I Came to the Movies to Support My Family: Shashi Kapoor
Shashi Kapoor passed away on 4 December after a prolonged illness. The legendary actor was one of Bollywood’s most adored stars and most progressive filmmakers. His colleagues swear by his charm and innate sophistication and his contribution to Indian theatre can’t even be begun being talked about.
In one of his last interviews as the director of Ajooba, Shashi Kapoor talked about his journey to give us a glimpse into his mind and heart. Excerpts from the interview.
I would change nothing (if I had a second chance). I would have may be tried to act better (laughs). Among my brothers, I was absolutely always sure about what I wanted to do - whether acting or marriage. When I saw Jennifer I was 18, and I immediately wanted to marry her... I had made up my mind to be in the show business at the age of six. When I was 12, I made my first 16mm movie.
In the mid-70s, I was working almost round the clock but I didn’t find any satisfaction in it. I had just lost my parents and there was this vacuum. So I asked my wife what I should do. She asked me to do what I wanted to do. So we built a theatre (Prithvi) and I made Junoon, Kalyug, 36 Chowringhee Lane, Vijayta and Utsav. They bombed! (laughs)
The Merchant Ivory films stand out for me. Siddhartha, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, all the films Amitabh and I did together were a lot of fun. It was a great camaraderie. I worked with Bimal Roy - I still use some of the techniques I learnt then. I did a film with Meena Kumari ji who taught me how to say my lines in a way that would resonate with the audience. My own films... Kalyug, Vijayta, 36 Chowringhee, Utsav... and now Ajooba. I loved being with Shakesperaiana and Prithvi. I learnt a lot. I feel very sorry that kids don’t have any theatre to go to where they can learn. They go to these crash acting courses.. which are all sham.