47 years ago, a young boy of 20, who had the legacy of India's first film family riding on his shoulder, wooed the audience with the words, main shayar toh nahi.
From that day to today, Rishi Kapoor continued to be the superstar with a constant smile on his face, an immeasurable zest for life, an intuitive connection with his characters, and an undeniably powerful screen presence.
Today, his loss truly feels like the end of an era - an era that saw him become a generation's heartthrob, another generation's inspiration, and a superstar whose presence--on-screen and off-screen--always appeared to be larger than life.
As a fan of his performances, and movies in general, I feel woefully ill-equipped to write about an actor who, through his characters, became my mother's long-standing crush when she was a teenager.
Whose inimitable style inspired my uncle's fashion choices as a young adult.
Whose powerful screen-presence, whether as a lovable cafe owner, a father fighting for his family's honor, or a spine-chilling villain, left me impressed, every single time.
His impressive filmography of over 150 films included movies like Bobby, Chandni, Karz, Saagar, etc. that not only went on to become blockbuster hits but also charted a new path for Indian cinema.
Every time he appeared on-screen, he managed to leave the audience a little more in love with his smile, a little more awestruck by the intensity of his performances, and of course, thoroughly impressed by his style.
His range as an actor was truly commendable and with every role, he appeared to reinvent himself. While he became famous as a romantic hero, his comic timing was no less brilliant.
It was this talent, to nail any genre, that allowed him to reach the heights of stardom despite a fair number of flops. At the peak of his career, his movies may have not won him many awards, but they won him the love and admiration of millions of fans.
He had a unique ability to never let his stardom overshadow the characters he plays. This is perhaps why, in later years, his portrayal of a struggling middle-class mathematics teacher in Do Dooni Chaar felt as natural as his portrayal of a lovable but crotchety grandfather in Kapoor & Sons.
With movies like Hum Tum, Love Aaj Kal, Mulk, SOTY, etc. he truly proved that no matter the length of the role or the character he was playing, his ability to light up the screen was unparalleled.
One could spend years trying to breakdown his performances, and still not reach an understanding of how he managed to make every character appear so relatable, with apparent ease.
Perhaps that's the gift of great artists - they charm you with their magic, but their secret lives with them, inside their heart, empowering their act and enchanting their audience.
There are many who know the actor, and the stardom that he generated, far better than I do. No doubt, they will be better able to express what his loss means to the world of cinema.
But to me, he was an actor in every sense of the word. Because despite the legacy he was gifted with, and all that he added to it, his characters remained rooted in reality.
No matter the role, the realism he infused into his performance allowed you to fall in love with his on-screen persona, every single time. While we won't get another chance to watch him in action, creating magic on-screen, the love that we have for him will never fade away.
It's the end of an era, but not the end of the memories.