The actor Raj Kiran, who can immediately be recalled as the one who played Rishi Kapoor’s pre-incarnation in Subhash Ghai’s ‘Karz’ was at the peak of his career in 1970s and 80s. He went missing for almost a decade and then later was also assumed dead by many in the industry.
However his co-star Rishi Kapoor refused to accept his death rumours. Rishi still had hope that he would come back someday and launched a search for his missing friend. On his recent trip to US, Rishi Kapoor succeeded in finding Raj Kiran alive, but in a psychiatric institution in Atlanta who is fending for himself.
More than a month ago, Deepti Naval had posted on her FB wall, “Looking for a friend from the film world his name is Raj Kiran – we have no news of him – last heard he was driving a cab in NY city if anyone has any clue, please tell . . .” She was frantically searching for her friend and colleague. Now for everyone like Deepti, here is a piece of important and awakening news. For someone who is remembered as an engaging, polite and cultured actor, it was shocking that his rumoured death could gather momentum so easily. While in US, Rishi went ahead and met Raj’s elder brother, Govind Mehtani, to enquire about his whereabouts. It was then that the shocking news about Raj living in the asylum was spilled out. The missing actor has been confined to the asylum due to health problems. The actor who was so famous at some time is working at the same institution so that he can pay for his own treatment. It appears that his wife with their son abandoned him at some unknown point, the shock of which he couldn’t bear. The rest of his family too didn’t bother, seemingly because his mood swings were intolerable and then it was far too expensive for them to get him treated. He was apparently institutionalised in India before he left for the US where he now lives.
His family including his elder brother Govind and younger Ajit, are not in touch with him. When Rishi asked Govind for Raj’s phone number, the brother didn’t have it! Says Rishi, “I wanted to speak to Raj and visit him in Atlanta. But I couldn’t get his contact number. I’m definitely going to visit him and urge him to return home”. The actor, whose dazzling smile had lit up many potboilers for two decades, giving remarkable performances in films like B R Ishaara’s ‘Kaagaz Ki Nao’, ‘Ghar Ho To Aisa’ with Anil Kapoor, Meenakshi Sheshadri and Deepti Naval and ‘Kaaran’ apart from Subhash Ghai’s hit ‘Karz’. It was an unwelcomed plan by destiny. He played the supportive friend to Shabana Azmi in Mahesh Bhatt’s critically acclaimed film ‘Arth’, and made Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho a legendary song with the actress. Rishi wants to bring Raj Kiran back to Mumbai and to movies. “I want him to know we care for him. We want him back where he belongs. I’ll personally help him get roles and re-establish himself in Bollywood.”