Monthly at the Egyptian and Aero Theatres, 2012
Actor, director and mogul Raj Kapoor (1924 - 1988) was one of the giants of Indian cinema and is synonymous with the rise of the monolith known as Bollywood. Largely unknown in North America - except of course to millions of fans of South Asian descent - Kapoor is revered not only in India but throughout the former Soviet empire, the Middle East and beyond for the films he made during the Golden Age of Indian cinema.
Beginning his career as an actor with his father Prithviraj’s famed theater company and then in small film roles beginning in 1935, Kapoor founded RK Films in 1948 and made his debut as producer, director and star with the hit film AAG (FIRE), in which he starred for the first time with his onscreen muse Nargis. Deriving his screen persona from the smirk and swagger of Clark Gable, the heightened emotions and showmanship of Gene Kelly and most importantly Charlie Chaplin’s underdog heroism and sense of pathos, Kapoor rapidly became the biggest superstar in Indian cinema. Meanwhile, his stylistic innovations as a director - from the gritty neorealism of his early films, to his introduction of epic-length musical numbers, to the eye-popping, Technicolor delirium of his more commercially minded late period - helped set the template for the Bollywood film as it is today.
Join us at the American Cinematheque for monthly screenings of the Bollywood films of Raj Kapoor. Kicking off the series is AWAARA (THE VAGABOND) at the Egyptian.
Series compiled by Gwen Deglise. Program notes by TIFF Cinematheque.