“I’ve worked with more new girls than my uncle Shammi Kapoor,” Rishi once observed, and he wasn’t wrong. Except for the fact that Shammi’s heroines from Asha Parekh in Dil Deke Dekho to Sharmila Tagore in Kashmir Ki Kali to Saira Banu in Junglee went on to become big stars. Bizarrely, none of the debutantes that Rishi introduced to the screen had a durable career.
1. Dimple Kapadia in Bobby: Technically Rishi Kapoor’s first heroine was Simi Garewal in Mera Naam Joker. Dimple was his first romantic lead in Bobby. She quit and returned 13 years later.
2. Naseem in Kabhi Kabhie: Though his steady co-star Neetu Singh partnered Rishi through all the romantic songs , a debutante named Naseem who played Amitabh Bachchan’s daughter was Rishi’s other co-star She was never seen after this film.
3. Kajal Kirron in Hum Kissi Se Kam Nahin: She was introduced with much fanfare by filmmaker Nasir Husain as the new sensation in town. She was styled in the best clothes, given the best song and paired with Rishi Kapoor. But nothing happened to her career.
4. Shoma Anand in Barood: Pramod Chakravarty was determined to make his discovery a star. So he signed the biggest romantic hero after Rajesh Khanna opposite Shoma and launched her in Barood. It fizzled out. Shoma was re-launched by her godfather in Patita. But nothing worked. She moved to television
5. Zeba Bhaktiar in Henna: Like Dimple in Bobby,Raj Kapoor made Henna to highlight the female protagonist’s role. Rishi was secondary. After a dream launch Zeba simply vanished into her home country Pakistan.
6. Divya Bharti in Deewana: She hit the hot spot, the first Rishi Kapoor heroine to do so. But her stardom was shortlived as she died suddenly. And besides, Deewana also had Shah Rukh Khan to give Divya company.
7. Jaya Prada in Sargam: Not quite a debutant , Jaya had already done films in the South. Her Hindi debut with Rishi was a smash hit. But somehow Jaya’s career in Hindi cinema always remained eclipsed by Sridevi.
Image source: SpotboyE archive/IMDb
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