FRIDAY REVIEW

The Kapoor saga

ALL IN THE FAMILY The book deals with every member of the Kapoor clan

ALL IN THE FAMILY The book deals with every member of the Kapoor clan  

There is something about the Kapoors that made them rule the country's imagination for about 75 years. Journalist Madhu Jain has tried to unravel the Kapoor mystery from Prithviraj down to Kareena in The Kapoors — The First Family of Indian Cinema. Released by Penguin, the book captures the making and unmaking of the Kapoor dynasty — the socialist frame of Prithviraj and Raj Kapoor, the "capitalist leanings" of Shammi, the nuanced Shashi whom Madhu describes as "a perfect gentleman" and so on. Madhu goes into small details such as the daily life of the Hindu Pathan family, the male bonding, their love for good things in life and their weakness for food, wine and, of course, women. She brings out how an early and easy opening helped Rishi and how Rajeev had to bear the Kapoor cross. How blonde hair and blue eyes could not work for Kunal and Sanjana, but worked for Karisma.

There are even some "secrets" such as how Indira Gandhi looked for a bahu in Raj Kapoor's daughter. Or how Prithvi shared with his son the art of kissing, or rather not kissing, on screen.

Shashi says it was easy for him to make it to films because his brothers were already there.

"Had Rajji opted for merchant navy and Shammiji had become an engineer as they initially wanted to, the road would have been difficult for me." Still both Shammi and Shashi took five years to deliver their first hits.

Madhu says the Kapoor men can't do without their wives. "The Kapoors need strong women, women whose mission is to take care of them," is how Shashi puts it. "While my brothers worked seven days a week, I never worked on Sundays and had two vacations a year just because of Jennifer."

"Rajji made films from the heart. He was not a clever filmmaker like Satyajit Ray but his films had an earthy feel. Even Mera Naam Joker proved successful after a few years of its release," points out Shashi.

Rishi refuses to commit to anything, but with Shammi's son Aditya on course to direct a film and Rishi's son Ranbir waiting in the wings, the Kapoor juggernaut rolls on.

ANUJ KUMAR

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