Movies and posts on this blog

Latest on Masala Punch

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My 10 favorite Shashi Kapoor films

Shashi-mania is sweeping blogland. Fellow blogizens Beth, Babasko, Shweta and Cindy have caught the bug. How can Old is Gold be far behind in Shashi-pyaar? Inspired by Beth’s Shashi week, I’ve decided on a film festival of sorts featuring films of OiG’s favorite #1! And to kickstart it, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite Shashi Kapoor films.

In a career spanning half a century (if we count his child-acting phase) and more than 150 films, he did everything from mainstream-masala to parallel cinema to cross-over films (yes, cross-dressing too, though, thankfully, not often!). Though I love his masala films, I must confess that I prefer his more restrained performances in parallel cinema. Anyhow, masala or parallel, any Shashi is better than no Shashi! So without much ado here are my favorite performances of his, in movies that I liked.

1. Kalyug (1980): Shyam Benegal’s story of two powerful business families locked in a deadly power struggle is widely considered a re-interpretation of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Shashi Kapoor was superb as the clever, sophisticated businessman Karan whose loyalties to one family and ties to the other lead to much conflict in his life.

2. New Delhi Times (1986): The story of a newspaper editor who uncovers a scandal involving corruption and criminal-politician nexus. Shashi Kapoor was great as the idealistic journalist who uncovers the scandal and has to deal with the unpleasant consequences in his personal life. The performance won him a National Film Award for Best Actor in 1986. 

3. Prem Patra (1962): Bimal Roy’s beautiful love story that stars Shashi as a medical student who falls in love and misunderstanding with a fellow medico (Sadhana). The romance is really sweet and Shashi’s performance is remarkably restrained and sincere.

4. Sharmilee (1971) – Shashi plays a clueless army officer of poetic bent who falls for a beautiful sassy young lady (Rakhee) only to be married off to her extremely shy and retiring identical twin (also Rakhee). Shashi and Rakhee look beeeeaaauutiful, there are lovely songs and a bizarre but fun plot that twists and turns every few minutes! (Check out how much Beth and PPCC love it, too!)

5. Neend Hamari Khwaab Tumhare (1966): A cute social comedy in Nawab-land! Shashi plays a young man caught between the ambitions of his social-climbing father and his own honesty against a backdrop of social hypocrisy. There are lovely songs and a cute romance between Shashi and Nanda.

6. Amar Shakti (1978): A masala swashbuckler (or Shash-buckler as Beth calls it) with lost-and-found brothers, evil villains, Robin Hoodian rebels, Shashi+Shatru bromance, lots of fun costumes, sword fights and of course – judicious scenery chewing. Its a fun movie and Shashi is awesome in the sword-fights!

7. Suhaag (1979)– It features Shashitabh – the jodi that defined masala-bromance in the 70s – in Manmohan Desai’s masala classic. Need I say more? Its fun unlimited!

8. Gautam Govinda (1979) – Shashi plays an honest cop in-charge of cleaning up a rural hamlet that is infested with more goons and villains than people! Enjoyable for his unusually kick-ass angry-young-man role and his bromance with lost-and-found brother (Shatrughan Sinha).

9. The Householder (1960) – In Merchant-Ivory’s first full length feature film, Shashi plays a young and rather dumb college lecturer trying to come to terms with an arranged marriage and a new career. Its an interesting film and Shashi’s acting is superb – nobody would suspect his character of either spunk or initiative! ;-)

10. Paap Aur Punya (1974): A fun masala caper set in Rajasthan, it pits one Shashi against the other (yup Shashi gets to play villain and hero, both) and also features my favorite jodi - Shashi+Sharmila! 

Honorable mention to three other favorites that didnt make it to the top 10:

Junoon (1978)- Shyam Benegal’s haunting historical set in 1857 Awadh during the Sepoy Mutiny. Shashi Kapoor plays a Pathan obsessed with his young Anglo-Indian captive (Nafisa Ali).

Kaala Patthar (1979) – Yash Chopra’s socialist-masala film overflowing with fossil fuel and stars. Shashi plays an upright engineer who stands up for the rights of the miners and helps overthrow the evil coal-mine owner.

Abhinetri (1970) – This isn't one of his best (in spite of the cuddly romance) - he plays a male chauvinist pig who is quite nasty to his wife (Hema Malini). It gets honorable mention because Shashi plays a scientist and looks exactly like the kind of guy I hope to run into - in my lab - one day!

Coming up next: a week-long fest of Shashilicious masala.

My sincere apologies to non-fans (yes I am aware that such people exist!) – worry not, regular programming will resume next week.


  1. I am not much into Shashi-world. But I love his Jab Jab Phool Khile most. I can never get tired of it.

  2. I do have to say he was one of the most handsome stars in bollywood back then. He was also quite vain though, as i heard he once said about Rekha "How is this dark, plump and gauche actress ever going to make it?"


    1. Forgotten BASEERA with rekha n rakhee, another movie (cant recollect name) rakhee n zeenat

    2. Forgotten BASEERA with rekha n rakhee, another movie (cant recollect name) rakhee n zeenat, one of the hits PYAR KA MAUSAM hit song nisultana re....

  3. Like I told Shweta,

    Happy Birthday to Shashi. I don't think I've watched enough Shashi movies to do a list. :(

    I agree, Shashi is one of the most handsome man ever.

  4. I haven't really followed Shashi Kapoor's films. But from what I've watched, The Householder was truly brilliant! I somehow find the film utterly charming :)

    PS Thanks for stopping by at my blog. I've added you to my blog list :)

    Keep writing!

  5. Shabash!!!! ShabSHASH! :) (How awesome is it that his name is so easy to combine with other words? I never get tired of that [and hope readers don't eitheri]!) All of the ones you named that I haven't seen are on my list to watch, and fortunately I have hard copies of most just waiting. I am SO EXCITED for masala week! What a wonderful idea!

  6. Darshit, JJPK is not one of my favorite movies but I love the songs.

    bollywooddeewana, he certainly was! And I'd heard that he said something like that about Rekha - must have been galling for him to admit he was wrong. lol To be fair, the Rekha of Saawan Bhaadon was hardly the diva she became later on and I myself am surprised that her first film was such a big hit (perhaps it had something to do with her super handsome co-star?).

    Nicki, worry not. You'll get enough recommendations in the coming weeks in blogland!

    Bhargav Saikia, The Householder was quite charming and I loved all the Delhi sites that showed up! :-D

    Beth, shouldnt it be a Shash-bash? lol Love all the Shash words you and PPCC come up with!

    I hope you are meaning to write-up some of those movies. Cant wait to see your take on them.

  7. Thank you for this one - and I soooo love Prem Patra, Sharmilee and Neend Hamari Khwaab Tumhaare... haven't seen too many of his 70's and 80's films, other than the usual Deewaar, Namakhalaal, etc. Though I have seen the honourable mentions: I particularly like Junoon.

    Oh yes, and another Shashi Kapoor film I love is Pyaar Kiye Jaa: he has a real flair for comedy, and with Mehmood, Kishore Kumar and Om Prakash in the cast too, it's a laugh riot!

  8. dustedoff, we are kindred souls! :-) I love Junoon too - it only gets honorable mention because the performances I remember best from that movie are those of Jennifer Kendal, Sushma Seth, Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi, not Shashi Kapoor. In his 80s movies you should check out the movies made by his production house - all of them are gems (except for Ajooba) and well worth watching.

  9. probably i feel many of shashi's movies have been missed, and how can one miss his award winning performance in deewar, then his highly matured role in kabhi kabhi and vijeta and basera to name more.

  10. Anonymous, this isnt a comprehensive list of all his movies or even his most popular ones! Its just a list of my Shashi-favorites and I've never cared for Deewar or Kabhi Kabhi. I loved Vijeta and liked Basera a lot too, just not as much as the others on my list! Would Deewar top your list?

  11. "any Shashi is better than no Shashi!" very funny.Seen Suhag and Kala Paththar.Willing to see the whole list very soon.

  12. Crazy on Bollywood, most of these films (except for New Delhi Times) are easy to find on DVD, now. Have fun watching...

  13. I fully agree with you - all those were gems and so is Shashi.

    What about Vijetaa?

    I also liked him in Ijaazat - small role, big impact

    His "chauffeur" in the super hit Waqt was also commendable.

  14. Yet another Shashi fan? Yay!!! :-)

    I loved Vijeta, too, just not as much as I love Kalyug and Junoon though. And yes, his cameo in Ijaazat was also great. In Waqt though he was too much of the diljala that Sharmila's character called him - unendingly sad and melancholy and lacking his essential Shashiness! ;-)

  15. I would like to watch -The Householder- on line. does anyone knows of any website?

  16. Have you, by any chance, seen Muhafiz (In Custody) directed by the late Ismail Merchant ?

  17. Yes I have, not too long ago, and liked it a lot. Merchant should certainly have directed more often.

  18. Shashi Kapoor is one of most charming actors..I luv watching his movies.Sharmilee is one of my fav movies..

  19. Reema, you and I have such similar views! :D :D

  20. he is awesome!!!! m a new new fan of d heartrob...!!!

  21. One of my favourite heroes. His performances in Sharmilee, deewar, basera, kalyug are my favourites. His boyish charm, charming smile and his unique dancing style always set him apart from others. I can still see aag gale lag jaye umpteen times n never get bored. God bless him with a long life.

  22. shashi kapoor is the best i can t put in to words how much i like him you re not wrong anitaraj

  23. I do not know who bollyviewer is but i am intrigued at how much my view in life corresponds to this blogger......
    lost in life and waiting for the perfect wave........

  24. he is an amaz'in actor.i love him.he looks like a british gentelman.i loved his pesonality in sharmillee.just outstanding.cute,sweet,lovely,vivacious and seems as a complete man.and yeah that 440 watts smile.ohhh gosh!

  25. I am a die hard fan of shashi, There are many movies that are not available online, like bombay talkie, mera pyar, suhana safar, jab pyar mile etc can somebody please upload these movies. i think there will be no one like him ever. His charm and chivalry are unparalleled. His eyes give away something about his good nature. His love for his soul mate Jennifer is very touching in a tinsel town where celebrity weddings never last. I wish he gave more interviews than he did to know more about his views.