“The first film I ever saw in my life was Jab Jab Phool Khile. I must have been all of 6 at that time. And it left a lasting impression on me. I saw it over and over again and couldn’t stop singing and dancing to Shashi ji’s ‘Hum Ko Tum Pe Pyar Aaya’. What I remember the most is Shashi ji’s charisma and natural performance. He was so effortless. Even for a 6-year old, his charm was infectious. As I grew up, I saw him in other films where his performance was the opposite of theatrical…and yet his love for the theatre is legendary.
My favourite Shashi Kapoor films? Oh, so many. My favourites are Sharmilee where Raakhee ji had a double role but Shashi ji left an equally strong impact…who can forget his expressions of heartbreak in the song ‘Kaise Kahen Hum Pyar Ne Hum Ko Kya Kya Khel Dikhaaye’? My heart breaks each time I watch him in that song. Then my other favourite is Haseena Maan Jayegi where Shashi ji had a double role as the Good Hero and Bad Hero. He was so convincing creating two contrasting characters. He made a terrific pair with Babita ji in Haseena Maan Jayegi and Ek Shriman Shrimati who married Shashi ji’s nephew.
In fact Shashi ji looked good with every heroine be it Nanda ji, Sharmila Tagore or Hema Malini or Asha Parekh or even Neetu Singh in Deewaar and Kala Patthar. I can’t think of a single heroine who didn’t suit Shashi ji. He was equally at home with his wife Jennifer ji in Shakespeare Wallah. I will always remember Shashi ji for putting all the money that he made as an actor in Hindi commercial films, into making non-mainstream films. 36 Chowringhee Lane is one of the finest films I’ve ever seen. I wish I had a producer like Shashi ji when I was starting out. He encouraged talent and art because he had a deep knowledge of cinema and theatre. Among his many talents the most important was his indelible connection with the forces of creativity. Shashi ji was a kindered spirit.”