Remembering Shashi Kapoor (1938-2017)

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.

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Khullam Khula: Rishi Kapoor Uncensored – Biography review

For people, the cinema actors are larger than life. They are demigods who adorn the wall of every cinema lover. The craze of fans for stars is hysterical. Legendary actor Raj Kapoor was one star who took nation by storm with movies like Awaara, Boot Polish, Mera Naam Joker, Aag etc. The legacy started by Prithviraj Kapoor was continued by his next generation kids – Raj, Shammi and Shashi. Among the crowd of these star studded family, a small kid made his work noticed in Mera Naam Joker. Though Mera Naam Joker flopped, the kid aspired to make it big on silver screen one day.

In the 70’s a chocolate boy debuted on the silver screen with his romantic venture – Bobby. Rest was history. He was Rishi Kapoor, son of the legendary Raj Kapoor. Bobby’s success made him an overnight romantic hero and heartthrob of generation. His debut in movie was a fairy tale story, but his struggle-some journey to maintain his success in Bollywood was not a bed of roses.

Every Friday, a new movie releases and a new star is born. Rishi Kapoor’s debut movie – Bobby made him a talk of town. But his second movie ‘Zehreela Insaan’ was a disaster. Here his real journey began to sustain his image in the unpredictable Bollywood. In his official biography ‘Khullam Khula’ Rishi Kapoor recounts his early years, his rise to stardom, break up, cold vibes with Amitabh & Rajesh Khanna and his second innings as character actor in Agneepath, Kapoor and Sons, Student of the year etc.

What intrigued me to read was the prologue written by his son Ranbir Kapoor, the current heartthrob of today’s generation. In the prologue, Ranbir reveals his strained relationship with his father but still respects him as one of the great actors of the Indian cinema.

The prologue conveys a lot about Rishi Kapoor as a human, caring husband and a doting father. What makes this biography worth reading is its friendly tone that breaks the ice between the star and the reader. Here Rishi Kapoor is more of a human and less of a star who recounts his childhood days, his first movie as a toddler in Shree 420 and second movie as a teenager in Mera Naam Joker. Through this biography, we learn a lot about the legendary Raj Kapoor and his passion for cinema through the eyes of Rishi Kapoor. It is a treat to know about Raj Kapoor’s fondness for movie making and his struggle to make RK studios a leading banner in movie making. Post the success of Bobby and his fairy tale wedding with actress Neetu Singh, Rishi’s career witnessed a dark phase when his ambitious movie – Karz didn’t fare up to his expectations. He literally went into depression and was unable to face camera. It took him a plenty of time to come out of his dark phase and re-emerge as an actor. This biography is not just about Rishi Kapoor, it is also the story of his family, his co-stars, music directors, choreographers and the big movie banners that supported him through his journey. Apart from talking about his successful journey in Bollywood, he also spills the untold stories about his breakup with his girlfriend Yasmin Mehta, his cold arguments with his close buddies – Jeetendra and Rakesh Roshan. He even admits about the rejecting the negative role in Darr which eventually went to Shahrukh Khan.

A rare pic of Rishi Kapoor with his family. (The little Ranbir Kapoor looks super cute)

What left me tear eyed was the story of R.D.Burman whose music was getting unnoticed due to the entry of new generation music directors in 90’s. He once requested Rishi Kapoor to get him some work. Though R.D.Burman was financially stable, it was the idleness that was bothering him. Sadly R.D.Burman couldn’t make a second innings and died a quiet death in 90’s. What a sad phase for this legendary R.D.Burman. Rishi Kapoor was miserably written off every time a generation of actors arrived in movies. Despite the stiff competition, Rishi Kapoor survived in the race. The epilogue is written by his wife Neetu Kapoor about her journey with her husband. It is very heart touching to read that epilogue. To the world, he is a star, but for the family, he is a difficult man to handle who lives by his own terms. We knew Rishi Kapoor as a star, but now we know him personally as a human who is eccentric, outspoken and a reserved gentleman.

His second coming in Do Dooni Chaar, Agneepath, Student of the year, D-Day, Kapoor and Sons fetched him lots of praises. Among all the movies, Karz and Yeh Vaada Raha are my favorites which were based on English Novels. Karz was based on Reincarnation of Peter Proud while Yeh Vaada Raha was based on Danielle Steels’ novel – The Promise.

The biography ‘Khullam Khula’ is an honest effort by Rishi Kapoor to write down about his journey as an actor. It is really worth the read to know about the 70’s star whose legacy is been continued by his son Ranbir Kapoor.

Remembering madhubala

‘Working in Bollywood makes you famous, dying in Bollywood makes you a legend’ – movie quote

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Whenever I saw Hollywood actress Kate Winslet in magazines and movies, I noticed a very strange, uncanny resemblance to yester years actress – Madhubala. If you closely notice Kate Winslet, she had the same smile, shyness and elegance similar to madhubala. Even after several years since her death in 1971, she continues to rule the Indian cinema through her movies and performance. Even Marilyn Monroe couldn’t not match up to her beauty.

In terms of popularity, Madhubala equalled the Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe. The only thing common between Madhubala and Marilyn were their untimely deaths. Marilyn was found dead in mysterious circumstances while Madhubala died due to a prolonged illness of heart. Madhubala was just 36 years old when she passed away. Though today Bollywood is crowded by young charming actresses, but no one has able to bring that larger than life charisma like Madhubala did. Only actress Madhuri dixit was compared to Madhubala. Sadly, there is no biography movie made on life on Madhubala while Hollywood had made several movies on Marilyn.

Born on 14th February, 1933 in Delhi, Madhubala’s real name was Mumtaz dehalvi, a girl destined to rule Indian cinema and hearts of audiences, but ironically she was deprived of love in her personal life. An astrologer had predicted about madhubala that she will grow up to become a popular person in future, earning lots of fortune and fame, but will have a short life span. Despite being diagnosed with a hole in her heart, madhubala started working in movies at age of 8. Slowly with times, Madhubala got her first break in Neel  Kamal opposite Raj Kapoor. Then there was no looking back. She went on to become the leading and successful starlet in movies like Mahal, Gateway of India, Tarana, Mr and Mrs 55, Howrah bridge and the magnum opus – Mughal-e-azam. Though Bollywood gave her stardom, wealth and fame, but this beautiful actress yearned for true love and a happy life which was tragically cut short by her death due to heart disease.

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According to news articles and sources, actress Madhubala’s life and career was controlled by her over protective father who never allowed her to lead her life freely. Since she was the sole bread earner of the family, Madhubala sacrificed her emotions to upbring her family. But in the final years of life, she got married to actor and singer Kishore Kumar. Even this relationship didn’t go on a good phase. Kishore Kumar spent a fortune for treatment of her heart disease, but it got complicated since it had reached the final stage.
Madhubala passed away on 23rd February 1969 after a painful phase in her last years. According to critics, Madhubala’s enchanting beauty overshadowed her acting. She was just a eye candy for critics until she proved them wrong by delivering a mind-blowing performance as Anarkali in Mughal-e-azam. Among all the movies, Madhubala looked really beautiful in ‘barsaat ki raat’. Hope this article will be an eye opening inspiration for Bollywood filmmakers to make a biopic movie on life of Mumtaz Dehalvi whom the Bollywood knew by her name – Madhubala.