Thursday, December 7, 2017

Shashi Kapoor - Memories

He was never as hot as Amitabh was in our growing up days - but somehow he always had this nice guy thing about hi, Something that became bigger after he died - perhaps because we live in times like this when good guys are not given a thought to. But its surprising to see such a genuine outpouring of emotion for Shashi Kapoor - from the common movie goes like me - to his pals. I read an account of him by Farrukh Engineer who apparently went to school with Shashi (both charmers, and both looked alike), one by Simi Garewal (who says he was the only one who had the savoir faire to hold his own internationally - from the wines to the food to impeccable table manners) to an account by Shashi's late wife Jennifer Kendall's sister (she wrote of how shy, introverted and diffident Shashi was, and poor at that time, as he worked at Geoffrey Kendall's drama troupe 'The Shakesperians' and how badly Geoffrey behaved with Shashi Kapoor who bore it all). Shashi and Jennifer's was a lifetime love story. Jennifer kept him on a strict diet which was the secret of his dapper looks and fit physique and after she died of cancer Shashi let go and gained a lot of weight.

Simi says Shashi was one guy against whom no one in the film industry spoke badly about and despite never seen or met him, I can imagine. There was an openness in his eyes that perhaps conveyed that. Rishi's eyes do not convey that straighforwardness nor do Raj Kapoor's for all their roles of innocence.

'Deewaar' takes the cake as Shashi holds his own against Amitabh as the good guy who sticks to the straight and narrow and stays with Mom. The incredibly popular dialogue of 'meri paas maa hai' comes across with the right amount of uncertainty and confidence. There was 'Kalyug' where he plays the role of Karna and gets killed in an accident while changing the car tyre. There were several other movies too, notably one that I saw recently which he acted as an old nawab in a Merchant Ivory film - he had gained much weight but then the acting of an ageing and poverty ridden nawab was effortless.

Mostly I will remember Shashi Kapoor for being the hero in the one song I can sing fully and sing unabashedly. Saari Khushiyaan Hain... which is shot in a fashion I could not comprehend but just glad to have hear that song. I picked it off an old 45 rpm record at home, for some reason learned the lyrics and started singing it passionately for many years whenever I was asked to sing. Then I discovered it on YouTube and here it is. From 'Suhana Safar' in 1970.  Brings back memories of a time unpolluted - air, thoughts, people etc.

For a nice guy, for all things gentle and soft.

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