Whether paired with Amitabh Bachchan, Shabana Azmi or his wife Jennifer onscreen, the understandably secure Shashi Kapoor always made for a compelling foil in the movies
4/30/2015 2:49:14 PM
|written By : Trisha Gupta|
I think he's completely deserving of it, but Shashi Kapoor might seem an unusual choice for the Dadasaheb Phalke award. Unlike his larger-than-life father, Prithviraj, whose grand passion for theatre and cinema started the Kapoor clan off on their path to show business, and unlike his two elder brothers Raj and Shammi, both of whom - though not comparable - carved out distinct, individual niches for themselves in an unforgiving film industry, Shashi has always been the perfect foil. Never an actor who sought to have the spotlight turned solely on him, he has always been someone who gave himself wholly and freely in partnerships. And rarely, in the world as in cinema, is that quality given the applause it deserves.
One of his earliest romantic pairings, with the lovely late actress Nanda, lasted through the whole decade of the ‘60s, with seven films, starting with Char Diwari (1961) and ending with Rootha Na Karo (1970). The most successful of these, of course, was Jab Jab Phool Khilein (1965), in which he went from being a carefree Kashmiri boatman singing 'Pardesiyon se na ankhiyan milana' to being the wealthy Nanda's uncomfortably suited-booted husband, singing 'Yahan main ajnabi hoon' at the sort of piano-centred party that Hindi cinema so often used to depict the terrible un-Indian debaucheries of the rich. In an interview in the ‘90s, Shashi said Nanda was his favourite heroine. Nanda, who was by far the bigger star when they started acting together, returned the compliment. The figure of the ghuta-hua poorer man to the little rich girl of 60s cinema was one that Shashi repeated the following year, in Waqt, where he played Sharmila Tagore's educated-but-poor lover who must work as a driver to support her.