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‘Standing Elegantly Without A Care In The World’: In Memory Of Shashi Kapoor

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If there’s one thing late actor Shashi Kapoor would be known for, apart from his acting of course, that would be his interesting choice of films, an unusual repertoire for someone belonging to the famous Kapoor khandaan. When the news of his death broke on Monday evening, most likened him to the ‘Adonis of old Bollywood’ films. With his handsome, chocolate boy looks, his charming way of delivering dialogues, and his films, Shashi Kapoor’s death has had publications from all around the world writing rich tributes. Popular figures and former co-stars have nothing but fond memories of him.

A Padma Bhushan and a Dadasaheb Phalke Awardee, Shashi Kapoor was the youngest son of late Prithviraj Kapoor and brother of late Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor. He is survived by his three children Karan Kapoor, Kunal Kapoor, and Sanjana Kapoor. He and his wife Jennifer Kendal, who died in 1984, also built the legendary Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai, regarded as one of the pioneering theatre space in the city.

Amitabh Bachchan, who has acted with Shashi Kapoor in several films including the praiseworthy Deewar (1975), Silsila (1981), Namak Halal (1982) to name a few.

A still from ‘Deewar’
Credits: NDTV

Taking to his blog, Bachchan wrote about how he would remember the late actor, who would often refer to him as babbua.

“Standing elegantly without a care in the world, I saw him standing by a Mercedes Sports car, a convertible, a smart trimmed beard and moustache, adorning involuntarily, the face of this incredibly handsome man.

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It was a picture that filled almost an entire page of a magazine. 

Shashi Kapoor …  son of Prithviraj Kapoor, younger brother to Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor, making a debut in a forthcoming film, is what the caption read ..

And I said to myself, as very uncertain thoughts raced through my mind of wanting to become a film actor, that, with men like him around, I stood no chance at all ..”

Shashi Kapoor’s biographer, Aseem Chhabra, talks of the actor’s stardom and how he rose with each film he chose, paving way for actors to explore a mixed form of cinema – the commercial and the offbeat kinds. The tribute also includes Kapoor’s most famous dialogue from Deewar – “Mere paas maa hain”.

“Even when he was supporting Amitabh Bachchan in Yash Chopra’s films and so many more productions (the two friends acted in 14 films together), Shashi was the dependable supporting actor who gave his heart and soul to every film.

And he was okay playing a second fiddle to Bachchan while at times even shining brighter than the actor who was taller and four younger to him.

Shashi’s ‘Mere paas maa hai’ dialogue is a good case in point.

Fans of Bachchan would like to believe that his bank balance and buildings monologue was the greatest moment in Deewaar. But the fact is that Bachchan’s dialogue would not have carried the weight if Shashi’s had not deliver those four iconic words that Javed Akhtar and Salim Khan wrote after a lot of thinking.”

Read the full tribute here.

Bengali actress and dancer Mamata Shankar spoke to The Times of India of how she remembers Shashi Kapoor, the young, charming man who turned up at her wedding in the dead of the night, and who also whisked her away to Siliguri to attend a starry night.

Credits: YouTube

“Even in the dead of the night when he entered our para, there was a big commotion. He was a star and people rushed to see him. At that time, we had our ‘bashor ceremony‘ on. But accompanied by Shabana Azmi, he came down to bless us. I remember, my cousin quickly trying to get hold of the jewellery and get me decked up a little so that he wouldn’t feel that I was so badly turned out at my wedding!”

Filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who directed Kapoor in the 1979 award winning film Junoon, in an older interview with The Quint, always felt the actor always had the aesthetics of theatre in him, even if he did numerous films in his career.

Credits: The Indian Express

“Before he became his hugely successful film star, what he had etched in his mind and heart were the aesthetics of theatre. After all, ever since he was in his crib, he had grown up to see drama all around him. Geoffrey Kendal, who was a British producer, brought his troupe to India to perform Shakespearean plays in different parts of the country. Just when Shashi was halfway through his college, he became a part of his troupe and that came to him only as a natural response because he was so passionate about theatre right from his very childhood.”

International publications, too, have written an obituary for the actor. The BBC writes about how his film Deewar became a pop culture figure, appearing in coffee mugs and bags.

The Guardian pays tribute to the actor with clips from his films along with information about his career and the family he hails from.

CNN, in their tribute to Kapoor, writes of how he was devastated after the death of his wife, Jennifer, and his iconic dialogue from Deewar.

The New York Times chronicles Kapoor’s British and American films in their tribute. He appeared in film such as The Deceivers (1988), a thriller in which he acted alongside Pierce Brosnan, and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987), a comic drama directed by Stephen Frears whose cast included Claire Bloom.

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The funeral of the actor will take place this morning.

 

Feature Image Credits: The Kathmandu Post

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