As I grew up, I saw him in other films where his performance was the opposite of theatrica, says Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
The first film I saw in my life was Jab Jab Phool Khile. I must have been all of six at that time. And it left a lasting impression on me. I saw it over and over again and couldn’t stop singing and dancing to Shashiji’s Humko Tumpe Pyar Aaya. What I remember the most is Shashi’s charisma and natural performance. He was so effortless. Even for a six-year old, his charm was infectious.
As I grew up, I saw him in other films where his performance was the opposite of theatrica. And yet his love for theatre is legendary. My favourite Shashi Kapoor films? Oh, so many. There’s Sharmilee where Raakhee had a double role but Shashi left an equally strong impact. Who can forget his expressions of heartbreak in the song Kaise Kahen Hum Pyar Ne Humko? My heart breaks each time I watch him in that song.
Then my other favourite is Haseena Maan Jayegi where Shashi had a double role as the good and the bad guy. He was so convincing in creating two contrasting characters. He made a terrific pair with Babita in Haseena Maan Jayegi. In fact, Shashi looked good with every heroine, be it Sharmila Tagore or Hema Malini or Asha Parekh or Neetu Singh. Actually, I can’t think of a single heroine who didn’t look good with the actor.
He was equally at home with his wife Jennifer in Shakespearewallah. I will always remember Shashi for putting all the money that he made as an actor in Hindi commercial films, into making non-mainstream films. 36 Chowringhee Lane is one of the finest films I’ve ever seen. I wish I had a producer like Shashi when I was starting out. He encouraged talent and art because he had deep knowledge of cinema and theatre. Among his many talents, the most important was his indelible connection with the forces of creativity. Shashi was a kindred spirit.”