A Film by
"Living Legend - Raj Kapoor" is a revealing portrait of
Raj Kapoor, a charismatic personality who held centre-stage in
the Indian film industry for more than four decades!
In a highly personalized interview, Raj Kapoor talks to the film's director,
Simi Garewal, about his emotional evolution.. his regrets.. his love.. his music..
his films and his philosophies. The viewers are also treated to glimpses of haunting
scenes and songs from his films.
Living Legend - Raj Kapoor is a comprehensive study and an insight into
the persona of a megastar. A blending of the myth & reallity.
An experience both nostalgic and profound...
   After years of fiction, written dialogues, plaster of paris sets, I looked for a sense of reality - in documentaries.
As usual, I was interested in the human aspect.
   My first documentary was for Channel Four Television, U.K.and I decided on an interview-based style which was
a departure from the trend at the time. Raj Kapoor had been a mentor and I had starred in his 'Mera naam Joker';
and he inspired me enough to want to make a documentary on him.
   So we switched roles. Now I became his direcor. And he was my star!
   And a very co-operative one too! I would say, 'Walk from here to there' or 'sit here and look to your right' and
 he would groan, 'Yeh kya kya karva rahi ho buddhe se!'. But he would do it.
  The only difficulty was that he wasn't keeping well becouse of his breathing problem and sometimes we would
have to cancel the shoot.
  The ultimate acid-test was when I had to show him the film! We went to his home in Chembur where my sister had
arranged a big screen in his bedroom. We were really nervous. And to add to it Raj-ji had invited evrybody
from the studio, from all departments.
  And then the show began. Everyone seemed riveted.  When it was over Raj-ji extended his arms towards me
from his sick bed. I went and knelt before him. He kissed me on my forehead and said,   
      'You've made such a beautiful film my dear. How can I ever thank you?'
  That's when I finally exhaled.
  After the telecast, it was heartening to note that students in the film schools wrote dissertations and these, dissecting
the fim's methodology.
  When I was doing my research for the film, I uncovered a personal insight into the private world of Raj Kapoor.
He generously asked Krishna-ji (his wife) to show me their private letters. Apparently no one had read them,
not even the children. They were in a huge trunk - and I spent a couple of days going through them.
  Reading them was such a huge privilege - and an eye-opener. The most intense and passionate letters were
written to his wife during the time he was with Nargis.
  I then began to understand their marriage.. and their bond..
  In our long conversations, Raj-ji often spoke about Krishna-ji
 and all she had brought into his life. She was his anchor. He felt
 the deepest love for her - and a gratitude that was immense.
  'Have you told her all this?' I asked him.
  'No! No!'
  'Why not?' I asked him.
  'That would give her power over me na?' he turned it into
a joke, 'mujh pe bohut robe jamayegi!
  'You must tell her'
  He turned earnest. 'When I am dying, in the very last moment,
I will tell her..everthing. I promise'.
    When the President of India conferred the Dadasaheb Phalke Award on Raj-ji in Delhi, he was gasping for
breath and collapsed in the auditorium. He was rushed to the AIIMS ICU. They put him on a ventilator to breathe.
    On the night of 1st June 1988, the family was sitting around him and Raj-ji repeatedly gesticulated for the tube to
be removed - he wanted to say something. The doctors advised against it.
  'Tomorrow we will remove it for a while', they said
   That tomorrow never come. Raj Kapoor died that night. The words of love and gratitude he promised to express
to his beloved wife, went with him, unspoken..
     That still saddens me...