LONDON/MOSCOW: The international media on Thursday mourned the death of Rishi Kapoor, describing him as Bollywood's romantic hero who redefined the embodiment of the modern-day 'Prince Charming' in India.
Kapoor died after a two-year battle with leukaemia on Thursday in Mumbai at the age of 67. The British media generally referred to him as the Bollywood's romantic hero and recalled him making a huge splash in 1973 with his first lead role in Bobby.
"He was the big-hearted, sweet-natured leading man with the benign air of an eternal juvenile lead who stole the audience's hearts. His death is another sad day for Indian cinema," The Guardian reported. The actor played the romantic lead in dozens of films for over two decades, after which he made a successful transition to character roles, BBC said in its report.
"He was a skilful dancer and some of his films had songs that are massively popular even today, it added. It noted that Kapoor frequently commented on controversial issues and sometimes got into heated exchanges with people on the social media platform.
His last tweet was an appeal to people not to attack medical staff at the frontlines of the fight against the coronavirus saying, "we have to win this war together".
Describing Rishi Kapoor as a widely popular film actor from one of Bollywood's most celebrated families, The New York Times said he was best known as a romantic hero, with a charm and charisma that quickly made him one of the leading men of the 1970s and '80s in the Hindi film industry.
The Russian media noted that the legendary actor-director Raj Kapoor's son and Prithviraj Kapoor's grandson, Rishi Kapoor made a huge success in 1973 with 'Bobby'. "The picture was a resounding success in India, in the republics of the USSR and in many ways glorified Rishi Kapoor," Russian news agency Sputnik said on Thursday.
It also carried a picture of Raj Kapoor with his sons Randhir, Rajiv and Rishi which was taken at the 13th Moscow International Film Festival in July 1983. "In 1973, when he starred as the lead actor in the film 'Bobby', a musical romance, the actor redefined the embodiment of the modern-day 'Prince Charming' in India," it said.
The Kapoor family, originally from Peshawar in Pakistan, migrated to India after the partition in 1947. In 1990, Rishi Kapoor along with brother Randeer Kapoor visited their ancestral home in Peshawar called 'Kapoor Haveli' where his grandfather, Prithviraj and his father Raj Kapoor, were born.
The news of his death sent a wave of sadness and grief among people in Peshawar. A lot of people visited the Kapoor Haveli to express their grief and condolence over his demise.
Former Mayor of Peshawar, late Saeed Ahmad Jan, had received Kapoor brothers on arrival to their ancestral home. "We had no relation with Rishi Kapoor, but had a liking for him because of watching him as a film hero from childhood and due to his connection with a place which is also a birth place of me," said Pervaiz Ahmad, a city dweller.
"Rishi's death has saddened me a lot," Pervaiz added. "Perhaps the feeling expressed by Pervaiz portrays sentiments of all the dwellers of Peshawar over sad demise of Rishi," said Ibrahim Zia, a historian who also wrote a book titled as `Peshawar ki Funkar' (Artists of Peshawar).
"We feel pride over the connection of a number of Bollywood stars with Peshawar like Dilip Kumar, Kapoors, Shah Rukh Khan, Anil Kapoor, Amjad Khan and Vinod Khanna," Zia said. Several Pakistani stars also expressed their grief on social media.
Zeba Bakhtiar, the Pakistani film actress who made her Bollywood debut with Henna in 1991 starring Rishi Kapoor, posted a picture of the actor on her Instagram account. "A mentor, inspiration and friend to me, a part of my family in so many ways I can not imagine life without you Chintu (Rishi Kapoor). May you ever be surrounded with the joy, exuberance and integrity that was yours. May you be blessed with the best in the hereafter," she wrote under the picture.
Pakistan's former fast bowler Waqar Younis also condoled Kapoor's death. "Heart Broken. Terrible week for the World cinema. An era ends with your demise but you will stay in our Hearts forever. My deepest condolences to the Kapoor family. #RIP #Legend," he tweeted.