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14 December 2013

The Only Showman

14.12.1924 - 02.06.1988
Photo: Rediff.com
If he had been alive today, Raj Kapoor would have been 89 years old. I'm an unabashed Raj Kapoor fan, and have been since I first began watching movies. I grew up watching his films, reading about his films, listening to the songs from his films, and if nothing else, talking about his films. In this, I was aided and abetted by my father who holds sole responsibility for introducing me to the actor/director/producer named Raj Kapoor. 

In a way, even though I had seen films before, he was my introduction to the world of cinema itself. It is his films that introduced me to the art behind the moving images on screen, the craft that resulted in the magic unfolding in front of me in a darkened theatre.  He opened up a world of myriad possibilities, an appreciation of different kinds of cinema, and an enduring love-affair with films of all kinds, from ones in the languages that I speak to those that I do not understand. If I can appreciate Satyajit Ray, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Bimal Roy and Guru Dutt on the one hand, and Truffaut, Malle and Kurosawa on the other, while at the same time enjoying Nasir Hussain and Mani Rathnam and Manmohan Desai, I have Mr Raj Kapoor to thank for it. It is no hyperbole to say that my life would have been the poorer if I had not known the cinema that was the passion of a man named Raj Kapoor. I'm glad he was so much a part of my growing up years.

Until I began blogging, I had no idea how many people didn't like him at all. A younger me would have put her 1/4" nose up in the air and wept at the thought of anyone not liking the object of her affection. With a few years under my belt, my 1/4" nose is still up in the air (well, what can I do if it didn't grow?!), but now, I only sigh sadly at all those unevolved souls who just can't understand  his greatness. It's their loss. :) 

Today, on the 89th anniversary of his birth, I could have reviewed one of his films. Or listed my favourite songs from his films. But I wanted to do something different. And so, a quiz. Yes, I know that is not very original, but I didn't claim to be. I have never posted a quiz before, so for me, at least, this is as different as it can get. 

Before I list the questions, I warn you that I have absolutely no ability to make up clues like fellow-blogger Harvey did. Nor do I have any prizes to hand out like Dustedoff.  What I can do, though, is to take a leaf out of Dustedoff's book and let the first three people who send in all-correct answers  choose a topic they want me to write about. (Aren't you lucky?!) It can be a theme for a list, a film that you like in any language (as long as I can get my hands on a DVD or it is on YouTube), or even a person - actor, director, singer, lyricist, composer... - whom you want me to cover. 

Two important things to remember:
a) Please send it to my email id - warrier one four at gmail dot com, marked 'CoC RK Quiz' on the subject line by the 24th of December, 2013. (Please, please do not write your answers in the comments box.)
b) Please try not to Google the answers. (Yeah, right! But... I'm an optimist.)
So, shall we begin? 

1. Which film of Raj Kapoor's was originally named Gharonda? (Bonus points for answering who the original cast was supposed to be. )

2. Raj Kapoor and Alfred Hitchcock once filmed the same novel.  Which RK film was it? And which novel was it based on?

3. In many RK films, one came across a character named 'Gopal'. Who was he named after?

4. Not withstanding the fact that he was Prithviraj Kapoor's son, Raj Kapoor was once slapped by one of his directors in front of the whole unit. Can you name him? Bonus points for answering why he was slapped.

5. Which film saw the young Raj Kapoor face the cameras for the first time?

6. Awara was originally supposed to be directed by ----? (Bonus points for naming the actors who were to play father and son.)

7. Shammi Kapoor was known to be a voracious reader. Not so elder brother Raj, whose preferred reading was much lighter. What did he like to read?

8. Which was the first RK film to be shot in the then-newly-built RK studios?

9. Which RK film was the first to have two intervals?

10. What was RK's favourite food? (You really have to be a fan to know this one!)

  • Two points each for each question.  
  • Two points for the first and third bonus questions.
  • One point for the second bonus question.
Total points: 25

Get cracking! :)  


  1. When I started reading the post, I expected to be in position to reply at least half of the questions that the quiz would have posed. But, it is no big surprise that I am not able to think of answering even one.
    Not that I am very good history or filmography, the quiz certainly deserves credit for being able to bring out finer aspects of Raj Kapoor's professional life.
    Today also happens to be the 47 anniversary of passing away of a solid pillar of RK team - Shailendra.

  2. My memory is terrible. I may have heard about one or two of these but have forgotten. :(

    I do agree that Raj Kapoor was BIG when I was growing up as well. Songs from Raj Kapoor films were iconic and popular.

    I adore the Big Trio of the era, all of them. Dilip, Dev, Raj. I love their movies. I love the songs of their movies. I love that era.

    However, I am a much bigger fan of Dev, in a fangirl way. Acting wise, I feel Ashok Kumar aces them all easily.

  3. Ashokji, I expected you to come up with most of the answers. :(

    Yes, I know that Shailendra died today, and I was dithering between posting this quiz, or writing a The Masters post on Shailendra. RK won, because I hadn't done enough research on Shailendra,

  4. At this rate, no one is going to answer this quiz!! :(

    I agree with your sentiments regarding that era and the Big Trio. Also agree with you about being a Dev Anand fangirl. Acting wise, among the big three, I would choose Dilip over the others. Outside of that, yes, Ashok Kumar and Balraj Sahni would be my actors of choice.

  5. I am terrible at quizzes anyway. :) I will try nevertheless.

  6. 4.kedar sharma
    i'v tried

  7. Thanks, Rangoli. But please send your replies to me at my email id given in the post.

  8. Don't even expect an answer from me on this one, Anu! Not because I'm one of those 'unevolved' people who cannot appreciate the greatness of RK, but because I simply don't know. I think I know the answer to the last question (if I'm right, I have the recipe, and make the dish fairly often), but that's it. I am very interested in knowing the answers to some of those questions, though... like his reading preferences (what, by the way, did Shammi like to read?) and the novel both he and Hitchcock made into films.

    Can't wait to see the answers! :-)

  9. Sab kuch seekha hum ne, na seekhi hoshiyaari;
    Sach hain duniya waalon, ke hum hain anaadi

    So....I wait for X'mas and the answers.

    Footnote: None of the RK family is a favourite except Shammi & Ranbir and of course his daddy Chintu dear (before he got into those oversized pull overs)

  10. Sad I know the answers to just a few of them so cannot participate, anyway looking forward to your replies.

  11. Et tu, Madhu? I had hoped you would know some of them.

    Actually, Madhu, is 'unevolved' even a word? *grin* I had my tongue firmly in cheek when I wrote that. :)

    Just goes to show I shouldn't be posting quizzes. I seem to come up with questions no one can answer. :) :)

  12. Uff, did I ask for the footnote?

  13. Hai-la Shilpi! You, as well? I am so dead!

  14. Could only answer #5 and #9 :( .Waiting for the answers to the rest..................

  15. Hi Anu, lovely post; I found myself as much a lover of the Showman as you say you are, but when it came to answering the quiz... Well, only one answer!! I'll be waiting eagerly for all the others.

  16. If you have the correct answers to No.s 5 and 9, you are probably ahead of everyone else. :)

  17. Yves, you too? :( Okay, that's it! This is going to be the first and last quiz ever on this blog!

  18. Thanks for sending me the answers, coolone. :) Will wait until the 24th before I post the answers on the blog.


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