With Men Like Shashi Kapoor Around, I Stood No Chance: Amitabh Bachchan’s Tribute

Amitabh Bachchan once regaled us with a story of how Shashi Kapoor exacted discipline by means of a stick on the sets of Ajooba, that he directed. Today, his reminiscences of an old friend and colleague are far less joyful. Shashi Kapoor died in Mumbai’s Kokilaben Ambani Hospital on Monday. He was seventy nine and had been on dialysis for a kidney ailment. Amitabh Bachchan, with whom the late actor starred in 12-odd films, was among the last to post a tribute to Shashi Kapoor – his blog, that he tweeted with the title ‘To Shashiji from your babbua,’ offers us a clue why. Amitabh Bachchan didn’t head to the hospital once told of his friend’s death, even as he did not visit him over once when he was alive and in hospital – he could not bear to, Mr Bachchan explained, because he wished to preserve the memory of Shashi Kapoor as he had once been.

And he had once been the foremost spectacular of men, Amitabh Bachchan wrote: “Shashi Kapoor!” was what one heard as he extended a warm soft hand out to you in introduction ; that devastating smile complimenting the twinkle in his eyes. He needn’t have done so. all knew him. however this was his infectious humble self”.

The self-introduction was one among 2 things Mr Bachchan learnt and adopted from Mr Kapoor. “I should admit… it had been a technology that remained with me as a learning, helping me in using it during those uncomfortable times, when out of the blue somebody would initiate to you and address himself as a protracted lost brother,” added  Amitabh Bachchan.

The second factor was Shashi Kapoor’s hair style, that he wore long over the ears. Mr Bachchan reveals that he got his barber to repeat the look.

Sometime in the Sixties, Amitabh Bachchan, then a struggling actor, saw Shashi Kapoor in a magazine – raj and Shammi Kapoor’s younger brother was to make his debut shortly, the caption aforesaid. “With men like him around, I stood no probability,” Mr Bachchan wrote.

Nevertheless, the 2 actors met, worked along and were loved by fans for films like Deewar, Namak Halal and Kabhi Kabhie.

Shashi Kapoor wore his matinee idol appearance lightly. As Amitabh Bachchan writes, he let himself go after the death of his wife Jennifer Kendal. The last years of his life were confined to a wheelchair. 2 years past, Shashi Kapoor created one of his rare appearances to receive the Dadasaheb Phalke Award – Amitabh Bachchan spoke at a ceremony organized by the Kapoors.

But he did not visit the hospital on Monday evening when Shashi Kapoor died, although he did visit the family residence later with son Abhishek and daughter-in-law Aishwarya. Amitabh Bachchan is typically the first to arrive on such occasions and cut an interview short when Vinod Khanna died earlier this year.

His blog explains: “I had visited him on occasion in hospital throughout some of the times he had been hospitalised earlier .. however I ne’er visited see him again .. i might ne’er have .. I ne’er ever wanted to see this lovely friend and ‘samdhi’ in the state I saw him in hospital …. and i didn’t today, when they informed  me that he had gone.”

“He fondly addressed  me as ‘babbua’ .. and with him have gone several unbelievable unread chapters of his and my life.” To Shashi Kapoor, from Amitabh Bachchan.

Shashi Kapoor is survived by his sons Karan and Kunal and daughter Sanjana Kapoor. His ceremonial is scheduled  for today.

Content credit: 3GPMOBILEMOVIES

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