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Bollywood's blue blood

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By Anita Joshua

The Kapoors: The First Family of Indian Cinema, Madhu Jain, Viking, Rs. 595. IN "Mera Naam Joker" — an RK production that bombed at the box-office — Raj Kapoor, according to Madhu Jain, wore his soul on his sleeve. So deeply personal was the film that a line from one of its songs — "Jeena yahan, marna yahan, iske siwa jaana kahan... (this is where we have to live and die, where else to go...) — still holds true for Bollywood's first family when its male bastion has been breached by three women of the clan — Karisma and Kareena on screen and Sanjana at Prithvi Theatre.Based on numerous interviews conducted over the last seven years, Jain's narrative on the Kapoor dynasty draws heavily from her interactions with Shashi Kapoor who she first met while asking for directions in Khandala. Each of the Kapoors who either straddled or pranced around the big screen have a chapter to themselves in this book, but Shashi Kapoor gets pride of place by virtue of being the author's "Khandala friend" and the person she first wanted to biograph.Beginning with Prithviraj Kapoor — the "socialist from Peshawar" who arrived in Bombay in 1928 with a hockey stick, a small trunk, a felt cap, Rs. 75 and a dream to become an actor — this account brings his family's story right up to the third quarter of 2005 which saw the media thrive on his great grand-daughter Karisma's divorce proceedings and the subsequent true-Bollywood style patch-up.


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