Shashi Kapoor, who passed away recently had a long and flourishing career filled with many successful films. And despite being from a film family known for producing commercial cinema, Shashi wasn’t shy of experimenting and did some stellar work where his performances were nuanced and understated.
Let’s take a look at some such films.
A black and white film released in 1965, Shakespeare Wallah sees Shashi Kapoor is based (not entirely) on Geoffrey Kendall’s travelling theatre group called Shakespeareana Company. Interestingly, Shashi Kapoor later married Jennifer Kendal (Geoffrey’s daughter) and found Prithvi Theatre with her. You can stream the entire movie on YouTube.
Directed by Bimal Roy, Prem Patra was another experimental film that where a lot of misunderstanding happens over a love letter, and Shashi Kapoor turns blind due to an accident. But, he later regains his vision, and finds out that the woman who was taking care of him while he was bling, wasn’t the one who he thought she was.
Based on Anita Desai’s Booker-prize nominated novel In Custody, this film shows that Shashi Kapoor (who plays a renowned Urdu poet) didn’t lose his acting chops with age. It was just that he didn’t choose to do many films. Watch it also for a stellar performance by Om Puri.
New Delhi Times
Written by Gulzar, New Delhi Times did run into some controversy for portraying the corrupt relationship between politics and media. However, it got a lot of acclaim and bagged three National Awards, with Shashi Kapoor taking home the Best Actor trophy.
A 1963 film, The Householder is another Merchant Ivory production (like In Custody and Shakespeare Wallah) that sees Shashi Kapoor in top form. It’s a romantic film, based on a novel by Ruth Prawer Jabhavala (who also wrote the screenplay). Satyajit Ray, whom we all know as one of India’s finest filmmakers ever, re-cut the film.