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Lata Mangeshkar: “Rishi Kapoor Was My Favourite Kapoor After Raj Saab”

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Everyone who is a fan  of the great music in Raj Kapoor’s cinema knows Lata Mangeshkar was the Showman’s muse . He  called her Mata Saraswati .He unconsciously dedicated all his best works to  her  voice.

“I  often visited  Raj Saab’s home to meet Krishna Bhabhi (Mrs Raj Kapoor)and the children. It was  during one  such visit that I first saw Rishi who was all of  six month old then,”  remembers Lataji.

The  moment  was captured  on camera  for posterity.  “And recently Rishiji sent me that picture of him in my godee(lap). Main tasveer dekh ke bahot khush huiSara Kapoor khandaan  mujhse bahot pyar karta hai. But I was specially close  to  Raj Saab and then his son Rishi.”

Not many people know this. India’s   resident nightingale Lata Mangeshkar is  known to send gifts to members of the film fraternity whom she is fond of. She sent Rishi a statute of Sai Baba.

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After  receiving the  gift  Rishiji had said emotionally to me, “When Lataji heard that I was a Sai Baba devotee she sent me a beautiful Sai Babamoorthy(statue). It is a gift I’ll cherish forever.”

Says Lataji, “Jee haan. Rishiji and I exchanged  communication  constantly. Even when he went to America for medical treatment he  would call me. I would call him to ask about his health.  When he returned he assured me he  had recovered. And now all of a sudden, he’s gone. Mujhe vishwas  nahin  hota woh chale gaye.  67 is no age to die.  Rishiji was  my favourite Kapoor after Raj Saab. It’s a big personal loss to me. With his going, my relationship with  the Kapoor family has ended.”

Lataji loves Rishi’s  acting. “He was  a natural-born actor, borm for  the camera.So handsome and  so full of life and sunshine!  I loved  him in Bobby,  Prem  Rog, Chandni, Henna, Kabhi Kabhie and so  many other films.He was one of the finest actors of our country. Indian cinema has  lost a giant.And I’ve lost someone  very precious.”

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Incidentally  Lataji and Rishi’s son Ranbir Kapoor share the same  birthday(September 28). “I’ve met Ranbir when he  was a  child at Raj Saab’s  place. But I don’t know him now.He is a  fine actor. Is he as good as his father?”