In Memory: Raj Kapoor Took Sweet Revenge From Raj Kumar

  • 17-Jul-2022

Mumbai: Raj Kapoor’s Mera Naam Joker (1970) is considered to be one of his cult classics. Mera Naam Joker was way ahead of its time in many ways, one of the reasons that could possibly be responsible for its box office failure. The film set in the backdrop of circus that visualizes everything from a joker’s perspective was perhaps to philosophical for the Hindi film audience at that time. 

However, the film released in then USSR, now Russia became a commercial success at the Soviet box office. Mera Naam Joker launched Raj Kapoor’s son late Rishi Kapoor as a child artist. Rishi played the younger version of his father’s character in the film and even bagged a national award. Manoj Kumar and Dharmendra also had their cameos in the movie.

Raj Kapoor who got Manoj Kumar and Dharmendra on board for his dream project also wanted to cast superstar Raj Kumar in a cameo. When Raj Kapoor approached Raj Kumar the latter refused to do a cameo in Mera Naam Joker. Raj Kumar reportedly told Raj Kapoor that he cannot do useless cameos like Manoj Kumar or Dharmendra as he is a bigger star. 

Raj Kapoor and Raj Kumar then got into a heated argument and the latter even went on today that he didn’t ask for work. Raj Kapoor got miffed with Raj Kumar and took sweet revenge from him by casting his duplicate for a scene.

Manoj Kumar’s casting also went through certain hurdles. Manoj Kumar played Simi Grewal’s fiancé in the film but Raj Kapoor was not sure if the actor was keen to work in Mera Naam Joker. 

Raj Kapoor once called Manoj Kumar at his office and told him he was Raj Kapoor. Manoj Kumar was surprised and out of disbelief he hung up the phone saying ‘wrong number.’ Raj Kapoor thought Manoj Kumar isn’t interested in the film. When Manoj Kumar met the filmmaker at the vent the two spoke about the phone call. Manoj Kumar explained everything to Raj Kapoor and even agreed for the cameo role. An emotional Raj Kapoor laid his head on Manoj Kumar’s lap and broke down as he felt sorry for misjudging the actor.