By Joginder Tuteja
Believe it or not, but as a leading man Rishi Kapoor did close to 100 films in a career spanning 30 years. From 2000 onwards he went on to do character roles but in the 70s, 80s and the 90s, he had a plethora of hits, be it in a solo lead performance, two hero films or ensemble affairs. While he has to his credit big hits like Naseeb, Hum Kisi Ke Kum Nahin, Amar Akbar Anthony, Kabhi Kabhi, Coolie, Saagar, Chandni, Damini and Deewana, where he shared screen space with one or two more heroes, let’s take a look at his biggest solo lead affairs.
These are listed in order of release and not box office turnover.
It was a dream beginning for Rishi Kapoor as a solo lead. Though he had played a kid just three years back in Mera Naam Joker, he graduated to being a charming young man in Bobby. History was re-written as it turned out to be the most entertaining and the biggest debut ever for a Bollywood leading man.
Rafoo Chakkar (1975)
Though 1974 was relatively a quieter year for him, Rishi Kapoor bounced back with a bang when Rafoo Chakkar hit the screens. He was a riot in the drag along with Paintal and brought the house down with his antics. This is also the first time when he shared screen space with Neetu Singh.
Khel Khel Mein (1975)
It was a double whammy for Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh when their Khel Khel Mein released later that year and turned out to be a hit as well. This one was a romantic suspense thriller and also the inspiration for Akshay Kumar’s Khiladi which released a decade and a half later.
Laila Majnu (1976)
Rishi Kapoor’s stocks were anyways on a rise and with the release of Laila Majnu, they pretty much hit the roof. Along with Ranjeeta, the star actor delivered a major success which was based on the legendary tale of Laila Majnu. Audiences related to the film in a big way.
Though Rishi Kapoor was delivering hits in ensemble affairs in the interim period [Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin, Amar Akbar Anthony], he struck big with his romantic dance music entertainer Sargam. The film also brought Jaya Pradha closer to the all-India audience and practically the entire soundtrack was made of huge chartbusters.
Prem Rog (1982)
By now, it was loud and clear that Rishi Kapoor was the most romantic solo lead on the scene and that was reaffirmed when he came together with Padmini Kolhapure with another love story, Prem Rog. This was one was a serious take on affairs as far as romance is concerned and went on to touch audience’s heart.
Though Rishi Kapoor and Rati Ahnihotri had featured together in Coolie, they had not been paired opposite each other. That happened a couple of years down the line in Tawaif which was a social romantic musical and worked well with the audiences.
Largely known as a Sridevi show all the way, Nagina wouldn’t have been the film that it turned out to be if not for Rishi Kapoor’s restrained act. He knew what he was getting into and he was also on the top of the gap back then. Still, he didn’t mind playing a second lead of sorts in Nagina which was a huge hit all over.
Though there was a gap of few years towards the later part of the 80s when Rishi Kapoor went without a solo lead hit (there was a Chandni in between though where he also had Vinod Khanna for company), the actor was back with a bang when Henna turned out to be a huge success. Yet again, the title role was played by the leading lady but Rishi Kapoor was no less.
Bol Radha Bol (1992)
Bol Radha Bol will go down as a remarkable film for Rishi Kapoor where he had a dual role of being a hero as well as the villain. It was not the story of ‘judwaa’ brothers but still Rishi Kapoor pulled this one off with élan. A David Dhawan entertainer, this one had Rishi Kapoor and Juhi Chawla come together for one of their many entertainers as a lead couple.