Veteran actor Shashi Kapoor, who has reigned and contributed to the Hindi film industry for almost five decades, has been honoured with Dada Saheb Phalke award, India's highest honour in cinema.
The veteran actor-producer, 77, is the 46th winner of the honour. Kapoor, whose performances in cult films like Deewar, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Trishul and Kabhi Kabhie captivated the Hindi audience, is also the third Phalke award winner in the Kapoor family.
"There was a rumour that he might be receiving it (the award) and now it just feels great to be honoured… I am grateful and thankful to the government for recognising his contribution," his eldest son, Kunal, told HT.
His nephew, actor Rishi Kapoor, tweeted on Monday soon after the news broke, "Yessssssss! Shashi Kapoor to get the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award for contribution to Indian Cinema. Well deserved uncle. God Bless."
"Third Padma Bhushan and third Phalke award in the family. Prithviraj Kapoor and Raj Kapoor being the other recipients."
Born in 1938, Shashi ventured into the world of acting at the age of four, when he first took the stage.
He worked as a child artiste in films like Sangram (1950) and Dana Paani (1953). His best known performances as child artist were in Aag (1948) and Awaara (1951), where he played the younger version of the character played by his elder brother Raj.
Shashi made his debut as a lead actor with Dharamputra (1961), and went on to feature in successful films like Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965), Kabhi Kabhie (1976) and Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Deewar (1976), among others.
A popular name in Bollywood during the 1960s, 1970s and until the mid-1980s, Shashi was one of India's first actors to go international. He is known internationally for starring in many British and American films, notably Merchant Ivory Proudctions run by Ismail Merchant and James Ivory, such as The Householder (1963), Shakespeare Wallah (1965), Bombay Talkie (1970) and Heat and Dust (1982).
Most of the leading actress of his era - such as Raakhee, Sharmila Tagore, Zeenat Aman, Hema Malini and Nanda - shared screen space with him.
Not shying away from multi-starrers, Shashi teamed up with Amitabh Bachchan and did 16 films together. Some of the memorable ones were: Namak Halal (1982), Silsila (1981), Kabhi Kabhie (1976) and Deewar (1975).
He had a breezy affair with English actor Jennifer Kendal; they met in 1956 and got married in 1958. Kendal died of cancer in 1984. Shashi Kapoor is survived by his three children Kunal Kapoor, Karan Kapoor and Sanjana Kapoor.
In 1978, Shashi set up his production house Film Valas, which produced critically acclaimed films such as Junoon (1978), Kalyug (1981), 36 Chowringhee Lane (1981), Vijeta (1982) and Utsav (1984).
He also produced and directed a fantasy film titled Ajooba, which had Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi in the lead role.
In 2011, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, and he is also a proud recipient of three National Film Awards.
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award entitles him to a Swarn Kamal (Golden Lotus), a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh and a shawl.
Minister for information and broadcasting Arun Jaitley conveyed his congratulations on the occasion, a statement said.
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, congratulating Shashi Kapoor on the award, said in a tweet that "his sensitive portrayal of human emotions has touched many a heart".
Prem Chopra, who has shared screen space with Shashi in over 15 films since Aamne Samne (1967), said, "He would be very entertaining on the sets and would pull everyone's leg, but was game enough to not mind when anyone would pull his leg. He was an amazing co-star."
Film-maker Shyam Benegal said, "He is someone very close to me. He helped me make a few films for him."
(With inputs from Arundhati Chatterjee and IANS)
Fans took to Twitter to express their love for the actor.
True recognition #DadaSahebPhalke to a brilliant actor and passionate producer, who gave so much to Cinema! Love you Shashi Kapoor Sir..— Prakash Jha (@prakashjha27) March 23, 2015
Yessssssss! Shashi Kapoor to get the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award for contribution to Indian Cinema. Well deserved uncle. God Bless!— rishi kapoor (@chintskap) March 23, 2015
Congratulations to Shashi Kapoor Sahab for receiving the #DadaSahebPhalke award.Salutes.— Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) March 23, 2015