When Shammi-Geeta Bali asked Shashi Kapoor to introduce Jennifer Kendal to family but he 'chickened out'
Late actor Shashi Kapoor had always been rather strict about keeping his private life away from the media and his fans. The actor married theatre actor Jennifer Kendal in 1958 but would rarely speak about her or their romance.
However, in his biography, Shashi Kapoor: The Householder, the Star by Aseem Chhabra, Shashi did reveal the story of how his elder brother Shammi Kapoor and his wife, actor Geeta Bali supported the couple.
Shammi and Geeta asked Shashi to bring Jennifer to meet the Kapoor family after they learned about their relationship. The book also mentioned that Raj Kapoor and Krishna Raj had also done the same thing for Shammi and Geeta before this. But before Shashi could bring Jennifer to the house, he got a bit nervous. “I chickened out because I thought I’d be thrashed,” he said. “So I compromised and took Jennifer to Shammiji’s place instead and Geeta Bhabhi promptly fell in love with her. A true romantic herself, she’d loan us her car and a little money to go out for a meal and a drive,” he added.
But all was not lost. Soon, Shammi spoke to their parents about Jennifer and their match was made, albeit ‘grudgingly’.
After getting married, Shashi and Jennifer became parents to sons Karan and Kunal, and daughter Sanjana. The couple also started the Prithvi theatre together. Jennifer was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 1982 and died in 1984.
In an interview, Shashi Kapoor had revealed he wanted to marry Jennifer the moment he saw her. Shashi was 18 at the time. However, Shashi's father, actor Prithviraj Kapoor felt that he was too young. Speaking with News Tak, Shashi had said, "When I saw Jennifer, when I was 18, I wanted to marry her immediately. My parents were (shocked expression) said, 'My god 18 is a bit young'. So I said, 'Okay, I'll wait'. I waited two years, then they asked me 'Do you still want to?' I said, 'Yes' and they said okay."
Shashi died in 2017 of liver cirrhosis.