Early Life of Shashi Kapoor
A descendant of the Kapoor family, Shashi Kapoor was born on 18th March 1938 as Balbir Raj Kapoor in Kolkata in colonial era. He was the youngest son of Prithviraj Kapoor and brother to Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor. He studied in Don Bosco High School in Matunga, Mumbai. He grew up travelling around the country with his father's acting trope "Prithvi Theatres" from 1940-59. He began appearing on stage at the age of four. As a child, he appeared in four films from 1948-53 which includes two films of his eldest brother Raj Kapoor as the hero.
Shashi Kapoor acted in plays directed and produced by his father Prithviraj Kapoor. He started acting in films as a child in the late 1940s under the name of Shashiraj. His best-known performances as child actor were in ‘Aag’ (1948) and ‘Awaara’ (1951), where he played the younger version of the characters played by his older brother Raj Kapoor where he played the younger version of Ashok Kumar.
Film Career of Shashi Kapoor
Shashi Kapoor began his career as a child artist with films like ‘Bhakta Dhruva’ (1947) and ‘Muraliwala’ (1951). Shashi Kapoor made his debut in his brother’s film ‘Aag’. He made a big shift to English language films produced by the Ismail Merchant-James Ivory duo, starting with ‘The Householder’ (1963). In 1971, ‘Sharmilee’ ‘Aa Gale Lag Jaa’ (1973) and ‘Chor Machaye Shor’ (1974) were released along with ‘Deewaar’. His innate charm and dashing looks completely bowled over the masses and classes alike. Shashi Kapoor delivered his performances with utmost ease.
He has starred in many blockbuster movies like, ‘Waqt’ (1965), ‘Jab Jab Phool Khile’ (1965), ‘Kanyadan’ (1969), ‘Haseena Maan Jayegi’ (1968), ‘Aa Gale Lag Jaa’ (1973), ‘Roti Kapda Aur Makan’ (1974), ‘Fakira’ (1976), ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978), ‘Kaala Patthar’ (1979) and ‘Kranti’ (1981). Rakhee, Mumtaz, Hema Malini, Rekha, Parveen Babi, Neetu Singh, Sharmila Tagore and Zeenat Aman are some of the leading ladies with whom Shashi Kapoor shared the screen. Shashi Kapoor made a magnificent pair with Amitabh Bachchan. Together they starred in films like ‘Deewar’, ‘Do Aur Do Paanch’, ‘Silsila’, ‘Trishul’, ‘Shaan’, ‘Kabhi Kabhi’, ‘Namak Halaal’ and ‘Suhaag’.
He was also a regular face in the Yash Chopra movies. In fact it was Yash Chopra's ‘Deewar’ (1975) that fetched him Best Supporting Actor Award at the Filmfare Awards. Shashi Kapoor got the opportunity to work with Shyam Benegal time and again. Bollywood actor's love for the stage is unprecedented. It is his association with theatre that had also helped him to deliver some of the finest performances in his career. He was the main driving force behind the resurrection of the Prithvi Theatre after Prithviraj Kapoor fell ill. Both he and his wife Jennifer Kapoor helped Prithvi theatres to thrive.
He was also well-known internationally for starring in British and American films, particularly Merchant Ivory productions run by Ismail Merchant and James Ivory, such as ‘The Householder’ (1963), ‘Shakespeare Wallah’ (1965) ‘Bombay Talkie’ (1970) and ‘Heat and Dust’ (1982), ‘The Deceivers’ (1988) and ‘Side Streets’ (1998). He also starred in other British and American films such as ‘Pretty Polly’ ("A Matter of Innocence" (1967)) opposite Hayley Mills, ‘Siddhartha’ (1972), ‘Sammy and Rosie Get Laid’ (1987), and ‘Muhafiz’ (1994). He was personally regarded for his best performances as solo lead hero in Hindi films like ‘Neend Hamari Khwab Tumhare’ , ‘Pyar Ka Mausam’, ‘Raja Saab’ (1969),’ Jaanwar Aur Insaan’, ‘Mr.Romeo’, ‘Aa Gale Lag Jaa’, ‘Chori Mera Kaam’, ‘Phaansi’, ‘Kalyug’ , ‘Pighalta Aasman’.
Production House of Shashi Kapoor
In 1978, he set up his production house. He has set up his own production house ‘Film Valas’ and produced movies like ‘Kalyug’ (1981), ‘36 Chowringhee Lane’ (1981) and ‘Utsav’ (1984). He is also credited with directing a fantasy movie 'Ajooba' starring Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor.
Awards and Honours of Shashi Kapoor
Shashi Kapoor won several awards throughout his film career which are as follows:
National Film Awards:
1986 - National Film Award for Best Actor for New Delhi Times.
1994 - National Film Award - Special Jury Award / Special Mention (Feature Film) for Muhafiz (1993).
1979 - National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi (as producer) for Junoon.
1975 - Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for Deewar.
1980 - Filmfare Award for Best Movie for Junoon.
1982 - Filmfare Award for Best Movie for Kalyug.
2010 - Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award.
2011 - Padma Bhushan by the Government of India
2015- He was awarded Dada Saheb Phalke Award for his achievement in Indian films.
2009 - Lifetime Achievement Award at the 7th Pune International Film Festival
2009 - Lifetime Achievement Award at the 11th Mumbai Film Festival.
2011 – Mohammed Rafi Award.
Sashi Kapoor was honoured by Walk of the Stars as his hand print was preserved for posterity at Bandra Bandstand in Mumbai in November 2013.
Filmography of Shashi Kapoor
Shashi Kapoor’s own screen career started as a child actor in the 1940s and 50s. Following is the filmography of Shashi Kapoor:
Personal Life of Shashi Kapoor
Shashi Kapoor married Jennifer Kendal who died in 1984 because of cancer. His eldest son Kunal Kapoor is married to director Ramesh Sippy's daughter. His daughter Sanjana Kapoor, is a theatre personality and married to wildlife conservationist Valmik Thapar. Shashi's younger son Karan Kapoor became successful in modelling and later settled down in London. He is an accomplished photographer.
Death of Shashi Kapoor
Shashi Kapoor was admitted at the Kokilaben Hospital, Versova, Mumbai, on December 4, 2017, for chest infection. He reportedly died due to liver cirrhosis at the age of 79 at 5.20 pm.
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