Bollywood lost one of its prized possession today! Veteran actor Shashi Kapoor breathed his last at the age of 79 at a Mumbai hospital after being ill for sometime.
Apart from being a brilliant actor, he was also known for speaking his mind and made sure that he was at his candid best in conversations. We bring you an old interview of his dating back to 1995 where he spoke to journalist Priya Warrier and sprung some 'surprises'...
Shashi Kapoor Never Wanted To Become An Actor
"I ‘m a very lazy actor. My coming into films was kind of thrust upon me, not something I had wanted to do. Being thrust upon me, I did my duty and I worked."
He Never Used To Work On Sundays & Holidays
"I was on time, very disciplined but did not work Sundays, took six weeks off from work to be with my family. I did upset a lot of producers and directors, including my brother, Mr. Raj Kapoor, when I did Satyam Shivam Sundaram... I refused to work on Sundays, Christmas, New Year, Diwali and Holi. In the Hindi film world, there is no such thing as a holiday."
Shashi Was Not The Original Choice For Kalyug
"I got some of the best roles, like the one in Kalyug - which was a very difficult role and film - was thrust upon me. It was a role for Naseeruddin Shah. I came upon it by fluke."
A Shocking Confession
"My mum used to call me Fluky because I was unplanned. She had already had four boys (two between Raj ji and Shammi died young), and then my mum and my dad always prayed for a girl. In 1933, my sister Urmilla was born, that was a family and my parents were quite happy.
"Suddenly, after five years, my mother discovered that she was expecting and it was very embarrassing for her. She tried her best to get rid of me. Of course those were old times and there wasn't anything like abortion. She used to tell me that she would keep falling off bicycles, down steps, have quinine, but Shashi Kapoor was stubborn. There was a future. So I'm a fluke actor, a fluke star and a fluke person."
His Cute Revelation About Rishi Kapoor
"When Rishi was two to three years old, whenever he got hit by his mama, he would go straight in front of the mirror and cry, all the time looking at his expression. And Pappaji bolte the - ‘yeh bahut achcha actor banega'.
He Used To Call Shammi Kapoor 'Santa Claus'
"The first time I flew to meet my girlfriend (Jennifer was then my girlfriend), I had to fly because there wasn't much time, so I asked Shammi to lend me the money. I used to call him Santa Claus. Jennifer had even told Geeta bhabhi about that!"
"Shammi had an account at Colony Stores at Dadar Circle, where we got everything. Every month, he would get a bill for Rs 400, even though he hadn't been there! The bill would be signed ‘Shashi Kapoor'. On his birthday, when I gave him a present, he got very emotional. He told everyone, ‘My kid brother, he's in school and he gives me a present out of his savings. Next month, his secretary, Surinder Kapoor - Anil's father - showed him the bill!"
When Shashi Kapoor Threatened To Commit Suicide
"I wasn't feeling very happy about my Matric results and he realized that I was in an emotional mess. He took me to Matheran for a holiday. When I was sent to Barnes School in Deolali, it was Shammi ji who came to drop me there. Afterwards, I sent a suicide note: ‘The food is not good. I don't like it here. If you don't get me out of here, I'll commit suicide'. My mother told Shammi to bring me back. Khanaa achcha hona chahiye. Shammiji was very soft with me."
Not So Shubh Aarambh
"When I signed my first film, I had been given the script and dialogues earlier. As in theatre, I memorized my lines and went earlier than the allotted time to the Centre Studio in Tardeo. The director chucked out the dialogues given to me and decided on a fresh idea. I now had reservations of being compared to my brothers. I may not come up to the mark and when they realized I am not able to deliver, they would mock me. When I arrived at the studio the next time, I discovered that I had been replaced by a wicked young actor - never mind who! The film didn't do well."
He Is Indebted To Nanda
"My break came with Char Diwari opposite Nanda, directed by Kishan Chopra. I enjoyed doing the film but it didn't run. But I have always been grateful to her for accepting a newcomer. That was the time when big stars would not act with newcomers and no female star would act with one, except Nanda."
He Was Tagged A 'Jinxed' Actor
"Initially, I was called a jinxed actor by the film Press. I remember the day after Char Diwari flopped, I had to return the money to AVM Studios because they had cancelled me from a film they had signed me for and paid me money. I was very, very unhappy and hurt and went to Raj ji. He assured me, ‘This is only the beginning son. You're going to have this type of heartbreak all along. So don't pay attention to failures and don't pay much attention to successes."
On How He Bagged Haseena Maan Jayegi
"Prakash Mehra, who was then an assistant director (I had met him a couple of times), came to me out of the blue with a script. He was very honest saying I wasn't the first man approached, as he had done the rounds of the entire film industry. And all the heroes had turned it down. I told him that if I liked the script I would do it. I again had no fixations, that I had to do this or that to be a star. I never took it seriously. Jennifer and I would always giggle at all these nonsensical films. So I heard the script, it clicked immediately and Haseena Man Jayegi was a big success."
The Demise Of His Parents
"The entire Kapoor family got a shock in '72, - though we knew what was going to happen. The entire family was stunned and numbed by the sudden departure of our parents - Prithviraj Kapoor and Rama Prithviraj Kapoor. They died within a span of 16 days. It shook us all but also made us more mature.
Suddenly, R.K. Films which had been having a bad time after ...Joker, started to do well. Everyone in the family started doing well. Shammi ji was passing through that period of a hero to zero, Andaz was the last film and he was out of work. I was just getting out of that bad period. Then I got into films like Chor Machaye Shor, a big success, as also Fakira, Deewar, Kabhi Kabhie, and Trishul."
Subhash Ghai Compared Him To A Potato
"Subhash Ghai once said, ‘Shashi Kapoor is like a potato. Usko by itself khaana chahiye, to kha sakhte hain. Usko kisike saath dal do - chicken ke saath, mutton ke saath - uske saath bhi chalega. You can do all these things with that aloo, so also with Shashi Kapoor'. He was, of course, referring to the films I had made - multistarrers, solo hero, two heros. I suppose I am a flukie aloo."