Bollywood legend Shashi Kapoor dies

79-year-old Hindi film industry icon suffered from kidney problems for years

In 2011, Shashi Kapoor was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honour.
In 2011, Shashi Kapoor was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honour.

NEW DELHI • Bollywood icon Shashi Kapoor - a star of 1970s Indian cinema and a member of the Hindi film industry's famous Kapoor family - died yesterday evening after a long illness, his family said. He was 79.

He died at a hospital in Mumbai, his nephew, Mr Randhir Kapoor, told the Press Trust of India (PTI) agency. Another family member confirmed the death to Agence France-Presse.

"Yes, he has passed away. He had kidney problems for several years," Mr Kapoor told PTI.

The actor had been in and out of hospital for the past few years for treatment of a chronic kidney disease and was on dialysis, The Hindu newspaper reported. He had also undergone a bypass.

Shashi - the youngest son of Prithviraj Kapoor, a pioneer of Hindi film and theatre - was born in the eastern Indian city of then Calcutta in 1938. He began his career early, assisting in his father's travelling theatre company and appearing on stage in a production of Shakuntala, a classic Hindu love story, at the age of six.

His Bollywood career also began in childhood and he grew into a matinee idol, appearing in more than 150 films and winning over fans with his charm and suave good looks, AFP reported.

He debuted as a leading man in Dharmputra in 1961, and his most memorable roles were in films such as Jab Jab Phool Khile (Whenever The Flowers Bloom, 1965), Kabhi Kabhie (Sometimes, 1976), and Kalyug (Age of Downfall, 1981).

Shashi's eldest brother, Raj Kapoor, who died in 1988, was also a famous Hindi cinema actor. Randhir is Raj's son.

In 2011, Shashi Kapoor was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honour, Times of India reported.

In 2015, he became the third in his family to be honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest cinema award.

The legendary actor was married to the late English actress Jennifer Kendal, with whom he established the Prithvi Theatre in 1978.

He is survived by his daughter, Sanjana, and sons Kunal and Karan.

Many took to Twitter yesterday to talk about the passing of an icon.

"Shashi Uncle was not only a great star and a passionate filmmaker, but a wonderful human being. His work has always given Indian audiences great joy... His passing away is a sad day for all of us," actor Aamir Khan tweeted.

India's President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted: "His support for meaningful cinema as a producer and pivotal role in the theatre movement in India too are cherished. Condolences to his family."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2017, with the headline Bollywood legend Shashi Kapoor dies. Subscribe