Book Review: Shashi Kapoor The Householder, the Star by Aseem Chhabra

Indian actor Shashi Kapoor was Bollywood's stunner with dashing looks. The romance with Jennifer Kendal through his association with English theatre – studded his married life with a strong sense of stability.


Aseem Chhabra's book: Shashi Kapoor The Householder, the Star with a Foreword by Karan Johar is not based on the tabloid rage and gossip. The author has invested on a fair amount of research to bring out his work with solid substance. He has successfully mixed and matched the gathered material by the interviews he conducted with Shashi Kapoor's family and actors, directors who worked with him. The photos from the archives flow charmingly with the stream of the pages.


The reader feels like the insider who has entered the courtyard of hero – Shashi Kapoor. Where the factual realities interlock with multiple circumstances of life, one can see the actor's whole personality, almost. He had a large heart with not much sense of style for hard core business. That was utterly true. Actor Rishi Kapoor describes this by saying, 'As with all Kapoors, Shashi Uncle didn't get much. He should have made a lot more. But the money got siphoned off here and there.' Shashi Kapoor's son, Kunal agrees. 'My father was basically conned. You can hide and fudge the accounts if a film is semi-successful, but with a super hit, how much can you hide?' And with his spouse passing away with the infliction of cancer, Shashi Kapoor was quite rudderless on his own.


Aseem Chhabra's book is a kind of special gift available to future generations of cinema lovers who will get material on how Shashi Kapoor has worked and lived his days. Everything is connecting till the end. However, the real end is also the type to tell that, presently, Shashi Kapoor has totally fallen apart with health. This is so sad.


The book is published by Rupa.

Geeta Chhabra

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