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Obituaries

Actor and Bollywood scion Rishi Kapoor dies of leukemia

Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor arrives at a film event in April 2018.
(Rafiq Maqbool / Associated Press)

Top Indian actor Rishi Kapoor, a scion of Bollywood’s most famous Kapoor family, has died. He was 67 and had leukemia.

Kapoor was hospitalized in Mumbai on Wednesday and died on Thursday, according to a family statement.

“Rishi Kapoor gone….Just passed away… I am destroyed,” Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan tweeted on Thursday.

Kapoor’s death was the second in two days of a celebrated Bollywood actor. Irrfan Khan, who starred in “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Life of Pi,” died Wednesday, also of cancer.

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Best known to U.S. viewers for “Life of Pi” and “Slumdog Millionaire” Irrfan Khan, who died Wednesday at 53, infused all his characters with hidden depths.

Kapoor returned to India last September after undergoing treatment in the United States for almost a year. He was hospitalized twice in February.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Kapoor was a powerhouse of talent. “I will always recall our interactions, even on social media. He was passionate about films and India’s progress,” Modi said.

Kapoor’s father, Raj Kapoor, and grandfather Prithviraj Kapoor were doyens of Bollywood, the vast Hindi-language film industry based in the western coastal city of Mumbai.

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He received the National Film Award for his debut role as a child artist in his father’s 1970 film “Mera Naam Joker.” He acted in more than 90 films, including “Henna.”

The late, legendary Indian star-director-producer Raj Kapoor’s final project, “Henna,” at Laemmle’s Grande in downtown Los Angeles.

Kapoor’s wife, Nitu Singh, co-starred in several of his films. His son, Ranbir Kapoor, is a top Bollywood actor.

He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

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Rahul Gandhi, a Congress party leader, said this was a terrible week for Indian cinema because of Kapoor’s and Khan’s deaths. He said Kapoor had a huge fan following across generations.

Film star Priyanka Chopra said Kapoor’s death was the end of an era. "#Rishisir your candid heart and immeasurable talent will never be encountered again.”

Kapoor’s popular hits included “Laila Majnu,” a story of legendary Indian lovers, “Debt,” “Moonlight,” “Sometimes,” “Sea” and “Lightning.” In 1999, he directed “Let’s Go Back.”

He switched to supporting roles in the 2000s, and popular movies included “Namastey London” and “Love Aj Kal,” or “Love Today and Tomorrow.” He acted until recently — his last movie, ”The Body,” was released in 2019.


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