No true Bollywood fan can forget the Bollywood classic of “Mughal-e-Azam” and the ionic character of Emperor Akbar. The craft of Actor Prithviraj Kapoor made a lasting impact on the audiences. His imposing personality with an impactful screen presence made his role one of the most amazing characters in Bollywood ever. Prithviraj Kapoor began his career with theatre and he was very selective in the choice of his roles.
Prithviraj Kapoor was an Indian Actor, producer, writer, film director, and theatre artist. He was born on August 3, 1906, at Samundri of Punjab District in India. He was one of the significant founding members of the successful Hindi Film Industry that we see today. He established his theatre company with the name of Prithvi theatres in 1944 in Mumbai. Prithviraj Kapoor has been a patriarch of the Kapoor Family whose four generations have made significant contributions to Bollywood.
The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan in 1969. In 1971, he was felicitated with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for his contributions to the Hindi Film Industry. His father Basheshwarnath Kapoor was a police officer in the Indian Imperial Police of Peshawar.
The debut film of Prithviraj Kapoor as an extra was Be Dhari Talwar. While he played his first lead role in the film Cinema Girl (1929). Prithviraj Kapoor featured in 9 silent films including Cinema Girl, Sher-e-Arab, and Prince Vijaykumar.
The Mughal-e-Azam actor also worked in Alam Ara, which was the first talkie film of India. His role of Alexander in Sohrab Modi’s film Sikander is considered his best performance. Interestingly, he also worked in the English theatre company of Grant Anderson Theater Company.
His list of films include Draupadi (1931), Rajrani Meera (1933), Daku Mansoor (1934), Seeta (1934), Manzil (1936), Milap (1937), President (1937), Vidyapati (1937), Dushman (1939), Chingari (1940), Sajani (1940), Raj Nartaki (1941), Sikandar (1941), Ek Raat (1942), Mughal-e-Azam (1960), Harishchandra Taramati (1963), Rustom Sohrab (1963), Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya (1963), Gazal (1964), Jahan Ara (1964), Zindagi (1964), Janwar (1965), Sikandar-e-Azam (1965), Khakaan (1965)
Love And Murder (1966) etc.
Prithviraj Kapoor gained recognition over the years as a versatile actor with a dominant screen presence in stage plays as well as films. As a founder of the iconic Prithvi Theatres, he managed to create one of the best theatre groups in the country. Later, his sons including Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor had also worked in it for some time and looked after it. Many fine actors who made their way into the film industry began their acting journey in Prithvi theatres.
Prithviraj Kapoor married Ramsarni Mehra at the age of 17. It was an arranged marriage that was harmonious and lasted all their lives. His eldest son Raj Kapoor who went on to become a great actor known as ‘Showman’ of Bollywood was born in December 1924. His other children include actors Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor. (Both were famous and successful actors). He also had a daughter named Urmila Sial. Prithviraj and Ramsarni had cancer. They died about a fortnight apart.