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Shashi Kapoor

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Shashi Kapoor’s biography

Shashi Kapoor (Hindi: शशि कपूर), born Balbir Raj Kapoor on March 18, 1938 in Calcutta, is an Indian film actor and producer and a member of the famous Kapoor family, an influential film dynasty in India's Bollywood cinema. He is the younger brother of Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor, the son of Prithviraj Kapoor, the widower of Jennifer Kendal, and the father of Karan Kapoor, Kunal Kapoor, and Sanjana Kapoor. Son Kunal is married to director Ramesh Sippy's daughter and Sanjana to wildlife conservationist Valmik Thapar.


Shashi Kapoor started acting in films as a child in the early 1940s appearing in several mythological films. His best known performances were in Aag (1948) and Awaara (1951) where he played the younger version of the characters played by his older brother Raj Kapoor.

He made his debut as a leading man in the 1961 Yash Chopra film Dharmputra and went on to appear in over 100 films. He was a very popular actor in Bollywood during the 1960s, 1970s and the early 1980s with his most famous movies include Waqt (1965), Deewaar (1975), Kabhi Kabhie (1976), Trishul (1978), Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978), Kaala Patthar (1979), Shaan (1980) and Namak Halaal (1982). In most of his successful films in the 1970s and early 1980s he co-starred alongside Amitabh Bachchan.

He was also known internationally for starring in many British and American films notably the Merchant Ivory productions, Shakespeare Wallah (1965), Bombay Talkie (1970) and Heat and Dust (1982) in which he co-starred with his wife Jennifer Kendal. He also appeared in other British and American films such Pretty Polly (1967), Siddhartha (1972) and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987).

In 1980 he set up his production house, Film Valas, which produced critically acclaimed films such as Kalyug (1981), 36 Chowringhee Lane (1981) and Utsav (1984). In 1991 he produced and directed a fantasy film titled Ajooba which had his frequent co-star Amitabh Bachchan and nephew Rishi Kapoor in the lead.

His last and most recent film appearances were in Jinnah (1998), a biopic of Mohammed Ali Jinnah in which he was the narrator and another Merchant-Ivory production titled Side Streets (1998). He has now retired from the film industry and not appeared in any film since. He has been seen in the limelight at the "Shashi Kapoor Film Festival" held in Muscat, Oman (Sept 2007). He has lost a considerable amount of weight and looked healthy.

In July, 1958, he married the British actress Jennifer Kendal and they acted in a number of films together, most notably in the Merchant Ivory productions. He had three children with Kendal; Karan Kapoor, Kunal Kapoor and Sanjana Kapoor all of whom for a short while became film actors. Kendal died of cancer in 1984.

Attended Don Bosco High School in Matunga, Bombay.

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