Rishi Kapoor Death: What it was like to catch 'first day first show' of Khel Khel Mein in 1975

I still remember I had taken my Class 5 exams, and was enjoying the summer vacations. Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh, my favourite Bollywood couple's film Khel Khel Mein was scheduled to be released on May 16, 1975.

My uncle, who lived in my building, was also film lover and had a record of sorts of watching the first day-first show during a big movie release. He came for tea and told me he had booked two tickets for the matinee show of Khel Khel Mein.

Be ready, he told me.

My obvious response was ‘yes’ I will be there. I was so happy that I was finally going to watch a movie 'first day, first show'.

As the day came, a lot of my schoolmates and their relatives had already gathered outside the theatre. No one would could keep calm about Rishi and Neetu Singh and everyone was certain it'd be a box office hit.

As the lights dimmed, there was pin-drop silence as everyone in the audience was eager to see the first appearance of their favourite pair.

Khel Khel Mein, a suspense thriller directed by Ravi Tandon, music by RD Burman and the lyrics written by Gulshan Bawra had songs like ‘’Ek Main Aur Ek Tu’’ and ‘’Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karenge’’. It was already destined to be a superhit.

Rishi and Neetu were at their best accompanied by Rakesh Roshan. As the time was passing by, the film turned quickly from fun and frolic to a taut thriller. Iftekhar played a negative role, Dev Kumar in a positive role and Aruna Irani also acted in the film.

Khel Khel Mein was one of the Rishi Kapoor films made. I have watched it at least three times. Other memorable movies include Bobby, Chandni, Deewana, Nagina, Amar Akbar Anthony and so many.

Rishi Kapoor left us early as he was busy currently in the shooting of Sharmaji Namkeen. It is an untimely exit of a great actor. Till his last moment, Rishi Kapoor lived life king-size. Nothing slowed him down, not leukaemia, not controversies, not even death.

My heartfelt condolences.

Sanjay Jog is a consulting editor with The Free Press Journal.

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