Grace and charm personified
The late Shashi Kapoor may have been the embodiment of romance and charm in the '70s and '80s on the silver screen, but his peers and juniors in the film fraternity remember him more for his human attributes.
Amitabh Bachchan bared his heart on his blog on Monday night, expressing his grief and loss at Deewar co-star Shashi Kapoor's death. The Shehenshah star revealed how he admired Shashi Kapoor, copied his hairstyle and behaviour, but could not bear to see him after he "let himself go after the passing away of his dear wife, Jennifer." Having worked in around 14 films, the duo also collaborated in Ajooba (1991) with Shashi directing Bachchan for the first and only time.
Others recalled his passion for cinema while paying glowing tributes to a man known for his natural charm and jolly nature. Director Shyam Bengal who worked with the late actor in Kalyug and Junoon, described him as "God's good man" and a beautiful human being. Aamir Khan paid his respects to the actor, saying he was not just a "great star and a passionate filmmaker", but also a "wonderful human being".
Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar, a close friend of the actor, mourned his death upon remembering a great human being.While Simi Garewal described him a true gentleman, Saira Banu remembered him as a "bubbly person". Veteran actor Moushumi Chatterjee described Kapoor as a gem of a person and very protective. Leading Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar recalled the late actor's classic line from Deewar and said how it inspired aspiring artists.
The actor's purple patch came in 1980 when he started his own company Film Vala, diverting some of the money he had made in Bollywood into making films with the likes of Benegal and Aparna Sen. The partnership resulted in a classic like 36 Chowringhee Lane, which saw his wife and veteran theatre actor Jennifer Kendal as an aging teacher in a changing world.
Shashi Kapoor himself acted in several of these films – he was unforgettable as the obsessive suitor in Junoon set in 1857, as the brooding husband and father in Vijeta and as the suave, conflicted Karan in Kalyug, a modern-day adaptation of the Mahabharata – which saw the actor deliver some of his most exceptional performances. He was the star with no starry tantrums, the man who remained steadfastly loyal to his wife through more than 25 years of marriage with scarcely a hint of scandal and the ultimate hero who always had a kind word for his fans.
After his wife Jennifer's death in 1984, it was as if he lost the will to live. He started packing on the pounds, and the roles started dwindling. Shashi Kapoor began fading away from the limelight. Even in his last years, he was grace and class personified.