I have compiled pieces from my diaries and articles to give you a picture of:
The Raj Kapoor I Knew ?
As a person Raj-ji was like a baby...a clown...an entertainer. He enjoyed making
people happy...
    I first met Raj Kapoor at the Rattan Talkies in Ranchi. It was a strange meeting, for
he knew nothing at all about it. You see, I was sitting spellbound in my seat - and
Raj Kapoor was on the screen. The film was 'Awaara'. I was five years old. I thought
he was the greatest thing since Coca Cola.
    So, you can understand how special 'Mera Naam Joker' was to me. A girl who had
idolised Raj Kapoor since her childhood, was actually working with him!
   And then, I don't know who adopted whom, but the Kapoors became like a family for me...
   I remember the fun times during the making of 'Mera Naam Joker'. Raj-ji was a late riser and hated getting up early.
Once, on location in Darjeeling, he started banging loudly on everyone's doors at 4 am!!
   'Radhu uttho...Khan-sahib uttho! Get up you lazy so-and-sos! Kaam karo!'
   In the process the entire hotel woke up also. We all scrambled out of our beds long before our alarums. Bathed, ready
with make-up and costume we gathered together in his room. - and what do we see?
   His Majesty had gone back to sleep!     And no one could wake him up...
   Once, when we were driving from Calcutta to
Darjeeling by car, he pointed out every single plant
on the way.
   "The scientific name for that shrub is 'tremlus viadus'...
that tree is 'naturus ballicus'..those flowers are
   I was so impressed! I'd go wow.
   When we reached Darjeeling I told his old crew mates:
   "I never knew Raj-ji was so close to nature! He knows the
name of every plant!"
   "Bunkus," they all said, "everything he said to you was
bunk! All made up!"
   I guessed they were right, when, in Word Building,
he insisted there are words such as 'agrovali', 'jamlet',
'xlaphone' Leave alone words, he made up strange
sounding phrases:
   "Dont-teach-you-mother-how-to-suck-eggs' was
an all-time favourite! I never understood what it
   His crew was most beloved to him, and he showered them with great affection.
   We were returning by train from a lovely shoot in Simla. On reaching Solan station,
Raj-ji headed straight for the kitchen and announced:
   "I am going to make Eggs Monte Carlo"
We all chorused, "What are Eggs Monte Carlo?"
He took a slice of bread, made a hole in the centre, put the bread into the oil, let it fry a
bit and then dropped the egg into the hole. Sprinkled salt and pepper - and voila!
    He must have made about 200 Eggs Monte Carlo that morning; not only for our
team but for ALLthe passenegers and train staff! They couldn't believe it! Here was
the great Raj Kapoor cooking eggs for them! ( I was the busy waitress!)
   He loved playing cards with his crew - and all of them used to cheat! And everyone
knew that the other was cheating! I'd ask. "why are you playing rummy? Why don't
you just play Cheat?". It was so funny!
   Have you heard of a game called 'Racing'? Raj-ji taught us the game.
   The Queen of Spades was called Vyjayantimala, the Queen of Clubs, Padmini. The
Queen of Hearts Hema Malini and the Diamond Queen I can't remember.
The game goes like this: The four queens are placed in a horizontal line at the head.
Then seven cards are placed on the side vertically like a track. The bookie opens the
remaining cards one by one, and according to the matching suit, the queens advance.
Soon the air was filled with cries, 'Chal meri Hema!...'Chal meri Padmini" as if it was a
real race! Minor betting - but major tension! Raj-ji's voice would be the loudest,
laughing heartily, having the most fun!
   One morning, in his Pune farm, Raj-ji woke up, cancelled shooting and announced:
    'Aaj hum khaana banayenge!'
   Everyone got into the mood. Manoj Kumar said he would make Paneer. Raj-ji said
he would make Daal. I said I would make Adrak ke Curry. I was craving for spicey
food and since I knew no one could eat my level of chillies I made a small portion for
   As it turned out, the food was yummy!
   Krishna-ji said, 'How can any daal with teen tadkas (!) go wrong?!'
   My poor little spicy Adrak ke Curry was demolished by one and all - between
tears and huge gulps of water!
   When Bobby was going to be made, Raj-ji called me, 'Come and choose the heroine'.
He showed me the screen tests of Neetu Singh and the new girl Dimple Kapadia.
I remember seeing Dimple and saying, "My God! She's just made for the screen!'
  "I wanted to hear you say that", he smiled, "if I take her, will you help me to groom her?"
  "Of course I will"
  "Ok, then I leave her in your hands"
  I remember I took Dimple everywhere for many months, beauty parlours, clothes
fitting etc..she was great fun and we had a ball!
  Once I was talking to him on the phone, and Vithalbhai, the lyric writer was sitting
with him in his cottage. I said something and Raj-ji replied, "Tum jhoot bol rahi ho"
"Why should I lie?'
"Tum jhoot bologi na to tumko kaala kauva kaatega - dekh lena"
  Anyway we soon hung up.
Two hours later he rang me, "Suno! I've got it! I've got the song! It's 'jhoot bole kaala
kauva kaate', first he said kaala kauva, then he said, 'nahin, jhoot bole kauva
kaate, kaale kauve se dariyo...'
   I remember he narrated to me that once Nargis-ji and he were travelling by train
and they had a tiff. When they reached a station, Nargis-ji walked out and the train
moved on.
Raj-ji turned to Khan-sahib, "Dekho na - chhor gaye baalam - akela humko chhor gaye.."
And that's how that song was born...
   He was full of anecdotes and experiences and they were the inspiration for his stories and
songs - all sourced from life. I was very young at the time and absorbed every word like a
sponge; to replicate later in my diary. He would tell my mother, "this girl just sits and listens,
chup chaap baith ke sunti rehti hai. I've never seen anyone listen like she does'
   Sometimes, like a researcher, he would leave me on my own to see his earlier films, his photo
albums or listen for hours to his private tape recordings. Why he chose me for this honour I do not
know - but a treasure house was revealed to me!
   He would always talk to me, as he put it, "man to man". Sometimes, forgetting to turn on the lights,
the room would darken as he talked of relationships, death, love, music - and of course films... .
   When they told me he had died, I thought of those lines from William Johnson Cory:
They told me Heraclitus, they told me you were dead.
They brought me bitter words to hear;
And bitter tears to shed.
I wept as I remembered how often you and I
Had tired the sun by talking
And sent him down the sky...