Shashi Kapoor, a titan of the so-called “Bollywood” film industry that has grown out of Hindi culture in India, has died after a long battle with kidney disease. He had been in the Mumbai hospital Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani for treatment. Kapoor’s nephew Randhir Kapoor confirmed his death. In reaction to the news, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he was saddened by the loss, and that Kapoor was “brilliant” on both stage and screen.
Kapoor’s career began when he was a child, and by the close of his career, had starred in over 150 films. While most of them were in Hindi, several of them were also in English. Kapoor became a crossover star in both British and American films. Kapoor was known both for his acting chops and his incredible good looks. His female fans raved about him, calling him the “handsomest star ever.”
His best-known movies include Shakespeare-wallah and Heat and Dust, which were produced by Merchant Ivory. In the iconic movie Deewar, Kapoor gives the famous line, “Mere paas maa hai.” When translated into English, the line reads, “But I have mother’s support.” Kapoor said these words in the scene where he argues with the fellow blockbuster star Amitabh Bachchan. The phrase has made its way into pop culture, with appearances on merchandise ranging from tote bags to coffee cups.
Bachchan was a common on-screen partner for Kapoor. The two of them starred in multiple films during the ’70s and ’80s. They played off each other well, no matter if they were playing siblings or enemies.
Not only was Kapoor an actor, but in 1978, he also created the Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai with his wife, the late English actress Jennifer Kendal. The Indian film industry recognized Kapoor’s achievements with the Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 2015.