A scion of the Kapoor film-making dynasty, the celebrated actor appeared in a string of Indian features and Merchant Ivory films
Veteran Indian film industry stalwart Shashi Kapoor has died at the age of 79, it has been confirmed. His nephew Randhir told the Press Trust of India (PTI) that the actor had died in Mumbai on Monday after several years of kidney problems.
Kapoor was a scion of the celebrated Indian film-making dynasty, the son of Mughal-E-Azam star Prithviraj Kapoor, and brother of Raj Kapoor. Shashi Kapoor’s own screen career started as a child actor in the 1940s and 50s, appearing in films such as Aag and Awaara, in both of which he played the younger version of his already established brother Raj. His first leading role was in the award-winning 1961 Dharmputra, directed by Yash Chopra, which was one of the first Indian features to deal with partition.
A series of hits in the 1970s, including Jaanwar Aur Insaan (1972), Kabhi Kabhie (1976) and Trishna (1979), saw him become a major star alongside the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, with whom he co-starrred in Kabhi Kabhie as well as Trishul (1978) and Kaala Patthar (1979).
Having married actor Jennifer Kendal in 1958, Kapoor became part of the Merchant Ivory stable of English-language films set in India, starring opposite Kendal in Bombay Talkie (1970) and Merchant Ivory’s 1982 hit Heat and Dust. He also appeared with his sister-in-law Felicity Kendal in 1965’s Shakespeare Wallah.
Kapoor cut back his acting work in the mid-1980s after the death of Jennifer from cancer in 1984, though he did appear in Ismail Merchant’s directorial debut In Custody in 1993. He is survived by two sons Kunal and Karan, and a daughter Sanjana.