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Editor’s Take: Rajat Kapoor is a Grossly underrated nugget of Indian Cinema.
I usually write articles for fun, to enjoy myself but I decided to come up with this one because I felt the desperate need of writing a piece on Rajat Kapoor. The man is actively working in films from last 16 years and has given many gems both as an actor and director yet when it comes to the general popularity among the people and common cinemagoers he is very low in there. That is not surprising because his films are classy and niche but what shocked me the most that, there’s hardly any write-up on him written by the media and cinema columnists in these more than one and a half decade of his career. I searched extensively on Google and ended up empty handed, in fact, his recent release Mantra was not even properly released, I am still waiting for its release in my city. Come on, after his hard work of all these years, distributors and exhibitors need to release everything related to Rajat Kapoor. And then we complain that Hindi films are not good enough, let every film get a fair share of screens and chance.
For me Kapoor is a cinematic magician, he has looks, great acting skills and amazing craft as a filmmaker. There are people who do theater for personal satisfaction and films for money but this man has done both films and theater for satisfaction, not for money all through his career so far. Even this year also he has done plays in Delhi and Surat where he has reinvented few major Shakespeare tragedies — Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear and the pastoral comedy As You Like It. Kapoor’s adaptation, a bunch of clowns take Centre stage and reinterpret the plays. Now that he has survived in cinema for so long making and working in films which are outside the box, to me which are more entertaining than the regular commercial ones, see Fatso, Raat Gayi Baat Gayi, I am 24, Hulla, Pappu Can’t Dance Saala (he had a rockstar look in that) and Mixed Doubles etc. for the proof (If of course, you have a good taste of entertainment). With no PR to boast about him, he might be unaffected by all this media snubbing but his admirers like me are hell angry, he lights up the screen every time I see him in a movie. He is a damn great actor and has never got his due, he had to work with Dharma productions to get a nomination as an actor (though I would love to see him in more mainstream films and all the film awards in the country are laughing stocks anyway), forget about giving any credit for his direction although some popular awards honoured him for his cult directorial venture Aankhon Dekhi which gave new heights to another brilliant actor Sanjay Mishra, who for a change got a role which justified his talent and gave way to a film like Masaan. Watch the masterclass of his acting in some of the completely ignored films such as Amol Palekar’s And Once Again, Siddharth: The Prisoner, X: Past Is Present (It is like, a Hollywood Philosophical thriller, I wonder how many have seen it), Sudhir Mishra’s Khoya Khoya Chaand to name a few.
The films which he directed are also widely different from each other, watch Raghu Romeo, Mithya, and Aankhon Dekhi to find out yourself. Even most of his mainstream films are well crafted too, who can forget Dil Chahta Hai, a modern cult classic which gave way to multiplex films and redefined cinema. Monsoon Wedding, the BAFTA nominated classic garnered praise across the world, of course, Dharma’s Superhit Kapoor & Sons where Kapoor is brilliant in his portrayal, in Megastar Aamir Khan’s Jaane Tu Yaa Jaane Naa he just riveted the scene with Kittu Gidwani and also Drishyam, where actually he looked like a tycoon. His sense of script is outstanding, his small films become hits be it Bheja Fry (Where his real life friend Vinay Pathak swept all the credit but he was understatedly phenomenal), Phas Gaye Re Obama and Aankhon Dekhi. First thing after reading this article you must do is take out time to watch his films at least the ones I’ve named and you’ll say, ‘No, Kapoor deserve more love and respect and above all popularity’.