The youngest of the Kapoor brothers, Balbir Raj is known as Shashi Kapoor in the film industry. Born in Calcutta on March 18, 1938, Shashi, the third son of Prithviraj Kapoor, attended Don Bosco High School in Matunga, Mumbai.
He made his first screen appearance at the age of 12.
Remember that raincoat clad little boy in Raj Kapoor’s Awara song ”Pyar Hua Ikraar Hua” – he was none other than Shashi Kapoor. Earlier Shashi also acted as junior Raj Kapoor in Aag. As a child star, he even acted in mythological films like Bhakta Dhurva (1947) and Murtiwala (1951).
His debut film was Dharmaputra (1961), a Yash Chopra movie. The same year, he was seen in Char Diwari. For the next few years, he came in a number of forgettable films. Then came the first hit of his career, in the form of ”Jab Jab Phool Khile” (1965). He was very popular debonair actor in Bollywood during the 1960s, 1970s and the early 1980s with his most famous movies include ”Waqt” (1965), Hasina Maan Jayegi (1968), Kanyadan (1969), Aa Gale Lag Jaa (1973), Roti Kapda Aur Makan (1974), Chor Machaye Shor (1974), Deewar (1975), Kabhi Kabhie (1976), Fakira (1976), Trishul (1978), Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978), Kaala Patthar (1979), Suhaag (1979), Shaan (1980), Kranti (1981) and Namak Halaal (1982).
In most of his successful films in the 1970s and early 1980s he co-starred alongside Amitabh Bachchan. Amongst the hit films of the duo are Deewar, Do Aur Do Paanch, Silsila, Trishul, Kabhi Kabhi, Shaan, Suhaag, Namak Halal, Kaala Patthar, etc.
Yash Chopra’s Deewar (1975) won him the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award. The film also had one of his most remembered dialogues, ”Mere paas maa hai”, which went on to become one of the most famous dialogues in Hindi cinema. — He was also known internationally for starring in many British and American films, notably Merchant Ivory productions, such as ”Shakeshpeare Wallah” (1965), opposite his future sister in law, Felicity Kendal, ”Bombay Talkie” (1970), and Heat and Dust (1982) in which he co-starred with his wife Jennifer Kendal. He also starred in other British and American films such as Pretty Polly (1967) opposite Hayley Mills, Siddhartha (1972), and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987).
It was in the late 1970s that he shifted his attention from acting to production. He produced Junoon in 1978, which was critically acclaimed and also won the National Award. In 1980, he set up his production house, ”Film Valas”, and produced the critically acclaimed Kalyug.
Shashi Kapoor also made 36 Chowringhee Lane (1981), in which he acted with wife Jennifer. Next, he produced Vijeta, in which he cast his son Kunal as hero and himself as the father. In 1984 came Utsav, starring Rekha and Shekhar Suman. Next, he did New Delhi Times, which bagged him a National Award.
He tried his hand at direction with ”Ajooba” (1991), a film that failed at the box office. Lastly Shashi Kapoor made an appearance in ”Jinnah” (1998), a biopic of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He was the narrator of the movie. The same year, he was seen in another Merchant-Ivory production titled Side Streets (1998). He was also seen in Manoj Kumar’s Clerk in 1999.
Shashi Kapoor first met Jennifer Kendall in 1956 in Calcutta, where he was working as an actor and assistant stage manager for Prithvi Theatre. The two came close with time and got married in July 1958. They had three children – Kunal Kapoor, Karan Kapoor and Sanjana Kapoor. All of them tried their hand at acting in the youth, but were unsuccessful. Jennifer passed away in 1984.
Shashi Kapoor passed away on 4 December, 2017, after being ill for a long time.
Some of his songs, where he appeared, includes:-