I met Mrs Krishna Raj Kapoor only once, and that too briefly. But her grace, dignity and warmth left a lasting impression on me.
Mrs Raj Kapoor was by far the most awe-inspiring star-wife in the Indian entertainment industry. In fact to even refer to her as a star-wife, or worse, Mrs Raj Kapoor is an insult to a woman who was the true power behind the RK throne.
Mrs Krishna Raj Kapoor had seen it all: she was witness to all the great Raj Kapoor movies that he created and she was the first ally and collaborator he consulted every time any new idea propped up in his restless head.
It is believed by many who knew this remarkable lady closely that she allowed her showman husband to take her for granted. If we look at the passionate affairs that Raj Kapoor had right under his wife’s aquiline nose, then yes, she could be seen to be passive and docile.
But a family friend who knew the couple very closely says there was a valid reason for Mrs Raj Kapoor’s silent acquiescence.
“The children,” explains the friend. “Krishna Bhabhi bore with Raj Saab’s passion for Nargisji because she did not want her children Randhir, Reema, Ritu, Rishi and Rajeev to suffer the consequences of a broken marriage,” says the friend.
“Krishnaji conducted herself with immense dignity with Nargisji whenever they ran into each other. No, they were not friends. But being the wife, Krishnaji never allowed the Other Woman to feel unwanted,” the friend said.
“However when Raj Saab ignited a similar passion for Vyjanthimala, Krishanji put her foot down and simply walked out with the children until her husband apologized and came back,” recalls the friend.
Dignity under duress was Mrs Krishna Raj Kapoor’s mantra to survive. She was Raj Kapoor’s ultimate Lady In White. The filmmaker made all his heroines dress in his wife’s favourite colour.
As she grew older after her husband’s death Krishnaji continued to cook her sumptuous Sunday meal for all her children and grandchildren. For her, the children were her world.
By Subhash K Jha