Balbir Prithviraj Kapoor, world renowned by his stage name of Shashi Kapoor, in a career spanning to 58 years in the film industry, was one of the leading actors of Indian cinema having appeared in 160 movies - 12 Hollywood and 148 Indian - Hindi. Kapoor, a member of the Kapoor family, a film dynasty in India's Bollywood cinema, was born on March 18, 1938, in Calcutta, West Bengal, India. Here are some interesting facts about late Indian film actor and producer:
In 2011, he was honored with the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India for his contributions to Art-Cinema.
On December 3, 2017, he was admitted for a reported chest infection at Kokilaben Hospital, Mumbai and died the next day due to prolonged liver cirrhosis.
He was honoured by Walk of the Stars as his handprint was preserved for posterity at Bandra bandstand in Mumbai in November 2013.
While filming the 1965 movie "Jab Jab Phool Khile," he made a bet with director Suraj Prakash, saying the film would run for 8 weeks, while the director believed it would run for 25 weeks. The bet was whoever won the bet should get a suit stitched at Burlington's for the other. Director won the bet and presented Kapoor with a suit, as the film went on to run for 50 weeks.
He met English actress Jennifer Kendal, while working for his father's theatre group, Prithvi Theatre in 1956. Kendal was working for her father Geoffrey Kendal's Shakespearean group. The duo fell in love and married in July 1958, facing initial opposition from the Kendals.
In the year 1984, he went for a world tour concert with Nutan. They performed in cities in Canada, America and England. An interview done in Vancouver BC, Canada during the tour with Sushma Dutta, is still available on Youtube.
In preparation for his role as Raja in "Jab Jab Phool Khile," he spent days with the boatmen in Kashmir to study their lifestyle. Sometimes, he even had meals with them.
He made his directorial debut with the 1991 movie "Ajooba," starring Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia.
Kapoor was the first actor who demanded alternative housing to the slum-dwellers in Colaba and directly spoke to the then-Chief Minister of Maharashtra, India, Shankarrao Chavan to deal with the crisis and provide a safe housing for them all.
He was the first Indian actor to go international and work extensively in Hollywood films and British films, notably with Merchant Ivory productions run by Ismail Merchant and James Ivory.
In the year 2009, he was honored with Lifetime Achievement Award, at the 7th Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) as well as the 11th Mumbai Film Festival (MFF).
From the period of 1970- 1975, Kapoor was the 2nd highest paid Indian (Hindi) actor, along with Devanand, only after Rajesh Khanna. From the period of 1976 - 1982, he was the third highest paid actor along with Vinod Khanna.
It was reported that he was to produce a TV serial titled "Janmasiddha Adhikar," in the year 1991, but the serial got shelved, with fantasy film "Ajooba," produced and directed by Kapoor himself, turning out a flop.
It was reported that in the entire span of his career, he would try to schedule outdoor shoots, in order to coincide with the school holidays of his children, as he wanted his kids to see new places, and also spend time with them simultaneously.
It was reported that it took over 3 years for Kapoor to direct his first movie "Ajooba," and it was Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan who had convinced him to direct the film himself. The said movie was also his last production.
The English film "The Householder" in 1963 was his first successful film at the box office. From his debut in 1961 till 1965, Kapoor had no hits as solo lead hero as all his seven movies had flopped. It was only in 1965, that he became a hit star in Bollywood, with "Jab Jab Phool Khile."
He has three children with his wife Jennifer Kendal - two sons - Kunal Kapoor, Karan Kapoor and a daughter - Sanjana Kapoor. All three of his children ventured for a short while in Bollywood, but were not successful because of their European looks.
In 1978, he set up his production house, Film Valas, which produced critically acclaimed films in India.
It was reported that he partially financed his 1970 movie "Bombay Talkie," by distributing the movie in India by himself.
In his entire career, Kapoor has had only three intimate scenes in three different movies, including kissing scenes. Out of the three movies, two were English movies - "Siddhartha," and "A Matter of Innocence."
Kapoor had reportedly suffered a huge loss after his directorial debut "Ajooba" bombed and that he was left in huge debt. It was said that he later recovered his money from satellite rights.
In his career, he was also a part of many films that got shelved such as - "Devgadh," "Yaari Ho Gayi Yaar Se," "Swarg Se Pyara Ghar Hamara," "Sadiyon Se Hain Pyar," "Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil," "Pehla Pehla Pyar," "Nazrana," and "Uncle."
Director Raj Kapoor's initial choice for the lead role of Ranjeev in the 1978 movie "Satyam Shivam Sundaram: Love Sublime," was actually Rajesh Khanna. But, went things did not work out with the actor, he asked his brother Shashi Kapoor to do the movie. With the latter being very busy those days, Raj Kapoor was unable to get the dates and called Shashi as "Taxi."
He started acting in films as a child in the late 1940s under the screen name of Shashiraj. He has worked in around four Indian films from 1948 to 1954 as a child artiste.
On 20 July 2012, Kapoor underwent a cataract surgery at Kokilaben Hospital in suburban Mumbai, India, and was discharged the same day.
In the 1970 movie "Bombay Talkie," he reportedly removed a scene, in which Amitabh Bachchan was signed as an extra for a pay of 50 INR. Kapoor believing Bachchan was destined for better things, got the scene removed, but the latter was not happy on losing out the chance.
His 1970 movie "My Love," starring Sharmila Tagore, and Rajendra Nath opposite him, was the first Bollywood film to be shot in Tanzania and Kenya, East Africa. Later films like "Hoshiyar," "Vishwatma & Khel" were shot in the same countries.
Following the release of his 1979 movie "Suhaag," he along with Amitabh Bachchan, went unannounced to England to visit a theatre playing the movie. The duo was in the idea of surprising the audience, and just a say a few words, so they went without any security. But the crowd at the theatre went berserk and started to pull at them and call them with sheer excitement.
It was reported that Kapoor walked around with a hand stick, in the sets of "Ajooba," his first directorial debut. The hand stick was in an effort to gather his crew and bringing them to order, with the intention of using it if indiscipline occurred. However, he never used it as he is said to be one director who cared immensely for his artistes and technicians, on an equal plane.
In 2015, he was awarded the 2014 Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in cinema, for his contribution to the growth and development of Indian cinema.