Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor, who rose to super stardom as a romantic hero with a string of blockbusters like "Bobby", "Chandni" and "Amar Akbar Anthony", died at a hospital in Mumbai today at the age of 67 after losing a long battle with cancer, his family said.
"Our dear #RishiKapoor passed away peacefully at 8:45am IST in hospital today after a two-year battle with leukaemia. The doctors and medical staff at the hospital said he kept them entertained to the last," said a message from Rishi Kapoor's family.
His brother Randhir Kapoor had told the media in Mumbai late last night that Rishi had been taken to H N Reliance Hospital yesterday morning. He was suffering from cancer and had breathing trouble, reports our New Delhi correspondent quoting Randhir.
Rishi, a third generation actor of the Kapoor clan, is survived by wife Neetu Kapoor, son Ranbir and daughter Riddhima.
The statement issued by Rishi's family said that he "remained jovial and determined to live to the fullest right through two years of treatment across two continents."
"Family, friends, food and films remained his focus and everyone who met him during this time was amazed at how he did not let his illness get the better of him. He was grateful for the love of his fans that poured in from the world over," it added.
The statement further said Rishi Kapoor "would like to be remembered with a smile and not with tears. In this hour of personal loss, we also recognise the world is going through a very difficult and troubled time. There are numerous restrictions around movement and gathering in public. We would like to request all his fans and well-wishers and friends of the family to please respect the laws that are in force. He would not have it any other way."
Rishi Kapoor's co-star in "Amar Akbar Anthony" Amitabh Bachchan took to the Twitter and Facebook to say "He's gone. Rishi Kapoor, gone, just passed away. I am destroyed."
Rishi was slated to star in a Bollywood adaptation of Hollywood movie "The Intern" with Deepika Padukone also in the cast.
His death comes a day after his "D-day" co-star and another renowned actor, Irrfan Khan, died of cancer.
The actor returned to India last September after reportedly undergoing treatment for cancer in the US for almost a year. In February, Rishi Kapoor was hospitalised twice due to his health issues.
He was first admitted to a hospital in Delhi where he was attending a family function. At that time, Rishi had said that he was suffering from an "infection".
After his return to Mumbai, he was again admitted to a hospital with viral fever. He was discharged soon after.
Born on September 4, 1952, Rishi began his big screen career with roles in his father Raj Kapoor's films.
Rishi made an appearance as a child in "Shree 420" film's popular song "Pyar Hua Ikrar Hua" and played a young version of his father in 1970 super hit film "Mera Naam Joker" directed by Raj Kapoor, winning the national award for the best child artist.
It was in 1973, with "Bobby", again directed by his father, that Rishi made his debut as a romantic hero, an image he continued with for almost three decades.
"Bobby" has a number of foot-tapping songs including "Bahar say na andar koi aa sakay/andar say na bahar koi ja sakay…" which has now become popular with many Indians in the midst of a Covid-19 induced lockdown.
His other notable films as a romantic hero are "Laila Majnu", "Rafoo Chakkar", "Karz", "Heena" and "Saagar".
Even in the 21st century, Rishi came up with some of his best performances in films like "Agneepath" and 2018's "Mulk".
He was last seen in the 2019 films "The Body" and "Jhootha Kahin Ka".
Rishi was, however, more proud of his second innings as an actor, which he found more satisfying. His notable films during this period are "Do Dooni Chaar" with wife Neetu and "Kapoor & Sons".
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled Rishi's death tweeting "Multifaceted, endearing and lively...this was Rishi Kapoor Ji. He was a powerhouse of talent. I will always recall our interactions, even on social media. He was passionate about films and India's progress. Anguished by his demise. Condolences to his family and fans. Om Shanti."
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjeee also expressed condolence over Rishi Kapoor's death.