Epitome of Charm

Born in 1938, Shashi Kapoor, surpassed his brothers in the sheer variety of acting by bringing his infectious charm to all of the roles.

Epitome of Charm

mumbai: The youngest of the famous Kapoor brothers of Bollywood, he did not have their one defining and enduring cinematic image – Raj's simple, honest 'tramp' in the Charlie Chaplin tradition or Shammi's Elvis-like jiving, rebellious 'playboy' persona.

Shashi Kapoor, however, surpassed both in sheer variety of acting. Be it romantic heroes, 'common man' roles, decadent princes, aging poets and even angels, he brought the same charm and intensity to all of them.
Though among his first appearances onscreen were as a young Raj Kapoor in his elder borther's directorial debut Aag and the more acclaimed Awara, his first lead role was a Hindu fanatic in Yash Chopra's bold Dharmputra (1961).

This happened to be one-off as Shashi, with his copybook good looks, rakish smile, infectious charm, toothy grin and languid drawl, was more suitable as a lover-boy who always got the girl. In this avatar, he once even pipped Amitabh Bachchan – in Kabhie Kabhie.
He was also famous as a reasonable foil to the smoldering angry man in a number of films and it was in one of these roles where he once spoke the four most iconic and immortal words in Bollywood's history – "Mere paas Ma hai" in Deewar.
Born on March 18, 1938 in the then Calcutta to Prithviraj Kapoor and Ramsarn 'Rama' Devi, Balbir Raj 'Shashi' Kapoor not only straddled commercial and 'art' cinema, but also became India's first international star, starring in several acclaimed Ivory-Merchant films among others.
In these, he was not only cast in predictable roles – a decadent nawab ("Heat and Dust"), a prince-turned-ascetic ("Siddhartha") or a devious local notable (in The Deceivers, opposite Pierce Brosnan) – but also in more realistic, nuanced ones – a lower middle-class teacher ("The Householder"), a flamboyant Bollywood star (Bombay Talkies), a narrator to Mohammad Ali Jinnah's life (Jinnah) and a poet in the twilight of life and reputation ("Muhafiz"/ "In Custody").
But Shashi Kapoor, for all his international prowess, was also a major player in Bollywood with appearances in 148 films between 1945 and 1998, in which he was the sole hero in 61 and a lead hero in 53 multi starrers, supporting actor in 21, did 7 guest appearances and did four roles as a child artist (including the two RK films).
His contribution was recognised with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement award in 2010 and the highest accolade – the Dadasahab Phalke Award in 2015.

A star definitely, he was above all he was an eminently likeable star as all his contemporaries and co-stars attest willingly. And that is ultimately what's important.



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