Salaam Bollywood : To Shashiji with love

Salaam Bollywood : To Shashiji with love

On March 18, Shashi Kapoor turns 75. On his special birthday I recap some personal fond memories of the most handsome star My elder sister was madly...

On March 18, Shashi Kapoor turns 75. On his special birthday I recap some personal fond memories of the most handsome star

sal2sal3My elder sister was madly in love with Shashi Kapoor. In fact, she had this recurrent dream that she was waiting at a bus stop and Shashi Kapoor would stop his car and offer to drop her to school. When I was in college Shashi Kapoor was the only actor approved by my friends and therefore it was legitimate to be in love with him.

Come 1979 and I became a film journalist. I could not sleep the night before I had to interview Shashi Kapoor because he was devastatingly handsome. In those days female journalists fought with editors to interview him over and over again. I was no exception.

Shashi Kapoor was witty, intelligent, with a sense of humour and made interesting copy which is why even editors did not mind featuring him in their papers.

The magazine I was associated at that time carried a feature titled Diary where journos followed a star for a week at his work and wrote their impressions. I had the privilege of following Shashi Kapoor for nine days. This was in the early 80s when he was the busiest star in film firmament and shooting two and often four shifts a day.

He, dressed in spotless white 'pyjama kurta' would drive his white Mercedes Benz and I travelled with him for all his shoots to different locations spread all over Mumbai, at that time Bombay.

Mumbai's prime location Prithvi Theatre was just a plot at that time and Shashi Kapoor would, in between his shootings, stop by at Juhu to meet his architect, joined by wife Jennifer, the woman responsible for resurrecting the dream. Unknown to me at that time, the nine days spent with him became my training ground as a scribe. Just being with Kapoor I learnt some invaluable lessons both as a journalist and as an individual. He corrected my Hindi, commented on my diction and just in the manner he approached his work and interacted with colleagues on the sets, taught you so much on cinema, acting and etiquette.

Every time I visited him I was made to say 'namaste' to everyone on the sets and reprimanded if I exited without thanking the producer of the film. "Just in the way you don't leave a party thanking your host, you cannot leave a set without thanking the producer".

It is difficult to define when the foundation of mutual trust set into the professional relationship but over the decades, the affection grew and grew. His daughter Sanjana would often ask me why I loved her dad so much and I never had a substantial answer but she joked about me addressing him as my boyfriend and I would look at him, spread my arms and say, I would love him forever and I do...

Today, I think of Shashiji as family rather than as a film star. In recent times he has turned a recluse and hardly socialises but I often bump into him every time I stop by at Prithvi Theatre and never fail to blow him a flying kiss and tell him he is gorgeous! He never fails to appreciate my sari, hair or jewellery which is good sign because it means he is interested in life besides he has an acute understanding of weaves, arts and crafts.A On his 75th birthday I wish my boyfriend the best of everything in life.

Irfaan sparkles as Raja Bhaiyya

It was a week of surprises. Tigmanshu Dhulia's sequel 'Saheb Biwi aur Gangster Returns' proved a film approved both by the critics and the box-office The poster said Love gets shameless. It did but the censors passed the film and the audience lapped it up. In the prequel 'Saheb' alias Jimmy Shergill was injured so in the sequel he is on a wheel chair. In the prequel 'Biwi' i.e Mahie Gill was stone drunk, in the sequel she turns morbid at dusk hour and listens to sad songs while drinking. There is a new 'Gangster' Irfaan Khan and his love interest is princess 'Ranjana' alias Soha Ali Khan. The winner on the screen is Irfaan Khan who gives the best performance in the film and off the screen it is writer and filmmaker Tigmanshu Dhulia.

I spoke to Irfaan Khan hours after his much hyped airport detention and he appeared unruffled by the controversy. Dismissing the controversy as unnecessary he preferred to talk about his character 'Raja Bhaiyya' in the film. Said Irfaan, "Who would have imagined that such kind of roles and films would be one day made in India and accepted by the audience? We are living in terrific times creatively and in five years to come our actors and our films will be the best in the globe � mark my words this will happen and happen soon..!"

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