Last month while attending a Bollywood event at the London School Of Economics, Rishi Kapoor, never known to mince words, got into a heated argument with Rachel Dwyer – yes, the same Bollywood expert who has researched extensively on Hindi films and actors.
Apparently, the well-informed lady argued with Rishi Kapoor over a vital question: which is Rishi Kapoor’s first film? Every record of his achievements states it is Mera Naam Joker. But Rachel Dwyer with her vast storehouse of knowledge on Hindi cinema insisted it was Shree 420 where Rishi along with his brother Randhir and sister Reema made a fleeting appearance.
Apparently, the question blew up into a heated argument between the actor and film historian with neither willing to concede defeat.
Rishi doesn’t deny that he took on Ms Dwyer. “How can she claim Shree 420 was my debut? I was just a 2-year old kid cajoled into moving across one frame for a song in the rain. I was so reluctant to shoot in the studio rain! Nargisji had to coax me into giving the shot with a chocolate. I wasn’t even aware of what I was doing. So how can Shree 420 be considered my debut? It was only when I did Mera Naam Joker with my father that I became aware of what it takes to be an actor.”
The retrospect and a discussion on the cinema of Rishi Kapoor at the London School of Economics last week has left the actor stunned and dismayed. Prof. Rachel Dwyer, a Bollywood expert, who teaches at the University of London, left Rishi stumped with her knowledge of Indian cinema and actors.
Apparently, Prof. Dwyer knew things about Rishi’s career that he was himself unaware of.
Says the still-stunned actor, “This Prof. Dwyer knows so much about our films. She speaks fluent Hindi and sang the entire ‘Jann Gann Mann‘. It made me feel ashamed of how little our own actors and technicians know about our past. The other day I was shooting with one of today’s young and bright cinematographers (name withheld). He didn’t know who Radhu Karmakar was. Can you beat that?”