'She is an idiot'

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By SUDESHNA BANERJEE
  • Published 10.10.07
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Randhir Kapoor in Calcutta for The Showman Show. Picture by Pabitra Das

That’s what Randhir Kapoor, eldest son of showman Raj Kapoor, had to say about Vyjayanthimala Bali. Randhir was in town last week to inaugurate The Showman Show, organised by Zee Cinema, an exhibition of props used in films under the RK Films banner. t2 caught up with him en route to the exhibition venue.

How has the family reacted to Vyjayanthimala Bali’s comment in her autobiography that Raj Kapoor used link-ups with heroines to promote films?

You can’t spread such slander about a man who is not there to speak for himself. She didn’t have the balls to open her flap when RK was around. Contrary to what she has claimed, the truth is she hooked on to him. I was 15 then, Rishi was 11. I was old enough to know what was going on. That is why we kept our dignity in silence all these years. She used him then and she is doing the same thing now to promote her book which would not sell 10 copies without this (controversy). Tell me, who in this generation has heard of Vyjayanthimala? They only know Raj Kapoor.

Did you know her well? Of course. She is an idiot. She is doing all this big talk but what is she herself? She married a married man and broke a family. Dr Bali had children.

On to more amicable matters. Your nephew has arrived with Sawaariya...

Yes, Ranbir is the new rocket from the Kapoor family. I pray that he hits bull’s-eye and proves to be a worthy grandson and a worthy son to Raj Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor.

What about your own daughters? God has been kind to us that all our children are doing good work. We have all chosen to entertain people through our craft.

But it is said that you were opposed to Karisma entering films?

That is all rubbish made up by the press. We have all married actresses — Shashi Uncle married Jennifer Kendal, Shammi Uncle married Geeta Bali, I married Babita, Rishi married Neetu… Jis mein khaate hain uss mein kaise thook sakte hain? Jennifer did 36 Chowringhee Lane after marriage, Geeta Bali did Jailor and Rano (unreleased).

Then where did this talk of Kapoor daughters not being allowed to enter films start from?

My mother was not an actress, and my two sisters were like her. So people thought the daughters do not act. When Karisma came to me and said, “Dad, I want to act,” I said “Fine, go ahead.” Finito. And if you look at it, before Karisma, Sanjana (Shashi Kapoor’s daughter) had done Hero Hiralal. Because the film flopped, no one made a noise about it. Today, you do not determine your children’s future. We are not in pre-historic times when the man would go out with a plough and the wife would sit at home and bear children like a cow.

Are you happy the way your daughters’ careers have shaped up?

Of course. Babita and I have brought them up. They earn more than I do. I do not know what they do with their money. I don’t need their money. They don’t run my house or Babita’s house. God has been kind. We do not interfere in their lives. I don’t see 80 per cent of their films. But I am there for them.

Were you worried when Karisma’s marriage showed signs of cracking?

Dekho, in any marriage where the wife is so famous, these initial jitters will be there. Sanjay is rich but will you interview him? Such things happen in showbiz, especially in India.

Finally, the Kapoors have a deep Calcutta connection...

Of course. My grandfather (Prithviraj Kapoor) came here from Peshawar in 1927. He worked for years in New Theatres. That is why my father could speak Bengali. My auntie was born here. We had so many Bengalis in our unit — Taru Dutt, Radhu Karmakar. My father would speak to them in Bengali. That is why he made Jagte Raho in Bengali as well — Ekdin Ratre. When I come to Calcutta I miss my father, how he used to tell me this is mishti doi, this is machher jhol... Of course, he was in half-pants then and couldn’t afford it!