Actors · Swansong

Goodbye Shashi Kapoor

This is how I shall always remember Shashi Kapoor. Him riding a bike in Kala Patthar, carefree and full of life, singing:

Ik raasta hai zindagi,
Jo tham gaye to kuchh nahi,
Yeh kadam kisi muqaam pe,
Jo jam gaye to kuch nahin…

Every time I watch this song, my heart does triple somersaults. Sigh, he was… irrevocably, madly, deeply cool. And my all-time favourite forever.

How he gracefully balanced popularly ridiculous and critically acclaimed with quirky flair and made it look super easy. One of India’s first stars who crossed over to international cinema early in his career with The Householder (1963) and Shakespeare Wallah (1965).

The rare gem of an actor who didn’t really need awards to prove or establish his talent. He did win Filmfare and National Awards for his acting (Deewar, New Delhi Times) and productions (Junoon, Kalyug). Plus Lifetime Achievement (Filmfare, 2010) and Dadasaheb Phalke Award (2015).

An effortless artist who somehow did it all. Be romantic. Or flippant. Be comic. Or serious. Mass. Or Class. Theatrical. Crazy. Fun. Sing. Dance. Tease. Kiss.

Handsome as hell. Original modern chocolate hero who charmed his heroines with the flick of his hand and the crook of his tooth.


Gifted and natural. He filled the screen with his sunshine presence, goodness and warmth in all kinds of roles.

The only one who was a favourite among both heroines and heroes, pairing with them in multiple films. Amitabh Bachchan. Raakhee. Parveen Babi. Sanjeev Kumar. Shabana Azmi. Zeenat Aman. Hema Malini. Rekha. Nanda. Sharmila Tagore.

Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965), Waqt (1965), Haseena Maan Jayegi (1968), Pyar Ka Mausam (1969), Aa Gale Lag Jaa (1973), Deewaar (1975), Kabhi Kabhie (1976), Immaan Dharam (1977), Trishul (1978), Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978), Kaala Patthar (1979), Do Aur Do Paanch (1980), Baseraa (1981) and Namak Halaal (1982) were among his successful movies.

He produced many critically acclaimed films including Junoon, Utsav, 36 Chowringee Lane and Vijeta. He was the co-originator of the iconic Prithvi theatre with wife Jennifer Kendall in Juhu, Mumbai.

‘Breaker’ of many barriers and rules, both in his personal and professional life. He met, wooed and married Jennifer, the love of his life, despite opposition. It was an unconventional choice. I also believe he was a feminist with the kind of movies he produced and supported. AND he did that when standing up for women’s cause wasn’t as cool. 🙂

He said once: “My wife and I both being actors, especially on stage, we were aware that I wouldn’t get intelligent films all the time. So I went along with whatever I got. I guess that’s how a professional has to behave. I didn’t have any other job, so I was acting and thus making a living. I don’t think I did badly. I owe it to the film industry for letting me earn.”

As I bid him goodbye, all I can say is:

O jaate raahi, o baanke raahi
Meri bahon ko, in raahon ko
Tu chhod ke na ja, tu wapas aa ja. 

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