Rishi Kapoor passed away on Thursday morning after a long battle with cancer. His death shocked fans and fellow entertainers across the world. Given the popularity of his films in Pakistan, fans and the showbiz fraternity in the country too also lamented the loss of the legendary actor.
However, Kapoor's connection with Pakistan isn't just restricted to the social impact of his films in the country. His relationship with Pakistan is one that goes far deeper.
For starters, his ancestral home, dubbed as the Kapoor Haveli is located in Qissa Khwani Bazar, in Peshawar Pakistan. The Bobby star's father Raj Kapoor, grandfather and patriarch of the Bollywood royalty Prithviraj Kapoor and grand uncle Trilock Kapoor were all born in this building.
Kapoor himself had expressed his wish to visit Pakistan once before he dies. “I am 65 years old and I want to see Pakistan before I die. I want my children to see their roots. Bas karva dijiye (Please make it happen),” the Mulk star had once tweeted.
Additionally, it was upon Kapoor's request that the government of Pakistan some two years ago, took the decision to turn the Haveli into a museum.
“There was a call from Rishi Kapoor. He requested that his family’s home in Peshawar should be made into a museum or some sort of institution. We have accepted his request,” stated the Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
The then Interior Minister Shehryar Khan Afridi had also shared that the Nagina actor requested him to preserve his family’s house in Peshawar. “He called me and spoke to me about making his ancestral home into a museum. Now the Federal and Provincial governments are working on transforming the house into a museum soon,” Afridi said.
Aside from having his ancestral roots in Pakistan, Kapoor in the past few years formed a very interactive relationship with Pakistanis. His outspokenness about Pakistan has sometimes earned him the praise of Pakistanis and at times landed him in hot waters. The latter more so than the former.
He was one of the few prominent figures from India who congratulated Prime Minister Imran Khan on his election win in 2018. "Well-spoken, Imran Khan. I have been saying whatever you said on all the channels for the past two days regarding India-Pakistan. I hope you succeed in making your Mulk have good relations with my Mulk. In his speech, Mr Khan had said that he wants good relations with India, ” Kapoor had said after the election win.
Well spoken Imran Khan. I have been saying whatever you said on all channels past two days regarding India-Pakistan! I hope you succeed in making your “Mulk” have good relations with my “Mulk” pic.twitter.com/YCe741vW22— Rishi Kapoor (@chintskap) July 26, 2018
A few months later when his film Mulk, that supposedly painted a pro- Muslim narrative, was banned in Pakistan, Kapoor was rather dismayed.
“I’ve been getting sweet text messages from all over the world. My only regret is that the film was banned in Pakistan,” Rishi had told Mumbai Mirror. “Perhaps because we showed that Indian Muslims continue to be heckled with that awful line, ‘Go back to Pakistan’. I wish they would reconsider the ban,” he added.
However, the otherwise civil Kapoor often succumbed to hypernationalism when tensions in Pakistan arose, either on the cricket field or on the borders.
His tirades against the country in the form of hateful tweets had earned him the ire of Pakistanis a lot of whom were his fans. It would be difficult for a lot of them to simply forgive Kapoor after his death.
Perhaps Kapoor did try to make amends with Pakistani fans before his death. Earlier in March, as the coronavirus pandemic grew, the actor expressed concerns for the citizens of Pakistan terming us as "dear" to him.
With all due respect, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan should also advice his country to take adequate precautions. People of Pakistan are also dear to us. Once we were one. We are concerned too. This is a global crisis. No ego matter this. We love you guys. Humanity zindabad !— Rishi Kapoor (@chintskap) March 19, 2020
"People of Pakistan are also dear to us. Once we were one. We are concerned too. This is a global crisis. No ego matter this. We love you guys. Humanity zindabad !," was his last tweet about Pakistan.
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