It was a rare photo-op moment, even by Bollywood standards. Veteran actor-producer Shashi Kapoor, on a wheel-chair, was flanked by a bevy of yesteryear heroines — Rekha, Zeenat Aman, Asha Parekh, Nafisa Ali, Waheeda Rahman, Shabana Azmi and Neetu Singh on the stage of Prithvi Theatre, soon after he was conferred with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley in Mumbai on Sunday. They giggled and fussed over him showing their love and respect for a great artist and co-star.
“It is indeed an important moment as one of our veteran actors is getting the award. It is conferred on Shashi Kapoor, who is undoubtedly a versatile personality Indian cinema has ever produced… An actor par excellence who competed with the best and carved out best work as actor, producer and director. We are presenting this award symbolically at the institution he created,” Jaitley said after giving the honour.
The legendary actor was not able to travel to Delhi on May 3 because of ill-health to receive the award from President Pranab Mukherjee during the National Film Awards ceremony. And what better venue for presenting the honour to him than Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai’s best known cultural hub that was built by him more than three decades ago in memory of his father Prithviraj Kapoor, also a Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner. The other member of his family to win the award is his brother Raj Kapoor.
The event was moderated by noted actor and Kapoor’s nephew Rishi Kapoor. Shashi Kapoor is wheelchair bound and has been ailing from kidney problems.
Most of the Kapoor clan was in attendance to celebrate the award. A jovial Rishi Kapoor said, “The Kapoors have got three Dadasaheb Phalke awards and hopefully they will win more in the coming years. Today is Mother’s Day and here is the man who gave us the iconic dialogue ‘Mere paas maa hai’. Even though he was a commercial success, he put his earnings in making art-house movies, often losing money.” Ranbir Kapoor called his grand-uncle one of the best versatile actors.
Superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who was seen holding his hand and chatting with him, called Shashi Kapoor “a kind and generous colleague.”
Shashi Kapoor’s daughter Sanjana and son Kunal were seen receiving the guests. From the Kapoor clan, Krishna Raj, wife of Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor’s wife Neela Devi, Rishi with wife Neetu and son Ranbir, Babita with daughter Karisma and younger son-in-law Saif Ali Khan were present.
Prominent members of the film fraternity, who were part of the celebrations, included Hema Malini, Shyam Benegal, Javed Akhtar, Supriya Pathak, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Abhishek Bachchan and Pamela Chopra.