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Rishi Kapoor as Sharmaji (Screengrab from the trailer)This is a special, if emotional week for the Kapoors. Rishi Kapoor, who was claimed by cancer in 2020, will be seen on screen one last time – his final film, Sharmaji Namkeen, streams tomorrow. Mr Kapoor left the film incomplete when he died and his son Ranbir, who has taken on promotion duties in place of his father, told NDTV that when Rishi Kapoor’s first reaction after being diagnosed with cancer was of concern for Sharmaji Namkeen. “I can’t leave this film,” he responded when he was told of plans for treatment in USA.Speaking to NDTV, Ranbir Kapoor said, “Sharmaji Namkeen defines the tough period of my father’s life. He started a film, he did a blood report and we got to know that he could have Leukemia and we had to rush him to America. A family friend and I went to Delhi to break this news to my father and take him to America to start his treatment.”Rishi Kapoor’s response, as revealed to NDTV by Ranbir: “His first reaction was ‘what about Sharmaji Namkeen,’ a film that he had started. He said, ‘I can’t leave this film, everyone is waiting for me here.’ We spoke to the producers at that time and convinced them and we left the very next day for America. Through the one year treatment in America all he did was speak of this movie.”Rishi Kapoor died in April 2020 at the age of 67, leaving Sharmaji Namkeen unfinished. The makers considered having Ranbir film the remaining scenes wearing prosthetics – this was tried and abandoned. Then, actor Paresh Rawal stepped in and Sharmaji Namkeen was completed with two different actors playing Sharmaji, a retired widower who takes up cooking.The film has mixed scenes from start to end with both actors playing the same character. Ritesh Sidhwani, producer of Sharmaji Namkeen, told NDTV, “One thing that was clear in our minds was that we are going to complete this film. We waited for six to eight months, thinking of what to do, Ranbir was a part of the process. We were thinking of prosthetics and Ranbir shooting for us with prosthetics but that was also not a possibility. Then the next option was to cast someone else, it’s been done but not in Hindi cinema. Then the option was to cast a really good actor. It’s not that Rishi Kapoor is in the first half and Paresh Rawal is in the second half., their scenes are mixed through the film, and you will see that they just become one.”Ranbir also shared how Rishi Kapoor made the character of Sharmaji his own by giving all he could to Sharmaji Namkeen. “Even at this age, he wanted to get the character right. Sharmaji is a very good cook, so my dad understood how to cut vegetables. Even the society this character comes from he just wanted to fit in.” Sharmaji Namkeen drops on Amazon Prime Video on March 31. It co-stars Juhi Chawla – Rishi Kapoor’s heroine in films like Bol Radha Bol – Suhail Nayyar and Taaruk Raina as Sharmaji’s sons, Isha Talwar, Sheeba Chaddha, Parmeet Sethi and Satish Kaushik.

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