‘He bailed us out’: Rishi remembers uncle Shashi who would have turned 80 this month

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The legendary actor Shashi Kapoor would have turned 80 on March 18 and remembering him is nephew, Rishi Kapoor. The actor, who is all set to leave for London to perform his one-act play Khullam Khulla, can’t help reminiscing about the past.

He shares that he does not recall wishing his uncle personally last year, but in earlier years he would usually wish him over the phone because Shashi was travelling across the globe, shooting for one film or the other. “He was a superstar and a very busy one at that. This birthday would have been an extra special one for him because he would have turned 80. It would have been a big moment for the family.”

It pains Rishi that for the last three years, his uncle suffered a lot. “He had to go for dialysis thrice a week. And, I hated seeing him suffer. We visited him during Christmas, but that was a family tradition. The entire khandaan was there. So, it wasn’t as if he and I had any especially-allocated time together. I cannot remember too many of Shashi uncle’s birthdays, except his 50th. My father threw a huge bash on March 18, 1988. Papa passed away the same year on June 2, and the party was perhaps one of the most momentous things he did before he fell ill.”

He shares that his father, Raj Kapoor loved his brother Shashi a lot and was very protective about him. “He loved Shammi uncle and Umi aunty, his two other siblings, as well. There was a 14-year age gap between Shashi uncle and my dad. So, papa almost thought of him as another son. He also played the young Raj Kapoor in Awara (1951) and went on to do movies with him later in life. Shashi uncle distributed Bobby (1973) for us because my father was in dire straits after Mera Naam Joker (1970). We needed someone to bail us out. In that sense, Shashi uncle played an important role in my life.

“Besides working with him in Kabhi Kabhie (1976), I acted in his directorial debut Ajooba (1991). So, there are many milestones with him. I may not be able to recall everything. Cheers to him on his 80th. I will raise a toast to him. I am sure he is up there with Jennifer aunty, his other siblings (Raj and Shammi) and my grandparents. Shashi uncle’s death brought the curtains down on an entire generation. And, his passing away has left us ‘poorer’ in that sense,” he declared.

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