On Thursday, the nation was plunged into a state of grief after it was made official that actor Rishi Kapoor had died. For the uninitiated, the actor passed away after being hospitalised the day before upon complaining that he was not feeling well. The 67-year-old actor had been admitted to Mumbai's Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital.
Earlier in the day, we had brought to you the reaction of Kapoor's peer from school, Shashi Tharoor. The Congress MP had taken to Twitter earlier in the day to say the two of them had gone to the same school, namely Mumbai's Campion school. The actor had been his senior and had been his competitor in inter-class dramatics.
"Saddened to hear that my senior schoolmate at Mumbai's Campion School, Rishi Kapoor, whom i competed with in "inter-class dramatics" in 1967-68, has gone to a better world. From the romantic hero of "Bobby"to the mature character actor of his last films, he evolved remarkably. RIP," he had tweeted.
But the two had rather limited interactions in school. In a 2014 article for Huffington Post Tharoor writes that his first discovery of the concept of caste was through a conversation with Kapoor. He was ten-years-old at the time.
As Tharoor narrates, he had been "representing the 6th Standard in an inter-class theatrical event at which the 8th Standard’s sketch featured “Chintu” (Rishi) Kapoor".
"I had acted, elocuted a humorous poem and MCed my class’s efforts to generous applause, and the younger Kapoor was either intrigued or disconcerted, for he sought me out the next morning at school," he writes.
As per his account, Kapoor then went on to ask Tharoor what caste he belonged to. The 10-year-old's lack of awareness regarding the same appeared to bemuse Kapoor who asked him what he meant when he said he didn't know. "Everybody knows their own caste,” he was told.
Tharoor writes that when Kapoor further asked him if he was a Brahmin or something, he "couldn’t even avow I was a something". He adds that he had later sought an explanation from his parents regarding the same.
"They told me, in simplified terms, about the Nairs; and so it is to Rishi Kapoor, celluloid hero of the future, that I owe my first lesson about my genealogical past."