Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor is one of the few artistes who continue to amaze with the outstanding performances in their second innings (films) in Bollywood. Better known for playing a romantic hero till the early 90s, it was difficult to imagine him playing an out and out negative character that of Rauf Lala in ‘Agneepath’ (2012). But, the actor delivered a gripping performance, winning over many accolades that year as well. The character of Rauf Lala which carried dark shades was something new for his fans and for the actor himself. But, not many are aware that Rishi Kapoor was once offered a role carrying villainous shades when he was at his peak of playing romantic hero roles and it was none other than the character of an obsessed lover in late filmmaker Yash Chopra’s iconic psychological thriller ‘Darr’ (1993). Yes! It was the same role which later brought then newcomer Shah Rukh Khan into limelight.
In the actor’s autobiography ‘Khullam Khulla: Rishi Kapoor Uncensored’, it has been written that he was the first person whom late filmmaker Yash Chopra had approached with the script of ‘Darr’ wanting to play the negative lead. But then, Rishi Kapoor countered saying (to Yash Chopra), “I don’t think I can pass myself off as a villain. I have done ‘Chandni’ for you and now you want me to do this film? I did do a negative role in ‘Khoj’ (1989) and it didn’t work, so I am not sure whether this film will do well.” [sic]
The actor and the filmmaker shared a great working relationship earlier, therefore Yash wanted Rishi to feature in ‘Darr’, and so after refusing the negative lead role, the director offered him the other lead role (eventually played by Sunny Deol). But Rishi was also unwilling to take that part as he felt that it was like playing a second fiddle to the villain who clearly was the pivotal character in the film. (Also Read: Rishi Kapoor has an interesting career prediction for ‘Dangal’ star Fatima Sana Shaikh)
Further, it has been written in the autobiography that it was actor Rishi Kapoor who suggested considering the name of Shah Rukh Khan to the filmmaker, as he knew his capability as an actor after working with him in ‘Deewana’ (SRK’s debut film released in 1992). Rishi Kapoor says, “I don’t know what happened thereafter because I heard that Yash-ji offered the role to Aamir Khan and Ajay Devgn. But ultimately he did go to Shah Rukh Khan and the rest is history.” [sic]
Well, we can say that it happened for good, if none of these stars had refused, Bollywood and particularly late filmmaker Yash Chopra wouldn’t have discovered Shah Rukh Khan. Certainly, he made this character iconic with his impressive acting and that unforgettable dialogue in his equally popular stammering style, “I love you, K…K…K…Kiran.”
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