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Showman Shashi Kapoor’s Other Side
News india times
 
Actor Shashi Kapoor may have reached the heights of fame and glory through his decades-long stellar acting career in Bollywood films, but in essence he remains a “blend of householder and star,” according to a new biography released last week in New York by film journalist and commentator Aseem Chhabra.

The book – ‘Shashi Kapoor, The Householder, The Star’ looks at the life of Kapoor, who has who has straddled the worlds of commercial Hindi cinema, theatre and small-budget art movies with equal ease and distinctive style, primarily through his films from the 1960s till date. It concludes that Shashi Kapoor, the star was in fact, Shashi Kapoor the householder.
“He took up many Hindi potboilers purely to support his family, which eventually made him a star,” Chhabra says.
The book, which had been released in June in Mumbai, was launched in New York July 12 by the author at an event hosted by the Indo American Arts Council as well as the South Asian Journalists Association.

Chhabra, a film journalist, freelance writer and film festival programmer in New York City, says that it’s not a traditional biography with the highlights of his career as a star. “I have tried to look at his films and tried to chronicle his journey,” Chhabra, who has been a commentator on Indian cinema and popular culture on NPR, CNN, BBC, as also ABC’s Good Morning America, said in an interview.

The book offers glimpses of Kapoor, the ‘family man son’ of Prithviraj Kapoor, husband of Jennifer Kendal, and father to Kunal, Karan and Sanjna. The 216-page book brought out by Rupa Publications and being sold on Amazon, details his film career – from his debut as a bright-eyed child-actor in ‘Awara’, his emergence in the hectic 1970s as India’s busiest performer with a slew of hits to his rise to international prominence with Merchant Ivory’s ‘The Householder’ and a trilogy of films on older men with fading pasts.

The book, which shows the actor in a completely different light as householder as well as a star, also talks about Shashi Kapoor the director and producer as well, bringing to light many facets of his character hitherto unknown to people. For instance, Chhabra noted that Kapoor was a man of extraordinary politeness.

Even at the height of his fame Kapoor would always walk into the sets of his films and introduce himself by his name to all the side actors, technicians and make-up artists before shaking hands with all of them. “It was as if nobody knew him, or that he was not a celebrity, but that was the nature of the man who has been modest all through his life,” Chhabra said in an interview.

Kapoor has been suffering from dementia since 2008 and has not acted or been in public life since then. “I think the young generation is beginning to forget him. People remember Amitabh Bachhan because he is still acting, but not Kapoor who is a great actor and has made so many contributions to the film industry. There here are so many interesting facts about Shashi Kapoor’s life that I thought needed to be brought to light and that people need to remember him again,” Chhabra said in response to a question as to what prompted him to write the book.

Chhabra also described Kapoor as a man with “democratic persuasion” of character which he said is a very rare quality among film actors whether in Bollywood or elsewhere. Giving an example, Chhabra mentioned that while shooting for ‘Junoon’, which Kapoor produced and in which he played the lead role, in Lucknow where there was only one five-star hotel those days, Kapoor made sure that every member of the film crew, including the film’s top actors and junior artists, were accommodated in the same hotel.

“That is why I describe him as a ‘democrat’. He would not treat, for instance, an actor like Shabana Azmi, or Amitabh Bachhan, differently than junior artists,” Chhabra said in the interview.

Chhabra was quoted in published reports in India that Shashi Kapoor is an actor who was never insecure. “He not only promoted filmmakers of parallel cinema, but also actors like Amitabh Bachchan …,” writersmelon, an authors/bloggers online portal said quoting Chhabra.

To substantiate about the help Kapoor gave to the superstar, it quoted from an undated blog of Bachchan in which he acknowledges Shashi Kapoor’s role in his acting career.
“Shashiji had always been a great support. I would visit him on set when I was looking for a job, he already being an established star by then, and he would introduce me to all his directors…”
 
URL: http://www.newsindiatimes.com/showman-shashis-other-side
 
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