Now They’re All Gone: Zeenat Aman, Asha Parekh On Shashi Kapoor
Actors Zeenat Aman and Asha Parekh remember veteran actor Shashi Kapoor who died at 79.
Shashi Kapoor breathed his last at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Mumbai on 4 December. A leading star in the 60s, 70s and 80s, Shashi followed the Kapoor family legacy early to start acting at the age of four in his father Prithviraj Kapoor’s plays. His name, Balbir Raj Prithviraj Kapoor, was changed to Shashiraj when he started acting in films like Sangram (1950), Dana Paani (1953), Aag (1948) and Awaara(1951), as a child artiste.
Asha Parekh, who worked with Shashi in Kanyadaan, Pyar Ka Mausam and other films, speaks about the actor.
“What a lovely thoughtful courteous and kind person. Shashi Kapoor was a thorough gentleman. Not just me, he looked after all his heroines so beautifully”.Asha Parekh
“I think I did four films with him. Out of these, two films Nasir Husain’s Pyar Ka Mausam and Mohan Sehgal’s Kanyadan are remembered to this day… I remember during the shooting of Kanyadan in Kulu, I strayed into the wilderness with some of the crew. Shashiji came looking for us. He was so upset that we had wandered away. ‘Anything could’ve happened because there are bear roaming in the area,’ he said”.
“I’ve seldom come across a more caring and chivalrous hero. I had the privilege of working with both Shammi and Shashi Kapoor. They both were unique, so different from one another. And they both had a great sense of rhythm”.Asha Parekh
“I remember his absolutely out-of-this-world sense of rhythm in the song Ni sultana re pyaar ka mausam aaya… Girls just swooned when Shashiji danced. And he had the most amazing marriage. His wife Jennifer Kapoor was just the most perfect wife I had ever seen. She looked after her husband and after all of us when we were shooting together. I think Shashiji lost his will to look after himself after his wife passed away. It was sad to see him suffer so much in his final years. He was on dialysis, just like his brother Shammiji before him. I had gone to see him in hospital a few years ago with my friends Waheeda Rehman and Nanda.”
“The last time I met him was when he got the Dada Phalke Sahib award. He had become so frail. To see my hero who out-danced me in Pyaar Ka Mausam on a wheelchair was heartbreaking. Shashi Kapoor was the last of my heroes. Now they are all gone.”Asha Parekh
Zeenat Aman, who worked with Shashi in Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Roti Kapda aur Makaan and various other films, also speaks about the fond memories that she’s shared with her co-star.
“Oh my God! Is Shashiji really gone? I did some of my most enjoyable and unforgettable films with him. But before that, I remember when I was studying at the St Joseph’s Convent”.
“Shashiji came with his wife to perform a play in our school. All of us schoolgirls were in a swoon. He was devastatingly handsome. Later he lived down the same road as me. And we’d bump into one another. I think the first film that we worked on together was Roti Kapada Aur Makaan. It was a very important film for me”.Zeenat Aman
“And Shashiji was a terrific co-star in what was a very complex role for me with shades of grey. The film was a big hit. But the one that we had most fun with was Chori Mera Kaam a few years later. It was a comedy and we improvised like crazy almost every scene was filled with dialogues that we thought up on the spot. Shashiji was a veteran of comic timing. I was new to comedy. But because he was so supportive I could pull it off”.
“That was what defined Shashiji’s attitude: a sense of ongoing generosity towards his costars. After Chori Mera Kaam we did what was perhaps our most talked-about film, I am talking about Raj Kapoor’s Satyam Shivum Sunderam”.Zeenat Aman
“My God! What an uproar that film created. Shooting the film was not easy. I remember Raj Saab kept calling Shashiji a ‘taxi’. He meant the number of films that Shashiji was doing at that time. Rajji very firmly told Shashiji he didn’t want the ‘taxi’. He wanted Shashiji’s full attention. Both of us had to be fully focused on this one film. Every gesture every nuance every movement of Shashiji and I were done by Raaj Saab. He would tell us where to stand, how to walk, how to sit… everything. We were mere puppets. The approach to our roles in Satyam Shivum Sunderam was quite the opposite to what we did in Chori Mere Kaam”.
“I remember Shashiji was shy about taking off his shirt under the waterfall in Satyam Shivum Sunderam when were shooting the song Yashomatimaiya. He didn’t think he had the physique to pull it off. I did several other films with Shashiji like Deewangee and Heeralal Pannalal.”Zeenat Aman
“It was always fun to shoot with him. He was gracious and warm, courteous and gentlemanly. I last met him at the Prithvi Theatre when he was honoured for receiving the Dada Phalke award. Though he was unwell I could see the look of warm recognition in his eyes. He held my hand warmly and I knew he remembered all the wonderful times we had shared while shooting,” said Zeenat Aman.
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