When Raj Kapoor came to my house in Mysore
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When Raj Kapoor came to my house in Mysore

February 16, 2022

By H.K. Shivananda, IAS (Retd.)

In 1980, I was working as an Administrator at Mysore City Municipal Corporation (Elected Council was superseded) holding Additional Charge as Director of Administrative Training Institute (ATI) also. I was staying in the Corporation Guest House, opposite Cheluvamba Park, Mysore, with my family.

One morning as I was having breakfast, the watchman came and told me in Kannada “Yaaro Rajkapoor anthe. Nimmannu nodabekanthe. Varandadalle kurusiddene.” (Some Raj Kapoor it seems. He wants to see you. I have made him sit in  the veranda)

I had my breakfast leisurely and came out after 10 minutes saying “Yava Rajkapoorappa? Yenu cinema actor bandubittidara?” (Which Raj Kapoor? Has the film actor come?).

As I walked out, to my shock, I notice the Great Showman of   Indian Cinema, a popular hero to people like me from our college days in the fifties, sitting very much in front of me in the open veranda of my quarters. He immediately got up and wished me.

‘Prem Rog’ hero Rishi Kapoor at ATI, Mysore.

I profusely apologised for the delay and told him that my watchman never mentioned it is film actor Raj Kapoor. Obviously the watchman did not know this.

I immediately invited him to our drawing room and made him comfortable. By that time coming to know that it is the great Raj Kapoor of Indian Cinema who had come, my family members including my parents came in and they were all happy to meet him and get introduced.

While refusing to take breakfast, he accepted a cup of tea and explained what brought him to my house. He had come to Mysore to shoot Prem Rog under his RK banner.

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The previous day as he was going on Lalitha Mahal Road, he saw the garden in front of ATI along with its gravel pathway and was impressed.

He wanted to shoot a scene there in which the heroine Padmini Kolhapure comes in a coach and gets down in the garden and meets the hero Rishi Kapoor. For that shooting he had come to seek my permission as I was Director of ATI.

I happily agreed to give permission without even examining whether I had the authority to do so. Those days as Field Officers we had more power and bosses were also broad-minded and did not interfere as long as bonafide decisions were taken with good intention. Though he was at the zenith of his popularity, in his interaction with me he was a gentleman to the core and courtesy personified.

Next day Raj Kapoor had his shooting in the forenoon. Literally, it became an unofficial holiday in ATI, as the entire staff (including the Director!) and all trainees were there to see the shooting.

My grandchildren ask me now why I did not take a photo with our entire family and it would have been a great addition to my album.

I had no courage to say I did not own a camera then and mobile phones had not yet arrived !

‘I am a complete product of the Legendary Showman’

Recalls Padmini Kolhapure in a newspaper interview

Yesteryear actress Padmini Kolhapure was nine when she first worked with Raj Kapoor as a child artiste in Satyam Shivam Sundaram. The actress calls RK Studios her second home and herself a complete product of the legendary showman.

Padmini Kolhapure with Raj Kapoor on the sets of Prem Rog.

“The premières of RK films were much awaited. For the première of ‘Satyam                                      Shivam Sundaram’ in Delhi, he got me a tailor-made white lehenga by designer Bhanu Athaiya, as white was his favourite colour and he wanted everyone around him to dress in white. But I lost the lehenga on my way back home,” recalls Padmini Kolhapure in an interview to a newspaper.

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Though he came across as a taskmaster, the actress reveals that he adored his actors and literally put them on a pedestal. “He made us feel comfortable and special. When I was shooting for ‘Prem Rog’ in Mysore and Bangalore, every day he would send a huge basket of ‘gajras’ just to make me feel special. He made every actress feel like a queen,”  Padmini Kolhapure adds.

19 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “When Raj Kapoor came to my house in Mysore”

  1. Mann Ki Baat! says:

    in 1980, there was deputy commissioner (DC) too for Mysore district, and wonder why Raj Kapoor did not approach him, first. DCs have more power in the district.
    Actos like Raj Kapoor who was also producer for his films, usually have film administrators who approach to get the permission in advance. Unbelievable that Raj Kapoor who filmed in London and Paris, did not arrange to get the clearance in advance.

  2. S N Hebbar says:

    The question of advance clearance did not arise to Raj because as Shivananda Sir said he (Raj) thought of shooting the ATI scene on the spur of the moment.

  3. Mann Ki Baat! says:

    @Hebbar
    Those who know Raj Kapoor, the producer, he never did anything in a spur of a moment. He carefully planned the location and the shoots down to the last details.
    It is ridiculous to think, he made the journey to shoot in the Mysuru area, and then selected a location in the spur of the moment. That was not Raj Kapoor.
    Even me, an ordinary citizen, not an IAS officer, had an inexpensive camera. It was unthinkable that Raj Kapoor did not bring a few of his assistants to this officer’s home, at least one would have had a still camera.
    This story has holes. I do not believe it.

  4. Gusto says:

    Raj Kapoor coming alone without assistants? A very organised actor and a producer, had not known for doing anything not planned.

  5. Captain Jack Sparrow says:

    Next, we will hear a story by another IAS retired officer-these guys have kept quirt for decades, saying that HH JC Wadiyar himself knocked at his door to ask for a glass of water!!

  6. Captain Jack Sparrow says:

    Correction: quiet

  7. Boregowda says:

    Mann Ki Baat!, Gusto, Captain Jack Sparrow – You people have raised some valid doubts , But on the other hand, nobody gets anything by lying e about Raj Kapoor paying an accidental visit 30 years ago! This is not a status symbol or giving Mr Shivand any award for Lying ! Now that he has caught with no photographic evidence Mr Shivananda wont be able to satisfy any scoundrel who wants to humiliate him because some a*holes consider themselves as the Supreme court judges and the jury in their own mind. So, even if you produced all the photographic evidence. they may still say it is photoshopped! The only way they can verify the truth is to personally meet Raj Kapoor in the other world! Hope they get that opportunity very soon and let SOM get a relief!
    I have an observation! All these morons never read or understood anything beyond what text book history prescribed by the dynasty! So, they hate anybody who is more successful than them. That means almost anybody on the street! The people this group hates includes educated women like Sudha Murthy , IAS officers like Shivanand, successful doctors like Javed Nayeem , surgeons, successful engineers whom one of them referred as coolies! People who have Phd in engineering and successfully worked in USA for 4 decades , successful entrepreneurs and the list goes on! So, it leads me to think these losers did not achieve anything in life and so they are jealous of anybody and everybody because they in their own mind know that everybody is more successful than themselves! That must be a mental torture!
    I pray God that their misery will end very soon!

  8. Seshadri says:

    This boastful IAS officer has bared his culture by revealing that he deliberately kept a visitor waiting, even though he didn’t know who he was, it only shows his culture. Ofcourse it slightly sounds odd that RK would have visited alone.

  9. Arun Vikram Goel says:

    It is not too difficult to verify if the shot was indeed taken in ATI premises! There is no reson for the narrator to have coined this anecdote, he is retired and the Great Showman is no more! And he was having breakfast when RK apparently dropped in, unannounced. Having clarified that he did not know that it was the RK, he goes on to inform that he subsequently offered all courtesies! It is weird that these days people get over agressive and rude over trivial issues?

  10. Sanjay says:

    It’s a man narrating an incident that he wants to share and he fondly remembers he wants people to enjoy it that’s it and I did enjoyed it.
    Maja aaya.

  11. Mann Ki Baat! says:

    @Borgowda
    Are you sure, you are not Deve Gowda? You sound like that fool, with your long rant. You cannot write a long paragraph. Next time, make it short. Long paragraph requires proper education.
    Questioning veracity of an account is not a crime. This accounts sounds so bizarre, and un-raj Kapoor like, who was a stickler of organised work.

  12. SKKAPOOR says:

    What an IAS officer who has retired will gain by tailoring a story? We should appreciate the story and I enjoyed it too

  13. Janakiram says:

    Raj coming all alone? Seems a bit exaggerated!

  14. Anita says:

    Don’t know why people are so mean nowadays. So what if Rajkapoor visited alone or had a thought in spur of the moment. Why can’t people gracefully accept it. If they don’t want to ,let it be. But why be so mean.

  15. MH swaminath says:

    Good mannerism on the part of Rajkapoorji.
    The respect he deserved has been extended.
    Now a days the procedures are little cumbersome . You can not give permission instantly.

  16. Bhoomika says:

    If one has doubt ,try to check the location n the scene for the clarification. Sometimes something triggers mood n thoughts for a better change .The narrator has narrated the incident .It is upon the tendency n knowledge of the readers to like it or not.

  17. swamy says:

    Raj Kapoor, eh? He was yester year Ram Gopal Verma. Ask Jeenat Aman, Mandakini, Dimple Kapadia and host of other female actresses on he showcased them in reel… I may have seen some of his movies, but he was Devegowda equivalent in the filmworld, only to cast his brothers and son..

  18. JKMehta says:

    it is so disgusting to see super intelligent critics tearing a simple experience of an ex IAS officer’s chance encounter with a celebrity like Raj Kapoor.I do believe what he said and fully share the warmth this incident brought him.To hell with doubting devils!

  19. Questo says:

    Famous actors like Raj Kapoor are accompanied by a few assistants-minders, who protect him from fans mobbing. Rarely these actors come alone and knocking the doors.
    You guys decide about the authenticity. I do not believe this narrative.

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