Shashi Kapoor would have celebrated his 81st birthday if he were alive today. Here's a lookback at some of the lesser known facts about Shashi's life and legacy.
1. Shashi Kapoor was Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s second choice for Anand.
The first choice was Kishore Kumar. Shashi was finalised. But when the reigning superstar Rajesh Khanna showed a keen interest in the role, Shashi was dropped.
2. The feud with Rajesh Khanna
Shashi Kapoor's feud with Rajesh Khanna continued when Khanna was almost finalised for Raj Kapoor’s Satyam Shivum Sunderam. But Khanna was dropped for no apparent reason and replaced by Raj Saab’s brother Shashi. Many years later Rajesh Khanna and Shashi came together in Raj Khosla’s Prem Kahani and they barely exchanged hellos. They also battled over the billing. Shashi won. His name came before Khanna’s in the credit titles.
3. It was rare for Shashi to have a problem with anyone
It was very rare for Shashi to not get along with a co-star. Apart from Rajesh Khanna, he had no problems working with any co-star. At a time when Mumtaz was a struggling supporting actress, Shashi agreed to co-star with her in Pyar Kiye Jaa. Many decades later when Shashi and Mumtaz worked together in two of her final films Chor Machaye Shor and Prem Kahani, Shashi would tease her about how she was the superstar now.
4. He was very close to his daughter Sanjana:
Not that he was not close to his two sons, Karan and Kunal. But after his wife Jennifer’s death, Shashi Kapoor (SK) depended increasingly on Sanjana for emotional succour.
5. Favorite Heroines:
He made a fab pair with every heroine that he worked with but his favourites were Nanda and later, Raakhee Gulzar. Nanda, because she was senior superstar when she sportingly consented to work with Shashi. And Raakhee because she cooked the forbidden meals for him when they shot together.
6. Shashi and Amitabh Bachchan did 15 films together.
The first time they came together was for James Ivory’s Bombay Talkie where Shashi played the lead while Mr B had a walk-on part. Subsequently, Shashi was billed above the Big B in all their films together.
7. Shashi and the Parody Song
Fanatically devoted to being graceful and dignified on screen, Shashi revolted against getting into drag in Prakash Mehra’s Haseena Maan Jayegi. But the director was adamant. So Shashi ended up doing Tatpunjiyon se na aanhkiyan milana, a parody of his hit song Pardesiyon se na ankhiyan milana from Jab Jab Phool Khile.
8. His favorite food:
A fanatical foodie, like all the Kapoors, Shashi’s diet was strictly controlled by his wife Jennifer. When she was not in town he would hastily summon his close friends for lunch feasts at his home which included his favourite junglee gosht.
9. His struggle with metabolism:
For his role as the grotesque overweight lecher in Utsav, Shashi ate, ate and ate… his metabolism never returned to normal.
10. His unending love for wife Jennifer:
He never thought of getting married after his wife’s death. Jennifer was till the end, the only love of his life.