The Internet exploded as news of the death of veteran actor Rishi Kapoor blistered on iPhones. The news moved swiftly from Amitabh Bachchan’s tweet. It was carried on waves of Whatsapp messages across oceans. Just as Californians were getting ready for bed, horror and disbelief jolted them.
Many had seen Chintu Baba, their Ryan O’Neil, in his launch movie Bobby, a teenage love story. The parents had relived the Nargis-Raj Kapoor romance; the boys had swooned over the virginal heroine in schoolgirl clothing, while the chocolate hero, with scarfs as long as his pedigree, had stolen hearts of girls. Forever, the GTS bike he rode in the movie became as iconic as the hippie Volkswagen was.
The actor struggled to grow up. His impish tweets kept him forever in Chintu mode.
“Worked very hard to get Rishi Kapoor back as my name! Parents must never nickname a child. I never did,” he tweeted.
Then Chef Floyd Cardoz immortalized the Chintu name. Bombay Canteen named a whole menu Chintu. After a culinary career spanning 27 years in New York, celebrated chef Floyd Cardoz had made his restaurant debut in Mumbai, the city of his birth, with The Bombay Canteen. Chintus, or tasting size portions were circulated as the guests waited for their tables. Here guests could order a Chintu portion of crisp, thinly sliced fried lotus stem chips seasoned with salt and amchur, or the Chintu desi devilled eggs.
Rishi was seen sampling the menu at the Canteen and at the Paowala in New York, both restaurants of great renown and belonging to Floyd Cardoz.
The Chef and he had more than one thing in common, they both loved food, and they both flitted between New York, where Rishi was undergoing cancer treatment, and Mumbai.
The Chef was on his way from Mumbai to New York when he felt uncomfortable. He checked himself into a hospital in New York. He was diagnosed with Coronavirus and died there on March 24th, 2020. He was 59.
After the news of the Chef’s death, Rishi Kapoor tweeted. “RIP. Floyd Cardoz. Will cherish the meal you made for us at your restaurant.”
A month later, on April 30th, Chintu baba aka Rishi Kapoor complained of difficulty in breathing. He passed away in Mumbai. He had returned from New York in September.
The Chintus are still being served at Bombay Canteen.
Spirited, vibrant, sweet, and delightful, Chintu you always left a sparkly taste in our mouths.