It is known fact that writer Apurva Asrani first suggested that Rawail should write a book on Raj Kapoor. Apurva has written the human rights drama ‘Aligarh’ (2016), the courtroom drama ‘Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors’ (2020), co-written and edited Hansal Mehta’s ‘Shahid’ (2013), edited the popular gangster film ‘Satya’ (1998) and also the web-series ‘Made in Heaven’ (2019). But when did they talk about it? “Apurva and I were on the panel of Indian Panorama and I used to keep talking about Raj Kapoor; he suggested that I should write a book on Rajji. Post that, when I mentioned it to my dearest friend Rishi Kapoor, he insisted that I must”.
Work on the biography began when Rishi was alive. “It took us some time as I wanted to do full justice to it. My version of Rajji is Rajji, as a filmmaker. And, things started falling in place. Prerna Vora, from the publishing company, was very co-operative too. I started narrating it and it was transcribed. Then a young girl, Pranika Sharma, expressed her desire to pen it and things started falling into place. There was a bit of a gap then, as Pranika went away to the UK for a year. But when she returned, her zeal to write was the same,” he reveals, reiterating that he plans to release it on December 14.
Rawail added that he had discussed the idea with Randhir Kapoor and Mrs Krishna Kapoor as well. “Biographies are often written without permission but Kapoors are family and very dear to me. I would have never written it without their consent”.
In the biography, titled ‘Raj Kapoor- The Immortal Master At Work’, Rawail goes back to his days spent in the RK Studios where he got nurtured by Raj Kapoor, as he observed and uncovered the techniques of filmmaking, exploring not just the genius but also never-before-seen aspects of Raj Kapoor’s quirky sense of humour, insights and his relationship with his crew, his association with the artistes spanning over three generations, and more importantly, what it took for Raj Kapoor to be an exceptional filmmaker of human emotions, virtues of music and the art of visual storytelling.
Rawail was so close to Raj Kapoor that he says that even while he had some free time while he was making ‘Betaab’, he would go and be with Raj Kapoor on his sets. “I had joined Rajji when he started work on ‘Mera Naam Joker’ and I must say that his influence on me rubbed off a lot on how I made my first four films at least–‘Love Story’, ‘Betaab’, ‘Arjun’ and ‘Dacait'”.
Which film of Raj Kapoor does Rawail rate as his best? “That’s a very difficult question to answer. Every work of Rajji was a masterpiece, but since you insist on me to earmark one, my answer is ‘Bobby’. That film was a genre which was not usual for Rajji, yet he handled it so beautifully”.