24 July, 2021

Bollywood’s Own Shakespeare wallah

How I came to know Shashi and made New Delhi Times

Shashi Kapoor (1938-2017)
Bollywood’s Own Shakespeare wallah

Shashi Kapoor’s artistic lineage was impeccable. His father Prithiviraj  Kapoor, although a consummate film actor, was a doyen of Indian theatre. His brothers Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor were both major film stars. Raj was even called a movie mogul for the big-budget films he made. From his wife Jennifer Kendal’s family tree, he consumed the best of English theatre. Geoffrey Kendal, his daughters and their troupe travelled all across India staging Shakespeare dramas in public schools and the palaces of Maharajas. Shashi had become part of this traveling troubadour and it was here that he met his love and wife Jennifer. This also gave him a passionate commitment to theatre.

His drop-dead handsome looks gave him an easy entry into commercial Hindi cinema. And young Shashi, now with a family to look after, milked this advantage to the point that Raj Kapoor once called him a “taxi”, as he was committed to filming multiple films a day! But it was obvious to all those who knew him well that while he loved acting in commercial Hindi cinema, his true...

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