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Shashi Kapoor: The quiet courage of the veteran star’s film choices and what they reveal about him

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As a gay man in his formative years, during the time of Doordarsan and VHS tapes, my search for fantasy men always ended at the uncle-nephew pair of Kapoors — Shashi and Rishi. I was born in 1979, and growing up in the ’80s, Shashi Kapoor was one of the very few ‘evergreen’ heroes, who I longed to see shirtless. That’s not to say Shashi Kapoor was only about the sexiness — he was a fine artist, and who he was as a human being often reflected in his choice of onscreen roles.

Shashi Kapoor passed away on 4 December 2017, aged 79. Photo courtesy Facebook/@Shashi.Kapoor.Lovers

Shashi Kapoor passed away on 4 December 2017, aged 79. Photo courtesy Facebook/@Shashi.Kapoor.Lovers

He was daring enough, that in 1987, he chose to act in a film titled Sammy And Rosie Get Laid. He played neither Sammy nor Rosie, but his presence in the film indicated an open-mindedness of personality. In 1970’s Bombay Talkie, Shashi had an onscreen liplock with (wife) Jennifer Kendal — it’s a romantic scene that could well serve as a thesis on patriarchy and how it is propagated in Indian culture.

Without making a hue and cry about it, Shashi Kapoor was a feminist. His heart beat for equality. It is widely believed that until Karisma and Kareena, the women in the Kapoor clan didn’t work in films (both Babita and Neetu Kapoor stopped after they wed into the family). But Shashi’s wife Jennifer Kendal did continue to do films after marriage — right until she passed away in 1984. Shashi and Jennifer’s daughter Sanjana made her own big screen debut in 1981, in 36 Chowringhee Lane (she previously had a small role in her father’s 1978 film Junoon as well). Karisma Kapoor’s Prem Qaidi came over  a decade later.

Shashi Kapoor’s onscreen depictions of intimacy could sometimes be problematic. There was an ambivalence to it… take for instance, the scene depicting his wedding night with Rakhee in Kabhie Kabhie: Vijay is oblivious to Pooja’s tears as he undresses her.

Or the scene from Aa Gale Lag Ja, in which Prem (Shashi Kapoor) sleeps with Preeti (Sharmila Tagore) to share his body warmth and save her from hypothermia. The conversation around consent having progressed considerably today, such a depiction wouldn’t have passed muster in contemporary times. Shashi, however, managed to perform the scene without making it a bit sleazy.

Oddly enough, he managed to champion feminism even in films where the script made him something of an anti-hero. Witness for instance, this part in Satyam Shivam Sundaram, where Rajeev (Shashi Kapoor) makes love to his enigmatic mistress, unaware that she is the wife, Roopa (Zeenat Aman), he has scorned for her scarred face. By film’s end of course, Rajeev realises the injustice he has perpetrated on his wife, and his own shallowness.

I recently chatted with film historian Praveish Vishwanath, who gave me a few insights into Shashi Kapoor’s life and career. On Shashi’s romance with Jennifer Kendal, Vishwanath said, “It was his suave cosmopolitanism that saw him get close to the Kendals, who also shared his passion for Shakespeare and theatre.”

Vishwanath also told me that the films Shashi chose to produce often reflected brave, if obscure choices. “Utsav (1984; which he acted in as well) was an adaptation of the Mrichakatika. The film is a culmination of his celebration of sensuality and sensitivity. You can also see the universality of his approach in the oeuvre he chose, and the film’s production values.”

There is no doubt that Shashi Kapoor loved his art. If he named his theatre Prithvi, it was not just for patriarch Prithviraj Kapoor, it was also a representation of being grounded — just as Shashi was. Anyone who sips a cup of coffee at the iconic Prithvi Cafe having watched a play at the theatre must certainly take a moment to thank him, and Jennifer Kendal, for founding this space.

Great actors never die. The art they create lives on, perfectly encapsulating the time and the concerns of the age they lived in. While growing-up-me may have been drawn to Shashi Kapoor for his good looks, grown-up-me salutes him for having the courage to blaze his own trail.

Balbir Prithviraj Kapoor aka Shashi Kapoor, you will live forever.


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Kareena Kapoor Khan describes sister-in-law Soha Ali Khan as a "solid woman"

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IANS

Dec,13 2017 16:12 20 IST

Kareena Kapoor Khan has described her sister-in-law Soha Ali Khan as a solid woman.

Soha Ali Khan on Tuesday launched her first book The Perils of Being Moderately Famous. In a rare picture perfect moment, the entire family, including Sharmila Tagore, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Saba Ali Khan and Soha Ali Khan’s husband Kunal Kemmu gathered on the stage.

Kareena Kapoor Khan said of Soha Ali Khan, “I truly believe that she is torchbearer of the family and this book’s title doesn’t do justice to her being famous or not famous because I think she is the grounding on which all of us stand on, and I have truly seen the way she has compassionately and with just a breaking heart, looked after her father (the late Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi). I have never ever seen any daughter like that. I am a daughter, but I don’t know if I could have done it the way she looked after him and that. In my eyes, she is a solid woman and I am sure Abba is listening to this.”

Soha Ali Khan with her family at her book launch event.

Soha Ali Khan with her family at her book launch event.

Sharing her personal relationship with Soha Ali Khan and revealing some interesting stories about her, Kareena Kapoor Khan said, “I rarely get intimidated by anyone, but if there is one person in the family that I am completely in awe of I think is Soha. When I am at dinner with Saif or Soha, I am like, ‘Oh my God, I am never going to understand their conversation. Soha has always been so polite with me. She always asks me about what’s the gossip or what shopping I did recently, but apart from that, I think we have found our way and if there is anyone in the family that any of us turned to when Amma (Sharmila Tagore) is all worked up and fired up, then there is just one person that can control the situation and that is none other than Soha.”

During the book launch, the family members shared anecdotes about Soha Ali Khan’s life — right from her childhood, her college days, till her motherhood phase.

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Kareena Kapoor Khan describes sister-in-law Soha Ali Khan as a "solid woman"

Published

on

IANS

Dec,13 2017 16:12 20 IST

Kareena Kapoor Khan has described her sister-in-law Soha Ali Khan as a solid woman.

Soha Ali Khan on Tuesday launched her first book The Perils of Being Moderately Famous. In a rare picture perfect moment, the entire family, including Sharmila Tagore, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Saba Ali Khan and Soha Ali Khan’s husband Kunal Kemmu gathered on the stage.

Kareena Kapoor Khan said of Soha Ali Khan, “I truly believe that she is torchbearer of the family and this book’s title doesn’t do justice to her being famous or not famous because I think she is the grounding on which all of us stand on, and I have truly seen the way she has compassionately and with just a breaking heart, looked after her father (the late Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi). I have never ever seen any daughter like that. I am a daughter, but I don’t know if I could have done it the way she looked after him and that. In my eyes, she is a solid woman and I am sure Abba is listening to this.”

Soha Ali Khan with her family at her book launch event.

Soha Ali Khan with her family at her book launch event.

Sharing her personal relationship with Soha Ali Khan and revealing some interesting stories about her, Kareena Kapoor Khan said, “I rarely get intimidated by anyone, but if there is one person in the family that I am completely in awe of I think is Soha. When I am at dinner with Saif or Soha, I am like, ‘Oh my God, I am never going to understand their conversation. Soha has always been so polite with me. She always asks me about what’s the gossip or what shopping I did recently, but apart from that, I think we have found our way and if there is anyone in the family that any of us turned to when Amma (Sharmila Tagore) is all worked up and fired up, then there is just one person that can control the situation and that is none other than Soha.”

During the book launch, the family members shared anecdotes about Soha Ali Khan’s life — right from her childhood, her college days, till her motherhood phase.

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Dwayne Johnson to become father for the third time; girlfriend Lauren Hashian flaunts baby bump

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The reigning superstar of Hollywood who currently leads the Forbes list of highest paid actors in Hollywood is basking in joy, withhis girlfriend Lauren Hashian’s baby bump debut on the red carpet, as reported by the Mirror.

The long time couple had announced that they were expecting their second child together via an adorable Instagram post that showed their first daughter Jasmine, captioned “Our Jasmine Lia would like to make a big announcement – IT’S A GIRL! @laurenhashianofficial and I are boundlessly grateful for this blessing as this spring we’ll welcome our second baby”. 

The delightful news has now been immediately followed by their appearance together at the Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle premier, where Laura was positively glowing in a red dress and her baby bump.

dwayne johnson at jumanji premiere 825

Laura Hashian and Dwayne Johnson at the Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle premier

The 45-year-old actor and Laura have been going strong for a decade now. This will be his third child, after his sixteen-year-old daughter Simone with ex-wife Dany Garcia, and Jasmine. Johnson met his partner Hashian on the sets of his 2007 film The Game Plan and the couple started dating a year later.

The couple have remained private about their relationship but made their red carpet debut in public at the GI Joe LA premier in 2013. Hashian is the daughter of the drummer for the 1970s famous band Boston.

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