Happy Birthday: Shashi Kapoor's journey from commercial to parallel cinema

Happy Birthday: Shashi Kapoor's journey from commercial to parallel cinema news
Mansoor Khan By Mansoor Khan | 18 Mar 2014 12:13:46.8270000 IST

Dashing, flamboyant and debonair are few of the adjectives that go well to define actor-filmmaker Shashi Kapoor, who turns 76 on March 18, 2014. Glamsham.Com wishes him birthday greetings and prays for his good health and takes readers down memory lane into his journey to parallel cinema.

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Shashi Kapoor has been associated with commercial cinema and he candidly acknowledges too that it is because of commercial cinema that he has been able to win name and fame, yet deep within his heart he was a desperate soul when he acted in those movies in the late 70s.

He was unhappy with the kind of films he was doing and wished to make movies of substance. While Shashi Kapoor was in dilemma, it was his wife Jennifer Kendall who gave him confidence and the two decided to start their film company Film-Valas, the idea of which was inspired from Shashi Kapoor's father-in-law Geoffrey Kendal production house Shakespeare Wallah.

In an interview Shashi Kapoor said, ''While I was busy doing all kinds of commercial cinema from A-grade to typical C-grade action thrillers like PHAANSI, SALAAKHEN, SHANKAR DADA etc. my wife Jennifer noticed my angst for quality cinema hence she recommended me to start a film company where I could make movies of my taste that how the idea of JUNOON took shape.''

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He continues, ''Before starting Film Valas I was inspired by Ismail Merchant (of Merchant-Ivory Productions) and had even set up Vidushak Arts, where I experimented with short arty movies with filmmaker Shyam Benegal. Hence, when the idea of JUNOON germinated, my first choice as director was Shyam Benegal and he really lived up to my expectation.''

JUNOON was released in 1979 and won many awards. Interestingly, the movie won both the prestigious 'Best Film' National Film Award and Filmfare Award too, a rare distinction seen in Indian cinema!!!

Shyam Benegal also won Filmfare Best director award. The movie was made on a shoe-string budget of Rs 34 Lakh and did modest business at the box-office thus open flood gates for many more movies like KALYUG, 36 CHOWRINGHEE LANE, VIJETA, UTSAV and AJOOBA.