Shashi Kapoor: The darling of arc lights

Shashi Kapoor: The darling of arc lights

A workaholic who always liked arc lights, the charming  Shashi Kapoor was known for his versatility, essaying a variety of roles. He was an actor, director, producer and a theatre-man.

Kapoor, 79, and Amitabh Bachchan have given several hits together (Deewar and Shaan). The silver screen has never seen such a pairing of two towering co-stars.
 
Born Balbir Raj Prithviraj Kapoor on March 18, 1938, in Calcutta (now Kolkata), Shashi Kapoor had acting running in his blood. His father Prithviraj Kapoor and brothers Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor were actors with unparalleled skills.
 
A member of the celebrated  Kapoor clan and a recipient of the coveted Dadasaheb Phalke award, Shashi Kapoor was one of the most gifted actors of Indian cinema. He made his debut as the leading man in the 1961 film Dharmputra and went on to appear in 116 Hindi films as the lead protagonist, including 63 films as a solo lead and 53 multi-star films, as well as 22 films as supporting actor and five special appearances.
 
In the early 1940s, he appeared in several mythological films and commercial films including Meena (1944), Tadbir, and Bachpan (1945) under the name Shashiraj. His best-known performances as child artiste were in Aag (1948) and Awaara (1951) where he played the younger version of the characters played by his older brother Raj  Kapoor.
 
From the age of four, Shashi started acting in plays directed and produced by his father Prithviraj Kapoor, while travelling with Prithvi Theatres.
 
He started English-language films in 1963. The Householder and Shakespeare-Wallah were more successful. He was one of India's first actors to go international.
 
In the 1960s, Kapoor acted in several romantic films opposite Nanda, including Mohabbat Isko Kahete Hain (1965), Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965), Neend Hamari Khwab Tumhare (1966), Raja Saab (1969) and Rootha Na Karo (1970).
 
Kapoor's most popular solo hero movies include Haseena Maan Jayegi (1968) and Ek Shriman Ek Shrimati (1969) both with Babita. Kanyadan, Pyar Ka Mausam (1969) both opposite Asha Parekh, Chor Machaye Shor opposite Mumtaz and Abhinetri (1970), Aap Beati (1976), Apna Khoon, Trishul (1978), Maan Gaye Ustaad (1981), Aandhi Toofan (1985) with Hema Malini, Bezubaan with Reena Roy, Chakkar Pe Chakkar (1976), Kali Ghata, Kalyug (1981), Vijeta (1982), Pyaar Ki Jeet (1987) all with Rekha and Bepanaah (1985) with Rati Agnihotri.
 
Other solo hits include Dil Ne Pukara (1967), Naina (1973), Phaansi (1978), Salaakhen (1975), Fakira (1976), Junoon (1979) and the multi-starrer Neeyat (1980).
 
He is also known internationally for starring in many British and American films, notably Merchant Ivory productions run by Ismail Merchant and James Ivory, such as The Householder (1963), Shakespeare-Wallah   (1965, opposite his sister-in-law Felicity Kendal), Bombay Talkie (1970) and Heat and Dust (1982) in which he co-starred with his wife Jennifer Kendal, The Deceivers (1988) and Side Streets (1998).
 
Phalke glory

He is the third recipient of Dadasaheb Phalke award for the Kapoor family. In 1971, Prithviraj Kapoor received the award, while in 1987, legendary showman Raj Kapoor got the award. In 2015, Shashi  Kapoor received the award.
Kapoor clan

The Kapoor family is the numero uno family of Bollywood spreading across five generations. Many members of the family have been successful actors, directors and producers. Together they would have more than 1,000 films to their credit.

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