Regret Not Saying a Final Goodbye to Rishi Kapoor: Sharmila Tagore

Exclusive: Sharmila Tagore remembers Rishi Kapoor as fun and warm person.

Updated
Bollywood
4 min read

Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor’s death came as a shock to his fans and to the film industry. We spoke to Sharmila Tagore who sounded devastated to wake up to this unfortunate news. The actor shares some fond memories of Rishi Kapoor and says that he cannot be replaced and that she is going to miss him and his tweets.

Can you tell us what the legend Rishi Kapoor was like?

Sharmila Tagore: You know, I’m completely, completely in shock. I just cannot fathom that Rishi is no more. Yesterday we got this horrible news of Irrfan passing and today is Rishi Kapoor. Both of them were so, so talented and so versatile. I mean, imagine Rishi’s ‘Mulk’, imagine Rishi’s ‘Hum Tum’, imagine ‘Kapoor and Sons’ and so many more. I mean, you know, he was so much at ease - from dancing to singing and crying, laughing. It was not as if there was no camera, but he was himself. And I don’t know, I’m just so shocked and and feeling so sad. And I thought that he had recovered. He went for about a year and we didn’t see him.

The other day, I had gone to Prithvi Theatre, and I was sitting in one corner and he was sitting in the other. And I still wanted to go and say hi to him. But then by the time I sort of went that way he had left and it will be a deep regret because I could have met him.
Sharmila Tagore, Actor

And as you know, now he’s family, Kareena’s uncle. It is very sad. And I really miss him. I mean, how are you going to replace Rishi Kapoor? And his tweets - the latest one was if alcohol shops should be open. So, you know, he spoke out-of-the-box. All of us would think agar ye kahein to natija iska kya hoga, log kya kahenge, (If we say something how will the public react to it?), that wasn’t there (with him). I’m glad that he’s written a book, the book will be with us. I’m sure his family will also write a book. We want to know more about him.

What was he like a person? We know him as an actor, but the person you know him as?

Sharmila Tagore: Well, I was telling him how I did paragliding, he couldn’t believe it. His eyes became bigger and bigger. He was spontaneous. He would say what he wanted to say, and I just loved his bombs.

I remember when I went to see Saif shooting the first day for ‘Love Aaj Kal’, and I saw him walking into the studio. This was in London and Tiger (Pataudi) and I were walking in and the first person we met was Rishi Kapoor and he was all turbaned and with those red cheeks… the complexion, the Kapoor complexion, and I almost didn’t recognise him. I thought he was some sardar, some good-looking sardar. Two seconds into the conversation I realised it was him
Sharmila Tagore, Actor

He was so warm, like he was welcoming us to the set as if it were his own. He was very likeable, warm, at least with me. Very affectionate. He’s worked with Soha. He was so affectionate and protective of Soha, and Soha says such wonderful things about him. As a person I really liked him and then over the wedding I met him a few times as Kareena’s uncle. It’s a great loss.

Which are your favourite Rishi Kapoor films?

Sharmila Tagore: Favourite Rishi Kapoor film, actually ‘Mulk’. I liked him in ‘Mulk’ very much. I mean, I can’t think he has acted badly. In fact the first film with Dimple, Bobby. In fact, when he worked in Bobby, there was a different sort of effect. But then as he grew older, I think he became better and better and better. Then another thing about Rishi was that he made the person that he worked with look better.

He brought out a better performance with his co-actors because he put them at ease. He was not a selfish actor, he was a very generous actor. So, you know, everybody around him looked better. There are some very selfish actors who just think as if they are… they hog the whole thing, Rishi didn’t do that. So, I think that is a very good quality about an actor.
Sharmila Tagore, Actor

His generosity shows in all his films and I am just feeling absolutely devastated. I cannot absorb this double shock. Yeah, waking up in the morning nowadays, you know, we are not getting the news. I live alone and being informed by the media. You know, first thing in the morning, it’s very shocking. I mean, these people, because we see them on the screen… to become members of our families. You know what I mean? And especially the new ones. I liked Irrfan so much, and Rishi so much. Would look forward to their films and their performances, knowing that I will enjoy it. I will learn something from it. So for us, it’s like losing a member of the family. It’s very personal and very intense.

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