Shashi Kapoor Dies before Rahul Gandhi Leads Congress
“I can think. I can wait. I can fast.”
“I believe, that’s everything!”
1972, Siddhartha was released. Based on Hermann Hesse’s novel, and shot in Rishikesh, Siddhartha outshone the spicy Indian cinema. And charmer as he was, Shashi Kapoor captured the scent of self-seeking through his portrayal of Siddhartha, only to release a philosophical quest that is universal and yet so alien to all.
An actor of merit, and a more charming man in person, Shashi Kapoor is known to millions of Indian audience. The most-loving cliche, Mere Pass Maa hai, derives the enduring connections only because Shashi Kapoor, a hardcore commercial actor could pull his sleeves as a police officer in the conflict between his duties and kinship in Deewar.
Tracing his filmography is describing the evolving sentiments of a post-Independence India. An obsessive Pathan lover of the young British girl Ruth (Junoon), an appalled journalist struggling with political failures and system collapse (New Delhi Times), an Indian Shashi Kapoor sings Khilte Hain gul yahan mil ke bichhadne ko and then fades into silence, dead last night.
Apart from being an actor, he was also a brave movie-maker. Supporting films like Bombay Talkie, 36 Chowringhee Lane, Utsav, you could see his magic on screen when his princely looks would transform into the sincerity of the character he played. Despite his timeless roles in Dharmaputra, or say Satyam Shivam Sundaram, or even Vijeta, We remember Shashi Kapoor as a light-hearted movie actor. I remember reading his old interview where he confessed that he didn’t think his mainstream cinemas would be remembered as they lacked the spirit of creativity. The youngest of Prithviraj Kapoor’s sons (though equally talented than his elder brothers, Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor), Shashi Kapoor has, so to say, been instrumental in resurrecting theaters and parallel-cinema like no one before. The sincere Shashi was among the pioneers in collaborating with international ventures like Shakespeare Wallah, Heat and Dust, In Custody, and of course Siddhartha.
The death of Shashi Kapoor ironically made him into headlines in conflicting times when Trump fuels the Israelis and Palestinians claim over Jerusalem, and few are apologetic about Babri Masjid demolition, when officials have found unaccounted expenses in Nelson Mandela’s funeral in 2013, Syrian refugees struggle to reach a land of promise and when Rahul Gandhi is set to lead Congress (don’t ask me, where).
Which questions us to examine the death of a cinema that connected with social issues and resonated with the audience, not just an escape from reality, but also an intrusion into the day-to-day life. Several like me today mourn Shashi Kapoor’s death, and identify the end.