Mumbai: It was a usual morning for Pakistani theatre teacher and actor Atif Badar based in Karachi. He woke up to receive a call from a Sikh family friend aunt residing in Singapore. She in a heavy voice informed Atif of Rishi Kapoor's passing away. It took a while for it to sink. Atif who eats and breathes theatre developed his prototype of what a 'hero' is by watching Rishi Kapoor's films as a youngster. The first of his that he saw on a VCR was Kabhie-Kabhie as a youngster. His bubbly, cheerful look was what one looked in a hero, says Badar. The thought that he has been nursing since morning is that it was first Sridevi from Chandni who passed away and now it is Rishi Kapoor. The constellation seems empty now.
“Along with the 'Chandni' even the 'Chand' seems to have done an exit now,” exclaims Atif.
Rishi Kapoor's popularity clearly surpassed borders.
Atif tells an anecdote from a private dinner in Lahore in January this year that he sang the famous, 'Pyaar Kar liya to kya pyar hai khata nahi, teri meri umr mein kisne yeh kiya nahi' and the glee on the faces of the middle aged audience in the room was clearly discernible.
“He is extremely popular here. I am a huge fan of his films. Bobby, Kabhie Kabhie, Amar Akbar Anthony and Chandni were great hits in Pakistan,” explains Uzma Mazhar, Editor, This fortnight in Pakistan.
She adds that Kapoor and sons is closer to home as for us it was such an organic cast. Not just Rishiji and Fawad Khan from our side. The whole cast felt like a family, informs Mazhar.
This family feeling is something that even Badar shares when he says that it was this 'child like innocence' and his natural acting abilities that made him an instant favourite in not just India but the entire sub-continent.