Bollywood suffered a twin blow in two consecutive days as two legendary actors passed away all of a sudden. Yesterday, news came that Irrfan Khan, who was suffering from neuroendocrine tumour since more than 2 years, succumbed due to colon infection in Mumbai’s Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. The actor had made a mark not just in Bollywood but also in the West and hence, tributes poured in from all over the world. While fans and industry had still not recovered from his demise, there came reports late night that Rishi Kapoor has been admitted in Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital in South Mumbai. And today, people woke up to the shocking development that the veteran actor has also left us for heavenly abode.
Just like the rest of the Bollywood fraternity members, writer-director Anees Bazmee too is saddened by the loss of two great performers. He had a personal connection with both of them. His first film as an assistant was Prem Rog (1982), starring Rishi Kapoor in the lead and directed by his father, the mighty Raj Kapoor. Talking exclusively to Bollywood Hungama from Lonavala, Anees Bazmee tells, “It seems like a personal loss. I had worked with him extensively on Prem Rog as the film took around 2-3 years to be made. He was a very big hero at then and to work with him was a huge opportunity. He was a very jovial and happy-go-lucky man.”
The association with Rishi Kapoor continued after the completion of Prem Rog. He reveals, “I also wrote the dialogues of his film Bol Radha Bol (1992). When he found out that I was the one scripting the film, toh unki jo khushi thi mujhe mil kar, woh aisi thi jaise aapke koi chote bhai ko ya bete ko kaamyaabi mili ho. I was so happy to see the love he had for me. While talking about me to anyone, he’d always say ‘Yeh hamare RK Films ka bachha hai’! So I am fortunate to have received that adoration from him.” After Bol Radha Bol (1992), Anees Bazmee also wrote the story of Raju Chacha (2000), which featured Rishi in a special appearance.
In 2018, Rishi Kapoor was diagnosed with leukaemia and on this, Anees Bazme tells, “I was quite sad to know that he was not well and had messaged him. He lovingly replied and assured that inshallah, all will be fine. We all prayed for him and his passing away was so unexpected. Yesterday, it was Irrfan Khan and today he went away.” Did he meet Rishi Kapoor during his illness? Anees replies sadly, “We used to meet regularly but unfortunately, after he fell sick, I couldn’t meet him.”
As for Irrfan Khan, Anees Bazmee gave him a very over-the-top comic role to the performer in his 2010 flick Thank You. The film tanked but Irrfan’s role is memorable and it was no surprise that while discussing him many excellent works, netizens also reminded each other of the pleasure of watching him playing to the gallery in Anees Bazmee’s flick.
Anees opens up about Irrfan and memories from the sets, “Unhone Thank You mein bahut kamaal kaam kiya tha. It was my first film with him and it was a pleasure working with him. He was a great actor as well a very human being. Bahut mazedaar aadmi the. We used to play a cricket on the sets – me, Irrfan Khan, Suniel Shetty, Akshay Kumar etc. His sons had come to visit him and I also met them. Aisa lagta hai ki jaise kal ki hi baat ho. All the memories and conversations have come gushing back.”
Before Thank You, Irrfan Khan had rarely done a wholly comic role. But Anees Bazmee makes it clear that getting him on board was not difficult, “I was always his fan and wanted to work with him. So I met him and told him that ‘Yeh accha role hai’. I assured that he’ll suit the part. Fortunately, he was on the same wavelength and told me ‘Haan chalo karte hai’.”
Also Read: Nikkhil Advani reveals Rishi Kapoor hugged Irrfan Khan after watching his performance in D-Day
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