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Amitabh Bachchan pays tribute to Shashi Kapoor in an emotional letter


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Bollywood legend Shashi Kapoor can easily be touted as an era in its own. His filmography down the years is pure gold treasury for Indian cinema. As the late actor left for his heavenly abode yesterday, his dear friend and co-star of several films, Amitabh Bachchan couldn't stop himself from writing an emotional letter for Shashi Kapoor. Just by reading the letter, one can understand the camaraderie the two superstars shared with each other. Indian cinema still recalls their famous scene from blockbuster film Deewar in which young Amitabh Bachchan asks Shashi Kapoor, "Aaj mere paas bank balance hai, property hai, bangla hai, gaadi hai, kya hai tumhare paas?". To this the iconic actor replied, "Mere Paas Maa Hai" and it was ever since then that cinema lovers couldn't get enough of these two megastars onscreen together. Films like Suhaag, Trishul, Kabhi Kabhie, Namak Halal are some of the big hits in which the two stars appeared in together.

Reading Amitabh Bachchan's heartfelt letter for his dear friend Shashi Kapoor will leave you surprised how the two actors kept their beautiful friendship going strong even after Kapoor had bid adieu to the arc lights. Senior Bachchan titled his letter as, "To Shashiji from your babbua" Their warmth and care for each other was known by all even when Amitabh was four years younger to his on-screen brother.

Yesterday when the news of Shashi Kapoor's demise came out, Amitabh Bachchan was amongst the first few people who rushed to his residence to offer his deepest condolences to the family and as well spend time with them giving all his support. It was after that when the actor decided to pen down this heart-touching letter for Shashi Kapoor as his tribute to the latter.

In the opening of his letter, Amitabh Bachchan mentions Shashi Kapoor as this incredibly handsome man, infront of whom he thought, he stood no chance at all. He then goes to describe his meeting with him at the Kemps corner and how he later got acquainted with him at various social gatherings. His further letter goes as below.



Standing elegantly without a care in the world, I saw him standing by a Mercedes Sports car, a convertible, a smart trimmed beard and moustache, adorning involuntarily, the face of this incredibly handsome man. It was a picture that filled almost an entire page of a magazine. 

Shashi Kapoor …  son of Prithviraj Kapoor, younger brother to Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor, making a debut in a forthcoming film, is what the caption read ..

And I said to myself, as very uncertain thoughts raced through my mind of wanting to become a film actor, that, with men like him around, I stood no chance at all ..


1969, and those early years of efforts to join the Industry were also the times when there was a close proximity, to the area of an atmosphere, that swivelled around this most attractive man. On and off, common friends in the Industry, which I was just getting acquainted with, would introduce me to him at select social gatherings ..

“ Shashi Kapoor !” was what one heard as he extended a warm soft hand out to you in introduction ; that devastating smile complimenting the twinkle in his eyes. He needn’t have done so. Every one knew him. But this was his infectious humble self. When he spoke, there was a mischievous, gentle, almost inaudible, delicate, yodel, in his voice - most endearing and comforting to the one he was introduced to. The self introduction habit, was a gem. The one being introduced to, was, quite obviously, prompted to say his or her name as well, when they heard his. It was a remarkable tool to come to know the other persons name .. and .. if and when there was to be another meeting after many forgettable years, the same technology was most helpful in remembering the other persons name, in case you had forgotten it .. !!

I must admit .. it was a technology that remained with me as a learning, assisting me in using it during those uncomfortable times, when out of the blue someone would come out to you and address himself as a long lost buddy , with a : 

“remember me ! we last met 6 years ago at the crossing of Kemps Corner, as you drove past and waved to me” !!!

My mind is warning me .. ‘of course you don’t, how could you possibly’ .. ‘stick that hand out ala Shashi Kapoor and act friendly..’ 

I obey .. 

‘yes of course I do’ ..  I say .. looking recognisably lost .. ( sticking hand out ) .. Amitabh Bachchan ..!!

And he would assure me with his .. and Kemp’s Corner and waving by, passing travelling vehicle, suddenly all come flashing by .. I am saved .. and he goes away with some rather impressionable opinions about me .. 

The next .. was his semi curly hair on head, falling carelessly over his forehead and ears, not quite covering it ..  and my upper story mumbled again : ‘hey ! maybe you should think of covering your ears as well ..’ … and off I went to Hakim the hair dresser at Taj Hotel with my plan .. and executed, it remained till date ..


What followed .. is a documentation of very intimate association, personal exigencies .. collective professional camaraderie .. ending in family bindings  ..

He had been ailing  .. somewhere he had let himself go after the passing away of his dear wife Jennifer .. I had visited him on occasion in Hospital during some of the times he had been hospitalised earlier .. but I never went to see him again .. I would never have .. I never ever wanted to see this beautiful friend and ‘samdhi’ in the state I saw him in hospital .. 

…. and I did not today, when they informed me that he had gone …


The words of the ‘sher’ at the opening came to me minutes after Rumi Jafri, eminent writer in our film industry, sent them to me on learning of his death ..

“how long could I have preserved this exquisite and expensive book of life ; the pages of the book were damaged ..”


He fondly addressed me as ‘babbua’ .. and with him have gone many incredible unread chapters of his and my life ..

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