The whole country must be saying this about him now that at about 5:20 PM today, the 4th Dec 17, he lost his battle with liver cirrhosis at Kokilaben Hospital in Mumbai. He had been ailing for a number of years.

However, ailing and battling for life is not something that we would want to remember him by. The song is one of his most popular songs. However, he wasn’t pardesi (stranger) to winning hearts and minds of his fans.

First, we have to imagine three of a family getting Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India’s highest award for cinematic excellence. Then we have to consider that since its inception in 1969 when Devika Rani got it, there have been only 47 recipients so far. Prithviraj Kapoor, the doyen of Kapoor family was the third recipient of it in 1971, his son Raj Kapoor received it in 1987 as the 18th recipient, and then Shashi Kapoor, the quintessential romantic boyish face got the 45th award in 2015.

Boyish Charm with Innocence and yet Superbly Romantic

Nevertheless, the very first song that has come to my mind about Shashi Kapoor is from the 1965 Suraj Prakash movie Jab Jab Phool Khile wherein he acted as Raja, the owner of a houseboat in Srinagar. He acted opposite Nanda, the actress that he claimed was the best that he acted with. She was Rita Khanna, in the movie, daughter of a rich man and he was the simple, innocent, sweet-faced and somewhat poor houseboat owner. They fell in love until she moved away with her own people and that’s the time he sang this song in the movie.

Little did anyone know that the mukhada of the song: Pardesiyon ko hai ik din jaana would be so apt at his own demise. It is sad to see him go. Whenever I go to Shimla, I remember both him and Jennifer for the renovation of the famous Gaiety Theatre. My uncle HS Dilgir presented many a play there. My wife and I, whenever we go to Shimla, make it a point to visit the theatre and have lunch in the restaurant there.

Here too, in Mumbai, we used to visit Prithvi theatre frequently during our young days, a legacy of his father that Shashi Kapoor took it upon himself to carry forward.

The song was put together by Anand Bakshi and Kalyanji Anandji and sung by Mohammad Rafi.

Lets remember Shashi Kapoor by this: Pardesiyon se na akhiyan milaana…(the song as fresh as the freshness of the acting that he brought about in the movies):

परदेसियों से ना अँखियां मिलाना
परदेसियों को है इक दिन जाना

आती है जब ये रुत मस्तानी
बनती है कोई न कोई कहानी
अब के बस देखे बने क्या फ़साना

सच ही कहा है पंछी इनको
रात को ठहरे तो उड़ जाएं दिन को
आज यहाँ कल वहाँ है ठिकाना

बागों में जब जब फूल खिलेंगे
तब तब ये हरजाई मिलेंगे
गुज़रेगा कैसे पतझड़ का ज़माना

ये बाबुल का देस छुड़ाएं
देस से ये परदेस बुलाएं
हाय सुनें ना ये कोई बहाना

हमने यही एक बार किया था
एक परदेसी से प्यार किया था
ऐसे जलाए दिल जैसे परवाना

प्यार से अपने ये नहीं होते
ये पत्थर हैं ये नहीं रोते
इनके लिये ना आँसू बहाना

ना ये बादल ना ये तारे
ये कागज़ के फूल हैं सारे
इन फूलों के बाग न लगाना

हमने यही एक बार किया था
एक परदेसी से प्यार किया था
रो रो के कहता है दिल ये दीवाना

He was born on 18 Mar 1938 as Balbir Prithviraj Kapoor to his father Prithviraj Kapoor who was not just the doyen of Indian theatre but also of Indian cinema and Kapoor family. He started his acting career as a child artiste. His most memorable performance was in Awaara wherein he played the younger version of Raj Kapoor.

It is not my intention to cover his biography or filmography. Both are really well-known. Today, like the song above, I shall give you songs by which I remember his acting the best.

Shashi Kapoor in Band-Gala, as Cute as Serious

After, giving you the boyish, innocent (even naive), but ever so romantic face of his in Jab Jab Phool Khile, I would like to draw your attention to his acting as a ghazal singer complete with band-gala achkan. He did this in a few movies including Jab Jab Phool Khile. But, for singing a song in a band-gala (achkan) I liked him best in 1968 Mohan Segal movie Kanyadaan wherein he acted opposite Asha Parekh.

This song has the excellence of composition by my favourite duo: Shankar Jaikishan and some really good lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri.

Once again, though elder brother Raj Kapoor relied upon Mukesh as his singing voice, Shammi and Shashi both had Mohammad Rafi singing for them; though some of Shashi Kapoor’s popular songs (like in Sharmilee) have also been sung by Kishore Kumar.

I liked to see Shashi Kapoor in the band-gala. He looked so cute!

Please enjoy: Meri zindagi mein aate to kuchh aur baat hoti whilst thinking of the departed soul….

उनकी ज़ुल्फ़ें उनके चेहरे से हटा सकता नहीं
दिल की बेताबी किसी सूरत छुपा सकता नहीं
कितनी दिलकश हैं मुहब्बत की जवाँ मजबूरियाँ
सामने मंज़िल है और पाँव बढ़ा सकता नहीं

मेरी ज़िन्दगी में आते ( तो कुछ और बात होती ) -२
ये नसीब जगमगाते ( तो कुछ और बात होती ) -२

कई बार मिल चुकी हैं ये हसीं-हसीं निगाहें -२
वो ही बेक़रारियाँ हैं न मिली ख़ुशी की राहें
मेरे दिल से दिल मिलाते ( तो कुछ और बात होती ) -२
मेरी ज़िन्दगी में …

मुझे क्या ग़रज़ किसी से हँसे फूल या सितारे -२
हैं मेरी नज़र में फीके ये जवाँ-जवाँ नज़ारे
अगर आप मुस्कराते ( तो कुछ और बात होती ) -२
मेरी ज़िन्दगी में …

ये ख़ुशी रहे सलामत यूँ ही जश्न हो सुहाना -२
जिसे सुन रही है दुनिया मेरे दिल का है तराना
मेरे साथ तुम भी गाते ( तो कुछ और बात होती ) -२
मेरी ज़िन्दगी में …

Mere Paas Maa Hai – Shashi Kapoor as my Namesake Ravi

This one is not a song. However, it has been voted as amongst the most popular dialogues in Hindi movies. And who was to deliver this dialogue in the 1975 Yash Chopra movie: Deewar? Shashi Kapoor. With this dialogue the difference in the heights of Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor was reversed; suddenly the Big B appeared small and diminutive in front of Shashi Kapoor. His name in the movie was my name. Now that, this year, less than five months back, Ravi, that is me, lost my mother, I can’t help remembering Ravi of Deewar delivering this dialogue with the kind of passion that it deserved. Here is that most remembered dialogue of Shashi Kapoor:

His Charming, Forever Boyish and Even Comical Antics

I saw this movie before I joined the Navy. Shashi Kapoor acted as a young Army officer Captain Ajit in love with Rakhee as Kamini. Little did he know that Kamini, the slick and smart one had a twin sister Kanchan, as innocent as Shashi himself was in Jab Jab Phool Khile. In a bid to get married to Kamini, he accidentally got married to Kanchan and immediately rues it (Kaise kahen ham pyaar ne hamako kyaa kyaa khel dikhaaye). However, later he realises that Kanchan is the good girl and Kamini has a sinister history about her.

This song is sung by him to Rakhee as Kanchan. We would always remember him as this because this suited him the best.

The song was put together by Neeraj as lyricist, SD Burman as composer and singer Kishore Kumar.

Please notice that yellow is the most favourite colour for dresses of actors in the hills; I love it because it is the colour of Sunbyanyname!

Please enjoy Shashi Kapoor with his adorable antics: O meri, O meri, O meri sharmilee….

ओ मेरी ओ मेरी ओ मेरी शर्मीली
आओ ना तरसाओ ना
ओ मेरी ओ मेरी ओ मेरी शर्मीली

तेरा काजल लेकर रात बनी, रात बनी
तेरी मेंहदी लेकर दिन उगा, दिन उगा
तेरी बोली सुनकर सुर जागे, सुर जागे
तेरी खुशबू लेकर फूल खिला, फूल खिला
जान-ए-मन तू है कहाँ
ओ मेरी…

तेरी राहों से गुज़रे जब से हम, जब से हम
मुझे मेरी डगर तक याद नहीं, याद नहीं
तुझे देखा जब से दिलरुबा, दिलरुबा
मुझे मेरा घर तक याद नहीं, याद नहीं
जान-ए-मन तू है कहाँ
ओ मेरी…

ओ नीरज नयना आ ज़रा, आ ज़रा
तेरी लाज का घूँघट खोल दूं, खोल दूं
तेरे आँचल पर कोई गीत लिखूँ, गीत लिखूँ
तेरे होंठों में अमृत घोल दूँ, घोल दूँ
जान-ए-मन तू है कहाँ
ओ मेरी…

Shashi Kapoor in My Home Place – Shimla Hills

In the 1973 Manmohan Desai movie Aa Gale Lag Jaa, he had Sharmila Tagore acting opposite him. Now, La Tagore started as a fresh face in the 1964 Shakti Samanta movie Kashmir Ki Kali wherein elder brother Shammi Kapoor wooed her. She had lost none of her girlish charm when Shashi Kapoor wooed her too. If Shammi did it in the freshness of Srinagar, Shashi did it in the freshmess of my home place: Shimla Hills. It was a long wooing. He started in Shimla Skating Rink with the song: Vaada karo nahin chhodoge tum mera saath. Here, in this song, they are at the skiing resort of Kufri but instead of skiing, they are skating there!

The song was put together by Sahir Ludhianvi, SD Burman and Kishore Kumar.

Once again, since it is a song in the hills, yellow colour is prominent.

Please enjoy: Mera tujhase hai pehle ka naata koi….

मेरा तुझ से है पहले का नाता कोई
यूँ ही नहीं दिल लुभाता कोई
जाने तू या जाने न
माने तू या माने न

धुआँ-धुआँ था वो समा
यहाँ-वहाँ जाने कहाँ
तू और मैं कहीं मिले थे पहले
देखा तुझे तो दिल ने कहा
जाने तू या जाने न
माने तू या माने न

तू भी रही मेरे लिए
मैं भी रहा तेरे लिए
पहले भी मैं तुझे बाहों में लेके
झूमा किया और झूमा किया
जाने तू या जाने न
माने तू या माने न

देखो अभी खोना नहीं
कभी जुदा होना नहीं
अब खेल में यूँही रहेंगे दोनों
वादा रहा ये इस शाम का
जाने तू या जाने न
माने तू या माने न

Marriage and Working with Jennifer Kendal

Shashi was as much a theatre man as he was a cinema person. As I said he had keen interest in Prithvi Theatre. In 1956, when he was helping his father as assistant stage manager as well as stage actor, Geoffrey Kendal’s Shakespearean group visited Bombay. He started seeing more and more of Geoffrey’s daughter Jennifer. Subsequently, they married in 1958. His alliance with Jennifer made him act in British and American films, such as for Merchant Ivory productions run by Ismail Merchant and James Ivory. Thus, some of the movies that came about were: The Householder (1963), Shakespeare Wallah (1965) (opposite his sister-in-law Felicity Kendal), Bombay Talkie (1970) and Heat and Dust (1982) in which he co-starred with his wife Jennifer Kendal.

In 1978, he 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). I saw them all and have Utsav as a VHS cassette still with me for playing on my VCR. In Junoon, Jennifer acted with him in the movie that was based on Ruskin Bond’s A Flight of Pigeons. The movie was directed by Shyam Benegal.


Shashi Kapoor as Javed Khan, Jennifer (centre one of the three ladies) as Miriam Labadoor, Nafisa Ali to her left as her daughter Ruth and Ismat Chugtai (the writer; of amongst others, Garam Hawa) as her mother in the 1978 Shashi Kapoor production and Shyam Benegal directed movie Junoon

Shashi Kapoor Enacting one of My Boyhood Favourite Songs

I was studying in the hill station of Dharmashala (IPL cricket matches are held there these days) when this Nasir Hussain movie Pyar Ka Mausam was released in 1969. Nasir Hussain, of course, had his find Asha Parekh acting in the lead role. Shashi Kapoor acted opposite her. Both of them brought in incredible enchantment in the movie with, for example, Ni sultana re pyaar ka mausam aaya (the title song of the movie). But, the song that I was mad about was Tum bin jaayun kahan. It immediately became my favourite song. I was so enamoured by it that it became the talk of the college. Finally, a girl from my class sang it for me in the college tuck shop. The song had two versions. In the movie the Kishore Kumar version was sung by Shashi Kapoor’s father Bharat Bhushan. Mohammad Rafi sang it for Shashi Kapoor and sang it so well that it is still being thought of as one of the best picturised on Shashi Kapoor. The two others who deserve credit for the song are Majrooh Sultanpuri, the lyricist and RD Burman, the composer.

Please enjoy one of my all time favourites of Shashi Kapoor: Tum bin jaayun kahan….

तुम बिन जाऊँ कहाँ, के दुनिया में आके
कुछ न फिर चाहा कभी तुमको चाहके, तुम बिन …

देखो मुझे सर से कदम तक, सिर्फ़ प्यार हूँ मैं
गले से लगालो के तुम्हारा बेक़रार हूँ मैं
तुम क्या जानो के भटकता फिरा
मैं किस गली, तुमको चाह के …

अब है सनम हर मौसम, प्यार के काबिल
पड़ी जहाँ छाओं हमारी, सज गयी महफ़िल
महफ़िल क्या तनहाई में भी
लगता है जी, तुमको चाह के …

The first line of the first stanza described Shashi Kapoor fully: Dekho mujhe sar se kadam taq, sirf pyaar hoon mein. That’s the way we should always remember Shashi Kapoor: the quintessential lover boy who was not just a gentleman in reel life but in real life too. There is this anecdote about his directorial venture, the 1991 movie Ajooba starring Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor. It is reported that he went around with a stick in his hand so as to maintain discipline on the sets. Within no time, everyone knew that stick and Shashi Kapoor were strangers to each other and that he cared for his cast, crew, workers and junior artistes immensely.

Today evening, we have lost not just a superb actor and producer but Hindi movies great gentleman in Shashi Kapoor.

Aapke paas ab maa nahin hai, Ravi; maa ke paas aap hain.

Go rest in her lap; we shall never forget you.


© 2017, Sunbyanyname. All rights reserved.

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  1. A very comprehensive and well chronicled write up on the legend who will be missed by the whole nation .
    May the souls of his lady love Jennifer and his live in eternal peace

  2. Well and chronicled accout of charming , ever jovial film personality , with an attitude of love all and hate none and serious thinker from within. The only sad part is that he is no more who had Mother with him .

    1. Thank you, Jaswant. One doesn’t like to see good people suffering and Shashi Kapoor suffered a lot in the last few years. I am sure his mother in heaven must have received him with affection.

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