Rishi Kapoor’s untimely death has left everyone shocked. The entire nation and his fans across the globe are mourning his death. The loss is a big one and will surely need a lot of time for healing. Meanwhile, we have been speaking to Rishi Kapoor’s co-stars to collect some fond memories of the late actor.
Zeba Bakhtiar, his Henna co-actor, spoke exclusively to us from Pakistan and shared some sweet instances related to their super hit film and also narrated the experience of working with Rishi Kapoor and of course her bond with the Kapoor family till now. Excerpts from our conversation:
Rishi Kapoor’s death has left a big void in everyone’s life…
It’s extremely shocking! Just two nights before his death, I was speaking to Daboo (Randhir Kapoor), and he had told me Rishi is getting better.
You have worked with him in Henna. Can you share your experience?
I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Rishi Kapoor. It was a tremendous experience working with him. I had always admired him as a hero and an actor. But having an opportunity to work with him was nothing less than a delight and an extremely profound learning experience. He was one of the most through professionals I have wokred with. He knew everything about his work which was meticulous. He made no compromise in his performances. And just being around him and watching him work was an education.
How did Henna come to you?
I started working as an actress in Pakistan television and the first show I did was titled Anarkali. The video cassette of that play was showed to Raj Kapoor sahab by Mr. Saeed Jeffrey and later I was recommended to him by Hasina Moin, the Pakistani writer who wrote dialogues for Henna. Unfortunately, Raj ji passed away before I could meet him. But he had seen my work and initially approved of it. However, when I went to India, it was on the invitation of Randhir Kapoor to audition for the film. By the grace of god, I was selected.
Had you seen Rishi Kapoor’s work before signing it?
The first Indian film I ever saw was Kabhi Kabhi. After which I saw Bobby and Karz. It was not easy to see Indian films in those days until they came on video. But they were much sort after and I definitely was a fan of Rishi Kapoor much before I acted with him.
Can you recall your first day shoot of with him?
The first day I worked with Rishi Kapoor was for a screen shoot and a photo shoot for Henna. I was totally new and unfamiliar with everything, so I was very, very nervous. But he made it quite comfortable for me and encouraged me a lot, so much so that in just 48 hours, I felt like the Kapoor famil, is my family.
It was shot at beautiful locations. Can you share some interesting shoot memories?
Henna was shot in Kullu Manali and some of the songs were shot in Austria. A lot was done on the sets of RK studios itself. There were so many incidents and it was such an enjoyable time. To specify one particular incident would be difficult. But I remember when we went Austria to shoot, a lot of props and costumes were mishandled and the luggage got left behind during the change over, so we were stuck there for three days, unable to shoot. Those were some interesting but stressful incidents. Because being on an outdoor location with all the crew was very strange.
How old were you and Rishi Ji when you guys shot for the film?
I was 23 when I started shooting for Henna. And I never asked Rishi Ji his age as the conversation never came up.
Can you recall what kind of reactions you received for your on-screen chemistry with him, esepcially from your family and loved ones?
People loved it. In fact, my family has seen the film many a times.
Were you in touch with him all these years?
Yes, I was in touch with Rishi Ji. And before these mobile phones came into our lives, I used to call him on his land-line phone to wish him on his birthday and Diwali. And once the trend of WhatsApp started, we communicated on that to wish each other. Also, he used to me message whenever a film of Ranbir Kapoor released and I used to make it a point to go and watch it.
When was the last time you met him?
I met him aprroximately 10 years back in 2010-11 when I last visited India.
What is your favourite Rishi Kapoor movie?
My favourite movie is definitely Henna, there is no question about that!