Sunday, February 18, 2018
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The passing of Shashi Kapoor the other day cast a gloom among his innumerable fans in the city. Many people rang me up to inquire if he had ever visited Allahabad. I told them that as an adult he hadn’t come as far as I recall. But since Prithvi Theatres had staged several dramas in Allahabad including Gaddaar, and Deewar, it is possible that he may have come here as a child star in those plays.

Shashi Kapoor, it may be recalled, was a very successful child star and had done some excellent work as junior Raj Kapoor in ‘Aag’ and ‘Awara’, the two films made under the R.K.banner. He acted for the third and last time in an RK film under Raj Kapoor’s direction and the film was ;’Satyam Shivam Sunderam’.
His elder two brothers, Raj and Shammi Kapoor had visited Allahabad. Raj came twice- to shoot scenes for film ‘Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai’ and ‘Sangam’. No heroine accompanied him. The Sangam scene shows Vyjantimala also with Raj, immersing the ashes of their dear friend. But that was not Vyjantimala. She was a local artiste and the picture was clicked from the rear, I am told.
Raj stayed overnight in Barnetts Hotel. And he attracted a sea of humanity, if I may say so. But the manner in which he handled the crowds was unbelievable. Without a mike he addressed them in the auditorium, requesting them to move out peacefully, ‘or no hotel in India will give me a room’. Prithviraaj Kapoor also addressed a meeting in Barnetts Hotel of the residents of Frontier Province who had migrated from Pakistan. I recall his gesturing them to forget class , regional differences and break the ‘Deewar’(his play) which was dividing the nation.
Shammi Kapoor came in the ‘fifties just before he made his debut in film ‘Rail ka Dibba’ He was seen on the MCC field when cricket was on. He even handled the bat. When some students asked some unparliamentary questions to him—not to be published—he spontaneously replied to them in a style that caused laughter and not anger. Shashi Kapoor on the other hand was very serious and sobre. But more on him on next Sunday.

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