He Called Me Babbua: Big B Remembers His On-Screen Bhai And Real Life Samdhi, Shashi Kapoor!

“Shashi Kapoor, Bollywood Legend, Dies At 79”, “Shashi Kapoor, Indian Film Star in ’70s and ’80s, Dies at 79”, “Shashi Kapoor passes away”.

With headlines such as these doing rounds all around, somewhere in one corner at a posh Juhu residence, an old colleague/relative/admirer and a megastar sat down to pen down words of admirance for the late star who was rightly called a legend.

Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor have together delivered thundering hits which were high on action, drama and emotions. With films like Deewar, Shaan, Suhaag, Trishul, Do Aur Do Paanch, Kaala Pathar, Namak Halaal, et al, to their name, they are inked in the history of cinema as the legendary duo most loved by the audiences.

A still from Deewar

When Big B heard the news of his ailing friend, he didn’t visit him because the last time he saw this dear friend ill, it broke his heart. In his blog, Big B poured emotions, words of admiration and fond anecdotes in form of words after Shashi ji passed away. And, they’re quite bittersweet!

“हम ज़िंदगी को अपनी कहाँ तक सम्भालते

इस क़ीमती किताब का काग़ज़ ख़राब था “

~ rumi jafri

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 ..


The words are laded with so many emotions and we’ve learnt a great deal from it about how much Big B admired Shashi ji. The sheer example of his inspiration about is hairstyle is just a mere exemplification.

R.I.P. Shashi Kapoor, you will remain the most handsome man and the veteran actor with exemplary acting skills in the hearts of your admirers.