Shashi in "Satyam Shivam Sundaram"(1978)
There are two sides to Shashi Kapoor, on one hand they
seem incongruous but they are intertwined and inseparable.
He is the one eyed jack in the deck of cards of Hindi film.
On the face side Shashi Kapoor is the romantic lead of countless
Bollywood fluff entertainers of the 60s and 70s where he often
played the flippant and carefree playboy after all the girls.
On the other side Shashi was a serious theatrical producer
and entrepreneur who financed and produced Hindi plays and
movies that were focused towards the intellectual stimulation
of the Indian community.
One was the means to the other. Rooted and trained as
a stage actor in his father Prithviraj
Kapoor's, Prithi Theater, Shashi saw film acting as a
means to support himself financially and back his endeavors
toward first love the (less lucrative) theater. Shashi was
despite his famous last name, a struggling actor at the beginning
of his career in Bollywood. He had to test for all his parts
along with the rest of the acting stable that included names
like, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, and Dharmendra.
Shashi in "Deewaar"(1975)
When Shashi finally hit it big in Bollywood he knew the
transient nature of stardom and consequently milked it for
everything it was worth. He took any and every Bollywood entertainer
regardless of their merit that came his way sometimes acting
in as many as six to eight films at the same time. The money
he earned went to support his family and was also funneled
into theatrical and film production of India's 'Parallel Cinema'.
In Bollywood Shashi Kapoor is best remembered as the super
suave and handsome hero. He has acted in many Yash Chopra
directed films including the classics, "Waqt",
"Deewaar", "Trishul", "Silsila"
and "Kabbi Kabbie". He also is considered the most
recognized 'cross over' actor in India and has acted in a
number of British and American films, most notably "Siddhartha".
Today Shashi Kapoor carries on the legacy of the Kapoor
family as the overseer of the Prithi Theater the company started
by his father.
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