Noah Cowan, Artistic Director of TIFF Bell Lightbox, and Sabbas Joseph, Director, Wizcraft along with members of the Kapoor family came together to pay tribute to the life and work of Indian actor, director, mogul and legend Raj Kapoor, as presented in partnership by TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival), the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA), and the Government of Ontario.
Hosted by acclaimed Padma Shri Award-winning Indian actor Anupam Kher, who is also a close personal friend of the Kapoor family, the tribute event takes place on Sunday, June 26 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, following IIFA’s 12th annual celebration and awards ceremony in the city on Saturday. The evening featured a large-scale public red carpet with members of the family who are carrying on the Kapoor tradition of brilliant artistry and super stardom in attendance. Among those in attendance were Krishna Kapoor, Raj’s widow, and his three sons Randhir, Rishi, along with his wife, actress Neetu Kapoor, Rajiv Kapoor, and daughters Ritu Nanda and Rima Jain. Other Indian film luminaries in attendance included Deepa Mehta, Asha Bhosle, Zeenat Aman, Javed Jafri, Ramesh Sippy, J. P Dutta and Manmohan Shetty, among others. The tribute kicked off TIFF’s retrospective film series, Raj Kapoor and the Golden Age of Indian Cinema, which launches on Friday 1st July and will run until 7th August. The series includes a number of new 35mm film prints struck especially for the occasion, which will tour to international locations to be announced at a later date. Speaking on his father’s works and their global reach, Randhir Kapoor said, “We are thankful and appreciate TIFF and IIFA’s desire to host this retrospective. I have always believed that good cinema always prevails and lives forever.”
“We’re honoured to be presenting a tribute to the legacy of the legendary Raj Kapoor and the extraordinary moment in cinema that he was instrumental in creating. His influence as an actor and director continues to this day and this tribute and retrospective will increase awareness in North America of his importance within global film culture. And, of course, it’s unbelievably exciting to be welcoming several members of the Kapoor family, a multi-generation dynasty of Bollywood royalty, into our home at TIFF Bell Lightbox,” said Cowan. “The government and the people of Ontario have welcomed IIFA and Indian cinema to North America. The Raj Kapoor Crescent naming and the tribute festival to the world’s legendary film maker Raj Kapoor are a perfect legacy. Of importance is the forging of ties and a partnership between IIFA and TIFF, one that holds considerable promise to provide impetus to global film culture. We look forward to celebrating Raj Kapoor and The Golden Age of Cinema and sharing with the world the influence of his work on the cinema of his time and on film makers thereafter”, said Wiz Sabbas Joseph, Director of IIFA and Wizcraft International Entertainment.
Speaking about the tribute and retrospective, Michael Chan, Ontario Minister of Tourism and Culture, said, “Our government is delighted to see the inclusion of the retrospective on the work of Raj Kapoor which is unprecedented in Canada and an excellent extension of the IIFA Weekend. We’re excited that the IIFA Awards are here for the first time in North America and welcome the many visitors to Toronto who now have even more reason to extend their stay.”
The retrospective will feature Raj Kapoor classics including Aag, Barsaat, Awaara, Boot Polish, Shree 420, Jagte Raho, Jis Des Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Sangam, Mera Naam Joker, Kal Aaj Aur Kal, Bobby and Satyam Shivam Sundaram. Several pieces of memorabilia from Raj Kapoor films including costumes, release-era programme books and props used during the films will be displayed in the TIFF Bell Lightbox atrium, along with an exciting installation from acclaimed artist and filmmaker Srinivas Krishna. A series of paintings inspired by Kapoor films by Goan artist Seema Sardesai will also be showcased throughout the building.