The Rishi Kapoor-Neetu Singh Top Five

28 Mar

As requested by two of my favorite ladies, Ana and Sidekick, here’re my top five favorite movies from Bollywood’s #1 cutie-pie couple: Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh.

I’ve often noticed that in Bollywood, once a couple hooks up, they always find a way to wriggle into their sweetheart’s movie. There will be special appearances, item songs, whatever they can swing. I guess this is the time honored way to spend time with each other and navigate strenuous shooting schedules. And in case you think this is a recent phenomenon (why, hello there Kareena Kapoor and Salman Khan! Fancy running into you here) this is a tradition that goes back a while. Just look at that other pair featured on this blog, Hema-Dharam and their 42 movies.

Which is why I appreciate Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh as a couple. Not only were the two of them enormous stars separately on their own, but they managed to maintain it by themselves. Rishi didn’t turn up as some banjara consolation prize for Neetu Singh at the end of Kaala Patthar and Neetu never showed up to die in a flashback that explained Rishi’s sadness in any movie. Together, they appeared in 12 movies, most of them good if not outright great, some of them okay and none of them bad. The only other real life couple I can think of who’ve any done better is Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri (I won’t count Waheeda Rehman and Guru Dutt because she’s never chosen to acknowledge their off-set relationship and he was a married man all throughout their working relationship).

5. Kabhie Kabhie – Let me be honest. The last half hour – forty-five minutes of this movie is crap of the crappiest kind. To a point where I thought of leaving the movie entirely off the list. But I was convinced that if I did that, a giant hand would descend from the heavens, pick me up, carry me to the ocean and drown me. I don’t think I would like that. Actually, apart from Amitabh Bachchan’s fake-mustachioed Mr. Super McScowly in the second half and his incredibly annoying ham of a daughter (seriously? You think Amitabh and Waheeda would give birth to that grating brat? Sometimes I shake my head at thee Yash Chopra), I like this movie a lot. For one thing it had my Shashi Kapoor as a charmer who could make Rakhee go for some nookie even as she sang sadly about her lost love i.e. Amitabh pre-McScowlydom. Plus, Rakhee and Waheeda both gave excellent performances as women struggling with guilt, love and motherhood. And none of it would have worked without Neetu and Rishi to act all cute and there for each other. Aww. Below, a lesser known song where Rishi makes time with both sisters and acts like a total douchebag – but that doesn’t happen till the end of the video. Till then they’re being all awesome in the face of the jitterbugging mosquito. It’s also quite hilarious how the three of them are clearly on a trip of their own in spite of the extras in the background trying to pretend that they’re all one big happy dance party.

4. Duniya Meri Jeb Mein – A Shashi-Rishi movie once again (they’ve appeared four times together and all three full fledged roles included Neetu paired opposite Rishi), this one pretty much wastes Shashi who gets crippled early on and therefore gets no love since Bollywood only rewards physical disabilities that can ultimately be completely cured like new. So children, if you’re ever in an accident or fall prey to the nefarious designs of an evildoer and want to someday fall in love, be sure you get blinded in such a way that you can get a corneal transplant in the future. All else is hopeless. I mean, Shashi gets plenty of brotherly love from Rishi but that’s not what I’m talking about. Below, an avenging Rishi in a downmarket matador’s outfit + Neetu in a gypsy fortune teller ensemble + Ranjit in a tux + can can dancers who don’t can can wearing what appears to be the knockoff version of the pink outfit from Gigi + frenzied Beatles-y band in orange suits + Kishore Kumar + big, plastic ball = fun, baby, fun!

3. Rafoo Chakkar – A remake of Some Like it Hot, Rishi in drag is a sight to behold. And hilarious to boot. If only he’d tried for a Tony Curtis pout, my life would have been complete. Neetu as a rather materialistic young woman who very kindly doesn’t comment on her new friend’s utter trannyliciousness is a sweetheart. The rest of the movie isn’t a big surprise but still… Rishi is so fetching! Waaaaoooowww! :mrgreen:

2. Doosra Aadmi – The reason I chose this as my number two fave is because it’s such a surprise. It’s about the sad, desperate things lonely people (in this case two women) do and the impact it has on other people’s lives. It doesn’t manage to completely cut away from the Bollywood factor but why would you want to see a Bollywood movie that’s entirely unlike Bollywood, right? Beth has a more in-depth post here – with pictures!

1. Amar Akbar Anthony – well, duh! A good masala movie is like a gift that keeps on giving and this is the king of all masaladom. Everytime you see it, there’s something more to appreciate. And when it’s a mammoth like AAA, it’s like a community project. Everyone’s got a favorite part and notices something new. Like Ana, who wrote about this little thing about the Rishi-Neetu bit that I must have seen a million times but never really paid attention to:

What I found to be fascinating, and linguistically so, was when Akbar, barred from leaving Robert’s house, writes to his wife in Urdu, in Nastaliq script which no one else can read, and gives her instructions for help. So it is not simply ek jagah jab jamah hoN teenoN, Amar. Akbar. Anthony, who save the day, but also Nastaliq!

It’s things like this that make AAA so wonderful as Filmigeek writes. Below, the most famous qawwali ever. It took me years to get over my disappointment that real life qawwals don’t jump on stage or do any of Rishi’s signature moves. Sadness.


Posted by on March 28, 2008 in Celebrity, Entertainment, Movies, Video


12 responses to “The Rishi Kapoor-Neetu Singh Top Five

  1. Patrix

    March 28, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    You missed Khel Khel Mein?

  2. M

    March 28, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    Oh Thank you – for Rafoo Chakkar – like probably half the population of India, I love that movie, and love the Rishi-Neetu pair….actually I still love them as a couple, and find it hard to believe they went through some rocky times (wishful thinking?)

    Rishi’s sweaters in Kabhie Kabhie need separate billing – his sweaters in general need special billing!
    And HOW I cursed Neetu in that song you posted…my mom unfortunately LOVED the clothes she wore and got me a similar outfit…the agony.


  3. ana

    March 29, 2008 at 1:40 am

    Have I told you lately you totally rock?! You do. Thank you! *hugs*

    I’ve only seen two movies out of these, Kabhie Kabhie and AAA, but I know what you mean about the pre-denouement/denouement of KK, I hated it too. Really, thank goodness for Rishi and Neetu in that.

    And Rishi is soooo cute not just in the qawwali, but Tayyab Ali pyaar ka dushman hai hai. . . heck just about every scene.

    I’ve got to get Rafoo Chakkar. . . .

    The only other movie I saw of theirs, was Zehreela Insaan, and it was the first time I ever saw a kissing scene in a Hindi film. I am convinced they were kissing, although my adolescent mind could have mistaken that for something else, what, I do not know. . .

  4. desigirl

    March 29, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Waaah! Now I want to watch nos 2-4!!!

    I quite like Rishi and Neetu as a pair and isn’t it adorable the way they still look so sweet together. And I abso love Shashi too! Pity he had to go and become that monstrous tub of lard tho’.

  5. Amey

    March 29, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    eal life qawwals don’t jump on stage or do any of Rishi’s signature moves

    But then, how many real life quawwals do you know who sing “taiyab ali pyaar ka dushman” on the streets? 😉

  6. sidekick

    March 29, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    awww… thanks so much amrita, you totally made my day 🙂 … lots of cyber hugs!

    i love, love, love the rishi-neetu jodi. they’re my fave on screen jodi and how cute were they off screen too in KWK. i never got the big whoop abt the SRK-Kajol jodi. Rishi and Neetu were much more fun.

    i agree with yr top 5, except for #4 on the list which i haven’t seen. like Patrix I would add Khel Khel Mein instead. And also agree completely on KK — they added some pep and joy to a melancholic pitch.

  7. harini calamur

    March 30, 2008 at 10:08 am

    great list
    there is also “khel khel mein” – a fabulous thriller with a great RD sound track…

  8. Amrita

    March 30, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Patrix, Sidekick and Harini – no, no, I didn’t miss Khel Khel Mein. It was gonna be number four and Duniya Meri Jeb Mein was going to be number five. But then I decided to put KK back on the list which meant I had to cut one of them and my eyes were dazzled by the youtube video, so I went with that one. I’m beginning to think I made the wrong choice or should have made it top six.

    M – i wish I’d had your mom when I was a little kid. I totally fell in love with that outfit the first time I saw it when I was about nine or ten and wanted a flowy white dress with the passion of a thousand suns. And my mother flat out refused. I wear a lot of white these days to make up for it 😀 also, blocking out all thoughts of domestic violence.

    Ana – smooches! I havent seen Zehreela Insaan though the IMDB profile promises great things! You’ll totally love Rafoo Chakkar.

    DG – hahahah! you have no reverence. none at all. i love you so. Start with Rafoo chakkar btw.

    Amey – but wouldn’t it be totally awesome if they did? 😀

  9. Sanket

    April 7, 2008 at 12:24 am

    Great post on a great on/off screen couple. Like others here ‘Khel Khel Mein’ is probably my favorite only because of the classic song that Karan mentions ‘Ek Mein Aur’. All of your other movies were spot on though – although as far as movie quwallis go the AAA one ties with my other all time fave, ‘Hum Kisise Kum Nahin’ from the movie with the same name.

    ‘Kabhie Kabhie’ & ‘Doosra Aadmi’ both underwhelmed me as movies but the soundtracks remain two of my favorites to this day…

  10. Amrita

    April 7, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Sanket – Man, I wish my eyes hadnt been dazzled by that youtube video 😦
    HKKN is so much fun! Although I got a rude shock when I downloaded the song and found out that it doesnt play well on ipods: nearly rendered me deaf. great video still.

  11. Sanket

    April 7, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Amrita – I have a pretty high quality version of the HKKN song – just drop me an email and I will be happy to send it along as an mp3 attachment. Have you ever seen the movie? It is madness but not fun madness – it is absolutely a trainwreck that simply makes no sense. But at least the horror is broken up by the fantastic tunes!

  12. nveen

    April 17, 2008 at 2:26 pm




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