BOLLYWOOD: He was a born star. Starting out as a child artiste, Shashi Kapoor went on to become a leading romantic hero of his time. As a producer, the late star of hits like Deewaar and Trishul showed a rare audacity as he bankrolled parallel cinema classics, putting money where his mouth was. Not to mention, theatre which remained his first love. Here’s why Kapoor will always be more than just a good-looking Bollywood hero.
When Shashi Kapoor died at 79, in 2017 after a prolonged battle with liver cirrhosis, obituaries after obituaries described him as a popular romantic lead. So, like other Kapoors, his overall image was that of a romantic star. But he was much more than just a pretty face with a winsome smile. Indeed, he did have a way with romance. Now, he might not have the booming baritone of Prithviraj Kapoor, neither was he the coy and nervous country bumpkin in the mould of Raj Kapoor.
He certainly lacked Shammi Kapoor’s wild and free-flowing style. Shashi Kapoor’s approach to romance was more gentlemanly and muted in its essence, which perhaps may have led him to acquire the ‘most underrated Kapoor’ tag. It is a misleading tag, for how can you call someone unsung who, when at his peak in the 1970s was just as popular as Raj or Shammi Kapoor may have been at theirs? For today’s readers, you can imagine him being in the same high pedestal as Ranbir Kapoor is today, with hits like Sanju, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Rockstar and Barfi! under his belt.