Just days after Shashi Kapoor turned 77, news emerged on March 23, that Bollywood’s evergreen charmer will be conferred the Dadasaheb Phalke award. Congratulations poured in for the actor, whose now frail frame, wrinkled face and silver locks fail to erase the image of his good looks and smile off his fans’ memory.
Best known for his nuanced performance in memorable films like “Deewar”, “Satyam Shivam Sundaram”, “Trishul”, “Kabhi Kabhie”, “Vijeta” and “Kalyug”, Shashi captivated Hindi movie buffs for several years.
The veteran actor-producer, who turned 77 on March 18, is the 46th winner of the honour, conferred by the government for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian Cinema.
His family is joyous about the news.
“Yessssssss! Shashi Kapoor to get the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award for contribution to Indian Cinema. Well deserved uncle. God Bless,” his nephew, actor Rishi Kapoor, tweeted soon after the news broke.
“Third Padma Bhushan and third Phalke award in the family. Prithviraj Kapoor and Raj Kapoor being the other recipients,” he added.
Kunal, one of Shashi’s three children — others being son Karan and daughter Sanjana — shared that it is a proud moment.
“I’m very proud and thankful to the government for recognising his work. This is the third award in our family. I am very thankful and extremely happy,” Kunal told IANS.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Arun Jaitley also conveyed his congratulations on the occasion, while Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, congratulating Shashi Kapoor on the award, said in a tweet that “his sensitive portrayal of human emotions has touched many a heart”.
Present-day filmmakers Prakash Jha and Madhur Bhandarkar also lauded the government’s decision to honour Kapoor.
“TRULY DELIGHTED that one of my favorite actors, the legendary Shashi Kapoorji has been honored with Dadasaheb Phalke Award! Many congrats,” Bhandarkar tweeted.
Jha posted: “True recognition #DadaSahebPhalke to a brilliant actor and passionate producer, who gave so much to Cinema! Love you Shashi Kapoor Sir.”
Together with his elder brothers, the late Raj and Shammi Kapoor, Shashi formed the Kapoor trinity, who took the film industry by storm.
Shashi began his tryst with acting at the age of four, with plays directed and produced by his father Prithviraj Kapoor.
He started acting in films as a child in the late 1940s. His best known performances as child artist were in “Aag” (1948) and “Awaara” (1951), where he played the younger version of the character played by his elder brother Raj.
When he grew up, he made his debut as a leading man in the 1961 film “Dharmputra”, and went on to appear in more than 100 Hindi films.
A popular name in Bollywood during the 1960s, 1970s and until the mid-1980s, Shashi was one of India’s first actors to go international with British and American films such as “The Householder” (1963), “Shakespeare Wallah” (1965), “Bombay Talkie” (1970) and “Heat and Dust” (1982).
He also starred in other British and American films such as “Siddhartha” (1972) and “Muhafiz” (1994).
In 1978, Shashi set up his production house Film Valas, which produced critically acclaimed films such as “Junoon” (1978), “Kalyug” (1981), “36 Chowringhee Lane” (1981), “Vijeta” (1982) and “Utsav” (1984).
He also produced and directed a fantasy film titled “Ajooba”, which had Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi in the lead roles.
Shashi’s love for theatre never died — and that was proven when he decided to revive his father’s Prithvi Theatre, along with his late wife Jennifer Kendal.
In 2011, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, and he is also a proud recipient of three National Film Awards.
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award entitles him to a Swarn Kamal (Golden Lotus), a cash prize of Rs.10 lakh and a shawl.