Darjeeling recalls fond memories of Rishi Kapoor, CM condoles death

Darjeeling recalls fond memories of Rishi Kapoor, CM condoles death
DARJEELING: It was the Queen of Hills where Rishi Kapoor learnt the lessons of adolescence, love and heart- break in reel life. Darjeeling always remained close to the heart of the romantic hero ever since. A shadow of grief descended on all with news of the death of the 69-year-old Rishi Kapoor on Thursday morning. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted: "Deeply shocked and saddened at the demise of the iconic and versatile film actor Rishi Kapoor. A National Film Award winner, he acted in more than 150 films." She further stated in the tweet: "He endured his ill- ness with dignity and grace. My condolences to his family, friends, fans & the entire film fraternity." Kapoor's debut was in the landmark film Mera Naam Joker (1970) where he played the character Raju, a schoolboy.

The first part of the film was shot in St. Paul's and St. Joseph's School, popular as North Point in Darjeeling. He again had a stint in Darjeeling with the teenage romance Bobby (1973), in which he played his first lead role. In the film Raja (played by Rishi Kapoor), the son of a businessman goes to a boarding school. This part of the film was shot in St. Paul's, Darjeeling. "I was a kid when Mera Naam Joker was shot at St. Paul's. We were all so excitedabout the shoot, wondering what it was all about. When Bobby was shot, I was in Class 4. There was a scene where Rishi Kapoor was to smoke a cigarette in the school dormitory. We were not allowed to go to the dorm during the shoot. Everyone was trying to get a peep of the shoot," recollected P Agarwal, the estate manager, St. Paul's School.

Past students of North Point vividly remember the shoot of Mera Naam Joker in the school as well. The shoot continued on and off for around one and a half month, recollects PK Mahapatra. "We used to all line up and greet the actors. The shoot took place in the months of Septem- ber and October. It was the ockey season. I was in Class 9. Rishi Kapoor was very elegant, oft spoken and very reserved. I had the opportunity to talk to him. Simi Garewal was very forthcoming. She even played hockey with us on the primary division field," stated Mahapa- tra, a boarder back then who now lives in Orissa. Manuel Coutinho, retired teacher, North Point, remem- bers the sports day. "That year Raj Kapoor was invited to school as the chief guest for the annual sports day. Rishi apoor accompanied him. I was the announcer for the event and they were seated next to the podium from where I was announcing," added Coutinho. "In North Point the film was shot in the quadrangle. The gothic pillars around the quadrangle can be seen in the film with Rishi Kapoor stand-ing in front," recollects Rajesh Poddar from Kolkata. He was a boarder studying in Class 9 at North Point then.

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It was the Queen of Hills where Rishi Kapoor learnt the lessons of adolescence, love and heart- break in reel life. Darjeeling always remained close to the heart of the romantic hero ever since. A shadow of grief descended on all with news of the death of the 69-year-old Rishi Kapoor

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