Sir — As parts of the world begin to ease lockdowns, one of the first concessions issued by Switzerland is to let children hug their grandparents since scientists had concluded that young children did not transmit the virus. The urgency of the relaxation shows the already acute problem of loneliness among the elderly had been exacerbated by the worldwide lockdowns. Chances are that those who have lived to be a certain age have already weathered their share of loss; cutting off their ties from family can actually snap their will to live. The step taken by Switzerland is thus encouraging.
Brenda D’ Souza,
Sir — While India is preoccupied with the fight against Covid-19, two developments caused immense grief to film buffs. Bollywood lost two of its finest actors — Irrfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor — in as many days. Unfortunately, the emperor of all maladies has snatched away from us two exemplary actors. The wide variety of parts these versatile actors played in films were a testament to their exceptional talent. Acting for them was as natural as breathing. It was their true passion and they pursued it with commitment and grace. Both of them must have been good people for they endeared themselves to all those they worked with.
Khan rose to success the hard way, acting in soap operas after passing out of the National School of Drama. His talent made up for the so-called ‘ordinariness of his looks’; he had a face not normally associated with a Bollywood star. Khan was known internationally for his roles in Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi, The Amazing Spider-Man and Jurassic World. He took his diagnosis of a neuroendocrine tumour philosophically and said, ‘Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect. The cork does not need to control the current it is floating in. Uncertainty is the only certainty in life’.
On the other hand, known as the “evergreen romantic hero”, Rishi Kapoor was a quintessential Bollywood star. He starred in blockbusters with gusto and his performances in films like Khel Khel Mein, Karz and Chandni won rapturous applause. Films like Mera Naam Joker, Bobby, Amar Akbar Anthony and Agneepath (in which he played the role of a human trafficker powerfully), too, won him admirers. Kapoor had a great zest for life and was known for his plain-speaking; he is said to have kept the medical staff looking after him entertained to the last.
If the world were not in the midst of a pandemic, thousands of fans would have thronged to get a last glimpse of their screen idols. Both feted actors played their part well in reel and real life and left a lot of memorable scenes to cherish.
G. David Milton,
Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
Sir — Rishi Kapoor’s sudden demise at the age of 67 has brought the curtain down on a glorious era of Hindi cinema. From a chocolate hero to a comedian to a character actor, Kapoor straddled all his roles with aplomb. Kapoor played a romantic hero opposite some 30 heroines, ranging from Dimple Kapadia to Divya Bharti. But Kapoor’s amazing chemistry with Neetu Kapoor established them as the leading romantic pair of Bollywood of the Seventies.
Kapoor also displayed a flair for comedy in movies like Rafoo Chakkar and Amar Akbar Anthony among others. When he was past his prime, he decided to reinvent himself by playing roles his age. Some of his memorable films are D-Day, Patiala House, Agneepath and Mulk. The fact that he took risks and experimented with his roles testifies to his versatility.
Sir — Irrfan Khan was a man who achieved what few actors manage to — success in two of the world’s biggest film industries, Hollywood and Bollywood. But he did not let fame get to his head. He was one of those performers who dug deep to shape themselves even into the flakiest roles. Khan rose to international fame in 2008 when he played a police inspector in Slumdog Millionaire, which won eight Academy Awards and seven Baftas. Khan has left an indelible imprint on global cinema.