By coincidence if you visit Kashmir and take a boat ride, don’t expect the boatman to be charming, chirping and flamboyant as Shashi Kapoor in the old classic – Jab Jab Phool Khile. Such was the ever charming Shashi Kapoor who breathed his last on 4th Dec 2017. His portrayal as the Kashmiri boatman in Jab Jab Phool Khile is etched in the minds of movie viewers. He never needed the dashing angry young man image to win the hearts of his fans. His flamboyant charm was enough to woo his audience. Amitabh’s entry as the angry young man changed the image of hero in Indian cinema. His role in Zanjeer was a game changer. Though many leading actors of his time went into oblivion, it was Shashi Kapoor who paired up with Amitabh in several movies. The toughness of Amitabh and flamboyance of Shashi Kapoor was a super hit combo in the 70’s flicks. It was Deewar that gave them the memorable roles of their career. ‘Mere paas maa hai’ was one of the epic dialogues in ‘Deewar where Shashi Kapoor stole the thunder from Amitabh. Nevertheless apart from being co-stars they were best buddies off screen.
Born in the prestigious Kapoor family, Shashi was the younger in the Kapoor trio – Raj, Shammi & Shashi. All the three brothers were successful in their own genres. If Shammi was a dancing star in Junglee, Shashi won hearts with his flamboyant & ever smiling presence in Sharmilee, Haseena Maan Jaayegi, Jab Jab Phool Khile and Waqt. In terms of acting and movie making, Shashi was way ahead of times. He teamed with Shyam Benegal to produce and act in movies like Vijeta and Junoon. Junoon was one of the ambitious works of Shashi Kapoor which was based on Ruskin Bond’s novel – The flight of pigeons. Though the movie was not a commercial success, he produced movies like ‘Utsav’ which were critically acclaimed. ‘Fakira’ was one of the movies where I thoroughly liked his performance as Robinhood styled thief.
He never stuck to ‘Super star’ or ‘Mega star’ image and that’s why he sustained in 70’s and 80’s industry which was ruled by dashing biggies like Vinod Khanna, Dharmendra, Shatrughan Sinha and the angry young man Amitabh. Shashi Kapoor later switched to character roles that suited his age. Unfortunately Rajesh Khanna was so much attached to his superstar image that he couldn’t accept the changing dynamics in the movie industry. Had Rajesh Khanna molded himself according to changing times he would have survived even in the stiff competition.
Shashi Kapoor’s pairing with actress Nanda was very successful. They were a hit pair of their time. Apart from sharing a good rapport with Amitabh, Shashi Kapoor worked with Manoj Kumar in several movies like Roti , Kapda aur Makaan, Kranti & Clerk.
Post the demise of his wife Jennifer, Shashi Kapoor devastated on personal front. In later years, his health deteriorated and he stayed away from the limelight. He made his last public appearance when he was honored with Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2011. His demise on 4th Dec 2017 marked the end of a great legacy. I was heartbroken when I saw his recent pictures on his last journey. The prolonged illness, fatigue and stress had robbed off him flamboyance. He was unrecognizable in his last journey.
‘Khilte hain gul yahaan, khil ke bhikarne ko, milte hain dil yahaan mil ke bichadne ko’ – song from Shashi Kapoor’s movie ‘Sharmilee’
Writing a tribute in someone’s remembrance is painful, emotional and heartbreaking. I always believe that if we write a tribute in someone’s memory that someday there will be someone writing a tribute in our memory.
Artists never die. They live through their works.