“Aaj mere paas bank balance hai, property hai, bangla hai, gaadi hai, kya hai tumhare paas ? Asked Amitabh Bachchan to a teary-eyed Shashi Kapoor in Deewar and all that the latter had to say is “Mere Paas Maa Hai“. 4 words and it was enough to create an era of its own. Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor have given not one but a series of hits together in the 1970s-80s – Suhaag, Trishul, Kabhi Kabhie, Namak Halal, to name a few. But not many, particularly the current generation, know much about the real life friendship the two share and how even long after Kapoor bid adieu to the arc lights, the warmth between the two actors have only grown deeper and deeper over time.
As Kapoor (79) breathed his last on December 4 (Monday evening), Amitabh who considers Shashi Kapoor like family, penned down a heartfelt post in tribute of the legend with the title saying, ‘To Shashiji from your babbua.”. Through this post, Big B also gives out a clue why he was one of the last one’s to react to Shashiji’s sad demise despite being so close to the actor. Sr Bachchan did not go to the hospital when told of his friend’s death, just as he didn’t visit him more than once when he was alive and in hospital – he couldn’t bear to, Mr Bachchan explained, because he wanted to preserve the memory of Shashi Kapoor as he had once been. Here, are a few excerpts from Big B’s tributary post:
“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..!!
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.
The most emotional bit comes towards the end where Amitabh Bachchan talks about Kapoor’s failing health after the demise of his wife Jennifer in 1984. “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. He fondly addressed me as ‘babbua’ .. and with him have gone many incredible unread chapters of his and my life…,” the post concludes