Ranbir Kapoor and his father, the late Rishi Kapoor shared a turbulent relationship…Or maybe turbulent is too animated a word to describe their frozen relationship. During the making of Ranbir’s first film Saawariya he often shared vivid glimpses of his uneasy relationship with his father with me.
“We don’t even make eye contact. We hardly speak to each other. And I can’t look at him when we speak.” he told me.
This father-son equation gradually changed over the years. Ranbir tried to walk towards his father so that they could meet on a middle ground
Rishi Kapoor was also troubled about the lack of communication with his only son. He once told me that he shared a far more comfortable relationship with his daughter Riddhima. “But with Ranbir….I don’t know. He shares everything with his mother, not me.We have a very formal relationship. And that’s the way it should be. Even I was formal with my father and would not like it to be otherwise.”
Even while they remained distant from one another Rishi Kapoor was deeply concerned about his son’s career. Like any proud father he applauded Ranbir’s performances and mourned when Ranbir’s films didn’t do well. In an interview to me Rishi had slammed two directors, coincidentally brothers, who had given the two biggest flops in Ranbir’s career. Rishi was livid. “How dare they pull this bakwas on my son’s career?” he had fumed.
The repairing of the relationship continued. Ranbir’s equation with his father changed completely after Rishi Kapoor fell ill. The health crisis brought the two closer than ever before. I believe Ranbir’s girlfriend Alia Bhatt played a big hand in bridging the gap between the estranged father-son pair.
In his final years Rishi Kapoor had come to be emotionally dependent on his son. Ranbir’s locked-down relationship with his father had dissolved into something far more emotional and nurturing. Rishi’s end has shattered Ranbir. He has never been so shaken by any death in the family. Not his Naani (mom Neetu Kapoor’s mother) and Daadi (Rishi mother).
I remember after his Naani died Ranbir told me he felt nothing, although her room in the Kapoor’s residence was opposite Ranbir’s and she was constantly in and out of his room.
“I am shocked myself. But I don’t feel anything,” Ranbir had blurted out to me when his Naani passed away. This time, after his father’s death, I am sure he’s shocked by how much he feels.