Veteran Hindi film actor Rishi Kapoor died on Thursday in Mumbai, his brother Randhir Kapoor confirmed. He was 67.
Kapoor had been battling cancer since 2018, and had spent close to a year in New York City for treatment. He returned to Mumbai in September 2019. He had been admitted to hospital with breathing problems on Thursday.
Kapoor is survived by his wife Neetu, his son Ranbir, and his daughter Riddhima and her family.
“Our dear Rishi Kapoor passed away peacefully at 8.45 am in hospital today after a two-year battle with leukemia,” the family said in a statement. “The doctors and medical staff at the hospital said he kept them entertained to the last.”
The family said Kapoor was “jovial and determined to live to the fullest right through two years of treatment” and that he did not let his illness get the better of him. “He was grateful for the love of his fans that poured in from the world over,” the statement said. “In his passing, they would all understand that he would like to be remembered with a smile and not with tears.”
Kapoor worked with nearly every director and actor of note over a career that spanned five decades. The son of Raj Kapoor and the grandson of Prithviraj Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor first appeared before the camera as a child in the 1950s and later as an adult in the ’70s. “Acting was in my blood and there was simply no escaping it,” he said in his autobiography Khullam Khulla (HarperCollins India, 2017).
His first fleshed-out role was in his father’s Mera Naam Joker in 1970. He made his debut as a leading man in Bobby, with Dimple Kapadia, in 1973. Among his best-known films are Rafoo Chakkar, Karz, Khel Khel Mein, Sargam, Amar Akbar Anthony, Naseeb, Sagar, Prem Rog, Chandni, Bol Radha Bol and Damini.
In recent years, Kapoor earned acclaim for Delhi-6, Agneepath, Love Aaj Kal, Kapoor & Sons and Mulk. In 2019, he acted in Jhootha Kahin Ka and The Body. Kapoor had shot for some portions of his comeback film, the comedy Sharmaji Namkeen, in Delhi in February, and was also on track to step into Robert De Niro’s shoes for the Hindi remake of the Hollywood comedy The Intern.
Tributes started pouring in soon.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “anguished” by Kapoor’s demise and offered his condolences to his family and fans. “Multifaceted, endearing and lively...this was Rishi Kapoor Ji,” he tweeted. “He was a powerhouse of talent. I will always recall our interactions, even on social media. He was passionate about films and India’s progress.”
Actor Amitabh Bachchan said he is destroyed by the news. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said Kapoor will be missed greatly.