“Raj Kapoor Was Like a Music Conductor Handling a Whole Orchestra”

Mansi Malik and Rahul Rawail

Mansi Malik and Rahul Rawail

Rahul Rawail gives his audience fascinating insights into the life and mind of the veteran actor, director and producer at a session of The Write Circle

Watching Raj Kapoor on screen has always been a delight for viewers, but not many have had the lucky opportunity to work with him. This is a privilege that Rahul Rawail had, though; he began his professional journey as an assistant director to Raj Kapoor. To share this journey, he was part of a special session of The Write Circle, hosted by Prabha Khaitan Foundation at ITC Kohenur. Rawail was in conversation with Mansi Malik, Ehsaas Woman of Hyderabad.

The session commenced after the welcome speech delivered by Mourya Boda, Ehsaas Woman of Hyderabad. Malik conversed with the film director about his life, his foray into Indian cinema and the production of his blockbuster movies.

On his father, H.S. Rawail, Rahul Rawail said, “I never worked with dad. Though I grew up in an environment of films, I never wanted to become a filmmaker. After school exams got over, Rishi Kapoor (Rawail’s childhood friend) invited me to go to the sets where Raj Kapoor had scheduled the shoot of the circus portions of Mera Naam Joker. Though our first intention was to have a look at the Russian girls on set, I was fascinated by seeing Raj Kapoor at work. He was a man who single-handedly managed a huge number of people on the set, including the crowd. Raj uncle was like a music conductor handling a whole orchestra. I spent the whole day watching him work the whole day, and I did not look at the girls!”

Upon revisiting the sets of the film, Rawail made the life-changing decision to work as an assistant director to Raj Kapoor, before later venturing abroad to pursue his passion for nuclear science. Raj Kapoor’s prophecy that Rawail would never want to leave the film industry proved true, as he continued to work in the field for many years to come. Rawail spoke highly of Raj Kapoor’s unparalleled brilliance in the craft of filmmaking, noting that he possessed an understanding of every aspect of the art form. In particular, Rawail praised Raj Kapoor’s impressive sense of musicality, which he and his daughter, Ritu, a pianist, utilised to create iconic compositions like Sun Sahiba Sun and Jhoot Bole Kauwa Kaate, which were featured in films like Ram Teri Ganga Maili and Bobby.

“I was fascinated by seeing Raj Kapoor at work. He was a man who single-handedly managed a huge number of people on the set, including the crowd.”

Rawail also shared with the audience the process that went into writing his book, Raj Kapoor: The Master at Work. It was the words of Raj Kapoor’s wife, Krishna Kapoor, that inspired him to take up writing about his mentor: “Rahul, you must write the book because you are the only living person who has worked with my husband. You have seen him working closely, and if you don’t write about his way of working, the valuable lessons will be lost for life. They can only be brought to people’s memory if you do it.”

After talking some more about his book and his blockbuster films, Rawail left the audience with a piece of advice: “Nothing is more important than dedication and believing in what you are doing.” The event concluded with a Q&A round, after which Boda delivered the vote of thanks, and Neena Sharma presented felicitated Rawail.

The Write Circle Hyderabad was presented by Shree Cement Limited as their CSR initiative in association with ITC Kohenur and with the support of Ehsaas Women of Hyderabad.