The Golden Era of Raj Kapoor and RK Films
[dropcap]K[/dropcap]apoors are definitely the first family of Indian cinema that is still going strong. The legacy, which started with Prithviraj Kapoor from the first Indian talkie, Alam Ara is now being carried by his great grandson Ranbir Kapoor. However, one man who made Kapoor family synonymous to Hindi cinema was none other than Raj Kapoor.
Popularly known as the “Charlie Chaplin of Indian cinema,” Raj Kapoor is till date remembered for his honest and humorous tramp roles in Hindi films. In 1948, he founded RK Films that is considered to be the pioneering film production studio of the post-independence era. Raj Kapoor was indeed one of the greatest entertainers, Indian cinema has ever seen. Very earlier in his career, he helmed the role of director-producer and made a film titled Aag. Thereafter he never looked back and went onto make many more classical hits.
Most of the Raj Kapoor movies were based on social and sentimental themes embracing romance at its core. Even the legendary RK logo of a man holding a woman along with a violin in his hands depicts the same romantic essence. One cannot deny that most of the impeccable musical love stories came during that era. Packaged with melodious music, superb performances and fantastic production values, RK Films proved instrumental in changing the face of the Hindi cinema.
RK Studio used to have an eternal production team, which included cinematographer Radhu Karmarkar, storywriters K.A. Abbas and V.P. Sathe, lyricists Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri, music composer duo Shanker-Jaikishan, and the playback singer Mukesh who all contributed in making RK’s milestone films. Raj Kapoor was deeply involved in every aspect of filmmaking, starting from screenplay to production and direction to music.
In his lifetime, Raj Kapoor was honored with nine Filmfare Awards, Padma Bhushan and the most prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award. His films were not only appreciated in India but also worldwide. His iconic image as the ultimate “Showman” is still embedded in the hearts of his fans. He was a multifaceted personality who not only charmed his audience with his incredible acting but also heartfelt direction. Undoubtedly, Raj Kapoor was the one cinematic genius who lived and breathed cinema.
As a tribute to the RK Films and the golden age of Indian cinema, Pandolin presents you Raj Kapoor’s ten landmark films:
Aag: This was not only RK banner’s first film but also Raj Kapoor’s debut film as a producer and director. Besides, it was the first time when audience saw the legendary pair of Raj Kapoor and Nargis on the screen. It was a black and white film released in 1948 with a complex plot, strong drama and beautiful music.
Barsaat: This is the story of two diametrically opposite friends who have their individual love life going on facing different trials. Along with the Raj Kapoor-Nargis adorable chemistry, the songs of this film sung by Lata Mangeshkar also became huge success. This musical movie released in 1949 was the first directorial hit of Raj Kapoor’s career.
Awara: Raj Kapoor not only played the leading role in this musical, romantic drama but also produced and directed it. This film is an emotional journey of an innocent, poor man who fights for his love and self-defense. Awara’s popularity made it one of the most successful films of all times as it gained accolades both at national and international level. With its heart-touching story and soothing title track Awara Hoon, the film became an overnight sensation. After winning several awards in India, Awara got nominated for the Cannes Film Festival, 1953.
Shree 420: The character played by Raj Kapoor in this film had such a striking resemblance with Charlie Chaplin’s character in Little Tramp that people started calling him by the same name. This film released in 1955 portrays the journey of an innocent man who comes to a big city in search of work and his love story. It’s one film that was equally admired for its performances as well as songs, especially the love track ‘Pyaar Hua Ikraar Hua’ and patriotic melody ‘Mera joota hai Japani’.
Anari: This film was directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee and released in 1959. Filled with light comical moments, this musical drama was portrayed by Raj Kapoor, Nutan, Motilal and Lailita Pawar. It’s the story of an honest and intelligent young man, who sticks to his moral values despite various troubles in his life. Owing to his exemplary performance, Raj Kapoor received the Filmfare award in the best actor category for this movie.
Sangam: Released in 1964, this was Raj Kapoor’s first color film known for its technicolor and distinguished epic length. Starring Vyjayanthimala, Rajendra Kumar and Raj Kapoor, this intense love triangle became one of the classiest movies of its times. Sangam was a perfect blend of dance, music and emotions. Filmed on lavish foreign locations, it also became the first movie that commenced the rage of shooting bollywood songs in scenic landscapes of Switzerland, Venice, and Paris. The film left such a strong impact on cine goers that over a period, movies have been made with their titles inspired from Sangam’s songs, for example, Mere Sanam, Bol Radha Bol, Radha ka Sangam, Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega etc.
Mera Naam Joker: This is said to be the Raj Kapoor’s most ambitious project that took almost six years for completion. Though, the film was a huge failure when it got released in 1970 but with time and evolution of cinema, it has acquired a cult status. It was Rishi Kapoor’s debut on silver screen as the young ‘Raju’ in the film. Mera Naam Joker is basically the story of a clown who must always make people laugh even if his own life is miserable.
Bobby: This film not only introduced the trend of teenage romance in Hindi films but also launched two newcomers i.e. Dimple Kapadia and Raj Kapoor’s younger son Rishi Kapoor. Released in 1973, this film got widely applauded and inspired the theme of many other bollywood films showcasing love across social divide.
Satyam Shivam Sundaram: This film based on a folk tale romance was released in the year 1978. Apart from the unforgettable songs and marvelous cinematography, this film garnered rave reviews for the bold act of its female protagonist played by Zeenat Aman.
Ram Teri Ganga Maili: This 1985 release was Raj Kapoor’s last film as a director. Starring Rajiv Kapoor and Mandakini, this film broke all records of success during that year. The music of the film was such a big hit that its evergreen song Sun Saheba Sun is even hummed today by modern generation. Music composer Ravindra Jain went on to receive Filmfare recognition for his work.