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Shashi Kapoor: The Effervescent actor whose presence lit the screen

Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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As the ubiquitous yellow and black taxis are an integral part of heritage construct of Mumbai, Shashi Kapoor holds the same esteem in the Hindi cinema whose presence cannot be wished away, as he was a vital cog of the Hindi film industry who gave it an international footing much before Hindi cinema found an NRI crowd as an audience. To Shashi Kapoor goes the credit of popularizing the films with the Indian idiom between the English speaking public and not relegating its reach to the non-resident crowd.

When he celebrates his seventieth birthday today, away from the limelight, though he would have the satisfaction of having given back more than what he got from the film industry.

For a man, who had to get out of the shadow of his successful brothers, Raj Kapoor, and Shammi Kapoor, he went to the other extreme and carved a niche for himself by acting mostly in films having two or more heroes. Such had become his reputation that he along with Amitabh Bachchan became a celebrated pair and among the most successful films that Hindi cinema has ever made till date featuring two heroes films featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor would claim the major chunk. At a point of time Shashi Kapoor was acting in so many films that he was also called as " taxi"', signifying jumping from one location to another. Shashi Kapoor had an acting career that spread over a period of fifty years. The elfin charm that Shashi Kapoor exuded even when he had a fighting scene was what endured him to the public. His was a face that could never display an emotion associated with anger with the same finesse as it could with laughter, or romance or comedy.

The real phase of Shashi Kapoor started when he became a producer and produced amongst the best films of so-called genre of art films. His crowning glories included 36 CHAURANGI LANE, UTSAV, VIJETA, JUNOON, and KALYUG. Each of these films touched on the aspects, which nobody had done before, and that is precisely the reason why they are coveted as milestones. While 36 CHAURANGI LANE dealt with the dilemma of an old English lady at the fag end of her career, UTSAV brought into relief the rich cultural heritage of the country during the Gupta period, VIJETA dealt with the problems faced by the pilots of the country, JUNOON was first attempt at the revolt of 18th century, and KALYUG was a focus into the murky world of corporate world. It was his association and the romance for the films, which may have been the deciding factor for naming his production house as Filmvalas.

For a man who gave a new frontier to Hindi cinema as also introduced the Merchant-Ivory productions to the wonders of the human resources of Hindi films, it would indeed be a fitting tribute to have a retrospective of Shashi Kapoor films focusing majorly on the international films that he acted in.

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