Charlie Chaplin of Bollywood: Raj Kapoor

Raj Kapoor, or should we call him Ranbir Raj Kapoor! Yes, you read that right. Raj is his middle name and he shares his name Ranbir with his beloved grandson Ranbir Rishi Kapoor. This young boy started off as a clapper boy with the then famous director Kidar Sharma, eventually becoming his lead actor in the film ‘Neel Kamal’. His goal in life was to become a music director before he took up acting in 1947! His journey was an incredible one throughout, let's have a look: 
 

Raj Kapoor set up RK Films in 1948 and produced his first film Aag then. He was only 24 when he directed this film starring himself with Nargis. The logo of RK Films too is Raj Kapoor himself with a violin!

Ranbir Raj Kapoor
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The success of Barsaat allowed Raj Kapoor to buy RK Studio in Chembur, Mumbai. The first scene shot in the studio was the dream sequence with “Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi” in Awara, the first film to feature three generations of Kapoors in its cast - Diwan Basheshwarnath (Raj Kapoor's grandfather), Prithviraj and Raj

Raj Kapoor
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Later in 1971, Randhir Kapoor repeated the formula with Kal Aaj Aur Kal starring himself, dad Raj and grandfather Prithviraj

Randhir Kapoor
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The title song of Awara, Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi immediately struck a chord in China, the Soviet Union & the Middle East. In fact, in China, both the song and film became Chairman Mao's favorites

Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi
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Raj Kapoor came to be known as “The Great Showman” as he had perfected the art of making entertaining films with a strong social message. Film historians and movie buffs also speak of him as the “Charlie Chaplin of Indian cinema”

The Great Showman
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Many of the songs are evergreen hits. He introduced the music directors Shankar-Jaikishan. He is also remembered for his strong sense of visual compositions, elaborate sets, and dramatic lighting to complete the mood set by the music

Shankar Jaikishan
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Along with mainstream commercial films, Raj Kapoor also supported the cause of meaningful cinema. He produced Boot Polish & Ab Dilli Door Nahin. He also produced and acted in the critically acclaimed Hindi & Bengali bilingual film Jagte Raho (Ek Din Raatre in Bengali)

Ab Dilli Door Nahin
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His film Sangam was the first Hindi film with 2 intervals. The film’s honeymoon sequence was extensively shot in Venice, Paris, and Switzerland and became a trendsetter for many latter Bollywood films which started shooting in foreign locales

Sangam Film Raj Kapoor

In 1970 he produced, directed and starred in his ambitious film Mera Naam Joker which took more than six years to complete. His son Rishi Kapoor made his debut in this film playing the younger version of his character. This film also was made in two intervals but it didn’t work at the box office. Today the film has acquired cult status and is considered one of the Classics of Hindi Cinema

Raj Kapoor - Charlie Chaplin
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In 1971, he launched his eldest son Randhir Kapoor in the family drama Kal Aaj Aur Kal starring himself, his son Randhir, his father Prithviraj Kapoor as well as Randhir's to-be wife Babita. He launched his second son Rishi Kapoor's career in 1973 when he produced and directed Bobby which was a huge box office success and introduced actress Dimple Kapadia

Randhir Kapoor in the Family Drama
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In the 1970s and early 1980s, Raj produced and directed films that focused on the female protagonists like Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978), Prem Rog (1982) and Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985). He also acted in fewer films taking up a notable supporting role alongside Rajesh Khanna in Naukri (1978) and as the titular character alongside Sanjay Khan in Abdullah (1980)

Raj Kapoor Acting
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He played a detective in two comedy films: Do Jasoos (1975) and Gopichand Jasoos (1982), both directed by Naresh Kumar. In 1979 he became a member of the jury at the 11th Moscow International Film Festival

Raj Kapoor - 11th Moscow International Film Festival
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Raj Kapoor's last major film appearance was in Vakil Babu (1982) where he appeared with his younger brother Shashi and his last acting role was a cameo appearance in a 1984 released British made-for-television film titled Kim

Raj Kapoor in Vakil Babu Film
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He was set to direct Henna starring his son Rishi and Pakistani actress Zeba Bakhtiar before his death in 1988. Later, his son Randhir directed the film and it released in 1991

Raj Kapoor Direction
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Mukesh was Raj Kapoor's exclusive singing voice in almost all of his films. When Mukesh died, Raj said, "Maine Apni Aawaz Ko Kho Diya" (I have lost my voice). Manna Dey has also sung many notable and super-hit songs for Raj Kapoor, for instance in Shree 420 and Chori Chori

Mukesh was Raj Kapoor's exclusive singing voice
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Raj Kapoor breathed his last while accepting the Dadasaheb Phalke Award on June 2, 1988. President Venkataraman, on seeing Raj Kapoor’s discomfort came down the stage to confer the award to the eternal Showman. A postage stamp, bearing his face, was released by India Post on 14 December 2001 along with a brass statue that was unveiled at Walk of the Stars at Bandra Bandstand in Mumbai in March 2012 in his honor

Raj Kapoor Accepted Dadasaheb Phalke Award
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