Shashi Kapoor- The Householder, The Star by Aseem Chhabra

7Shashi-Kapoor-2.jpgWhenever I think of old films, Shashi Kapoor is the first hero that comes to my mind and that too, leading a horse in Jab Jab Phool Khile and the song, Ek the gul aur ek thi bulbul. The face of the heroine is vague and I think I shall have to ask her name when I meet my father next. And the next image that comes is of a suave Shashi Kapoor in Silsila, of how we had many heartflips over him. So when I got this opportunity to review this book, I said yes.

Thank you Rupa Publications and Rizwan Khan for providing me a review copy of the book, Shashi Kapoor- The Householder, The Star by Aseem Chhabra.

The Blurb:

India’s first biography of Shashi Kapoor sheds light on one of the country’s most enigmatic personalities—an actor who straddles the worlds of commercial Hindi cinema, theatre and small-budget art movies; who is, at once, an earnest householder and a committed star.

In this rare book, we are offered glimpses of Shashi Kapoor, the family man—son of Prithviraj Kapoor, husband of Jennifer Kendal, and father to Kunal, Karan and Sanjna. We are led through Shashi Kapoor’s film career—his debut as a bright-eyed child-actor in Awara; his emergence, in the hectic 1970s, as India’s busiest performer—with a slew of hits including Deewaar and Trishul; and his rise to international prominence with Merchant–Ivory’s The Householder and a ‘trilogy’ of films on older men with fading pasts. Equally, we are provided with an astute analysis of Shashi Kapoor, the businessman—the proprietor of Film-Valas; the producer of Shyam Benegal films; and the distributor of Bobby.

With luminous and thus-far undisclosed stories by the actor’s family (Neetu Singh, Rishi, Sanjna and Kunal Kapoor), co-stars (Shabana Azmi, Simi Garewal, Sharmila Tagore), colleagues (Shyam Benegal, Govind Nihalani, James Ivory, Hanif Kureishi, Aparna Sen), and friends; a compelling foreword by Karan Johar; and stunning photographs from Merchant–Ivory’s archives, Shashi Kapoor, the biography—by one of India’s best-known film journalists—is as captivating as Shashi Kapoor, the star.

My take:

The book is a biography of Shashi Kapoor, the romantic hero of yesteryears, with a foreword by Karan Johar, today’s director/ producer of romantic films.

The book has portrayed Shashi Kapoor right from when he was born to the migration of the family to Bombay from Calcutta and then his interest in theatre and how he met Jennifer. The accounts are as a result of various interviews and also the author has done an extensive research on the subject. The bibliography at the end of each chapter is a proof of that.

He has portrayed the actor as a son, a brother, a husband and a father. He has interviewed his family, co-stars, friends and colleagues to give us a glimpse of what Shashi Kapoor, the person is. I loved the part when he would quote his rate for a movie and give an example of, ‘so and so is paying me this for this role’. And his wife, loved the way she had kept the children away from the media glare.

This book will be liked by old and not so old alike especially because of the way it has been brought together and also the pictures used.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.



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