By Hindustan Times
It was a Kodak moment for Bollywood’s first family. Raj Kapoor (RK) was being conferred the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. But just as his name was announced, he was felled by an asthmatic attack and collapsed in his chair.
For a minute, there was shocked silence and then the auditorium reverberated with the sound of applause as President Venkatraman walked down to present the award to RK who was gasping for breath. Soon after, he was rushed to Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences from where ‘critical’ bulletins emerged with grave frequency, lending credence to the belief that maybe the 63-year-old Joker wouldn’t be back for his last laugh.
Barely out of college, I’d seen the legendary actor-filmmaker only in movies, but during that month-long vigil I got to know the man from reminisces of colleagues. And on June 2, 1988, when the curtain came down, the tears were for real as I worked on a collector’s