Shashi Kapoor's Legacy

He was a Bollywood icon and one of the first Bollywood stars who crossed over to western audiences. Screen legend Shashi Kapoor who died after a long illness will be fondly remembered for his talent, charm and humility.

The younger brother of Raj Kapoor, he came from the emphatic Kapoor clan which has dominated the Indian cinema screen for decades. To the British audiences, he was well known having married to Felicity Kendal’s sister, Jennifer who sadly has died from cancer in 1984.

Kapoor’s role in several Merchant Ivory was the catalyst to his western audience appeal. It was in 1963 that he collaborated with Ismail Merchant and James Ivory in The Householder. This was followed by Shakespeare Wallah in 1965 and the 1970s Bombay Talkie with his wife Jennifer Kendal. In 1983 he starred in the Cannes entry Hear and Dust with Julie Christie and Greta Saatchi.  

Fond of the theatre, he and Jennifer had established Mumbai’s Prithvi Theatre which numerous Bollywood stars have performed at during their careers.

His notable Bollywood roles were in features such as "Jab Jab Phool Khile" (Whenever The Flowers Bloom, 1965), "Kabhi Kabhie" (Sometimes, 1976), and "Kalyug" (Age of Downfall, 1981). He was also adored for his role opposite Bachchan in the hit movie "Deewaar" (The Wall, 1975) in which he delivered one of Hindi cinema's most famous lines -- ´Mere paas maa hai´ (I have a mother).

He won numerous acting prizes and in 2011 was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, one of India´s highest civilian awards.

It can be said that he was the first of the Bollywood superstars who crossed over to the West in his work and personally. He will be fondly remembered in Britain. 

Also, see Derek Malcolm’s article in The Guardian on Shashi Kapoor’s Obituary