Ravi Kapoor started his stint in Bollywood in the late 1950s when filmmaker V. Shantaram gave him a chance as Sandhya's double in Navrang (1959). When he forayed into acting, he altered his name to Jeetendra. His first major role was in Shantaram’s Geet Gaya Pattharon Ne (1964). Thereby began his romance with Bollywood that resulted in over 200 films.
Jeetendra hogged the limelight in 1967 with Ravikant Nagaich's Farz, which became a golden jubilee hit. In this film, he donned a tee shirt and white shoes bought from a retail store for the song Mast Baharon Ka Main Aashiq (vocal: Mohammed Rafi) turned into his personal style statement. His energetic dancing in films like Farz, Humjoli (1970), and Caravan (1971) conferred upon him the soubriquet of ‘Jumping Jack’. His films like Justice Chaudhry (1982), Mawaali (1983), Himmatwala (1983), and Tohfa (1984) were berated by critics but rarely failed to rake in the moolah at the box office.
He has repeatedly costarred with the biggest heroines of his time -- Rekha (24 films), Hema Malini (12 films), Sridevi (14 films) and Jaya Prada (21 films).
In the 1980s, Bollywood sensations Sridevi and Jayapradha wereoften paired opposite him in remakes of South Indian potboilers by K. Bapayya and K. Raghavendra Rao. Many of these films were produced by Padmalaya Productions. Some typical aspects of these films involved elaborate dance sequences with garish backdrops, innumerable extras, electronic music by Bappi Lahiri, and lyrics by Indeewar that were replete with double entendres.
He formed a hit pair with Rekha and delivered several successful films in the ‘80s. Jeetendra was a hugely popular hero of his times.
The acting, fighting, singing, dancing Hindi film hero is the sum of many parts. Jeetendra may not have won the critics, but he managed to be a producers' pet for 25 years thanks to his indisputable commercial appeal. In 2002, the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award was bequeathed to him.
Jeetendra has done nearly 200 films as hero, a feat matched by just a handful of his peers since the inception of Hindi cinema.