 

Son to Shammi Kapoor, Aditya Raj Kapoor, worked as an assistant director in a few movies and acted in a few obscure roles before fizzling out. Shashi Kapoor's children, Karan Kapoor, Kunal Kapoor, and Sanjana Kapoor, chose acting profession but could not garner the kind of fame their father enjoyed. Karan and Sanjana went on to take over Prithvi Theatres from their father, while Kunal settled down in London, England, and took up Photography as a profession. In 2012, Sanjana announced her departure from Prithvi Theatres, and went on to launch her own theatre company, Junoon

Lady luck was kind to the Kapoors with the advent of its next generation in the industry. Defying the familial rule that prohibited the Kapoor girls to work in movies, Randhir Kapoor's two daughters, Karisma Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor entered the film industry a few years apart and took it by storm with their looks, grooves, professionalism and acting chops, making their illustrious relatives finally proud. We all are cognizant of their work and awards they've received over the years. While Karisma debuted with Prem Qaidi (1991), she went on to garner widespread recognition for her work in movies such as Raja Hindustani (1996), Dil To Paagal Hai (1997), and Zubeidaa (2001), all of which earned her immense critical acclaim in the form of prestigious awards such as the Filmfare and National Awards. Kareena, on the other hand, made her debut with the Abhishek Bachchan starrer Refugee (2000), and went on to act in a number of critically and commercially acclaimed films such as the likes of Chameli (2003), Omkara (2006), Jab We Met (2007), and We Are Family (2010). 

Much like his older cousins, Ranbir Kapoor, son to Rishi and Neetu Kapoor needs no introduction. The man is the current heartthrob of the industry and is forging ahead in his career by leaps and bounds. One of the highest paid and most coveted actors of his time, it is hard to believe that the youngest Kapoor debuted barely 7 years ago with Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Saawariya (2007). While the movie under-performed at the box office, he did go on to star in a number of acclaimed movies including Wake Up Sid (2009), Rockstar (2011), Barfi (2012), and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013).  

Just to be clear, this article is solely the account of people strictly born in the Kapoor family. If we get into their connections into the film industry via marriages in different generations, this piece would never end. They have mostly married fellow celebrated artists and their family tree runs longer than that of any other family in the Bollywood. Some of the noted sons and daughters-in-laws in the Kapoor family include Babita Kapoor (married to Randhir Kapoor), Neetu Singh (married to Rishi Kapoor), and Saif Ali Khan (married to Kareena Kapoor).

Hardworking to the core, with their hands on the pulse of their audiences, this bloodline refuses to fade away. Between themselves, members of this clan have hundreds of blockbusters in their kitty and innumerable awards to their credit. Churning one superstar after the other, the Kapoors promise to keep going strong for many more generations to come, and delivering many more stellar performances. And we, their loyal enthusiastic audience, have no choice but to pledge our generation to be part to their fanbase.

Writer: Anamika G.K.
Editor (s): Kalpana K.C., Ritchelle C., and Hershi J.
Graphics: Komal P.
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Abhishek Bachchan Babita Kapoor Saif Ali Khan Kareena Kapoor Karisma Kapoor Prithviraj Kapoor Sanjana Kapoor Shashi Kapoor Raj Kapoor Ranbir Kapoor Shammi Kapoor Rajiv Kapoor Neetu Singh Randhir Kapoor Rishi Kapoor Aditya Raj Kapoor Karan Kapoor Amar Akbar Anthony  Anari  Brahmchari  Dil Deke Dekho  Jab Jab Phool Khile  Junoon  Karz  Kashmir Ki Kali  Khel Khel Mein  Mughal E Azam  Prem Qaidi  Saagar  Sharmilee  Shree 420  Bobby  Dil To Pagal Hai  Deewana(1992)  Tumsa Nahin Dekha  Teesri Manzil  Chandni  Chori Chori  Jab We Met  Saawariya  Omkara  Kalyug  Zubeidaa  Refugee  Wake up Sid  We Are Family  Rockstar  Barfi!  Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani  Raja Hindustani  Junglee (1961) 

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