Veteran actor-producer Shashi Kapoor died at the age of 79. He has been keeping unwell for some time. Sashi Kapoor was admitted to Kokilaben Hospital, Mumbai, where he breathed his last. This is the right time to visit this great man’s life.
They say words always fail to express that which is pure, profound and prolific. Author Aseem Chhabra proves this wrong with his biography of the enigmatic Kapoor of Hindi cinema, an international star, the pioneer of ‘different’ or ‘contemporary’ cinema in India – Shashi Kapoor. Shashi Kapoor: The Householder, the Star, is the book that was eager to write itself and tell a story the world should have read long back.
Aseem manages that rare feat that defines any biography – he transports you into the world of the subject, in this case Shashi Kapoor. You live Shashi’s life as you read – his youthful struggling days, his love with theatre, super stardom in Hindi films, critical and commercial acclaim in the West and Hollywood, spearheading ‘parallel’ cinema with his productions (Utsav, Vijeyta, Kalyug, 36 Chowrangee Lane, Junoon), his romance with Jennifer Kendal, his breakdowns, the highs and lows.
I call Shashi Kapoor: The Householder, the Star a time traveling machine – one that makes you traverse the tough lanes of Shashi’s constant craving for quality, yet his dedication towards commercial Hindi cinema with no sign of disrespect. And it also brings you up and close to the person whom everyone loved, for his humility and down-to-earth approach despite being a super start, and in the center of limelight.
The foreword by Karan Johar sets the tone of the book, and sways it in the right direction. And you are no more a reader, but Shashi’s companion, with composed and compassionate hand-holding by Aseem Chhabra. The biography looks at every dimension of this man called Shashi Kapoor – his family life, his children, his tryst with Hindi films and following stardom, his famous association with Merchant Ivory Productions, his art house cinema company Film Wallahs, and his encounters with international film makers and global films, playing lead roles even despite being severely over weight and emotionally exhausted. I don’t want to reveal anything here – go read the book.
This is a biography that may lead to a teary-eyed finish. When the subject of your matter is an epitome of ‘humility’ and ‘genuine goodness’, his story is bound to be one. Than You Aseem for sharing Shashi Kapoor with the world. Today I met Shashi Kapoor.