indian cinema heritage foundation

Shashi Chand Kapoor

  • Real Name: S F Kapoor
  • Born: 7 September 1934 (Bombay)
  • Primary Cinema: Hindi
  • Parents: F C Kapoor, Kushaila

Often confused with the youngest son of actor Prithviraj Kapoor, Shashi Chand Kapoor, better known as Shashi Kapoor, began his career in films way earlier in the mid-1940s as a child artist.

Born on 7th September, 1934 in Bombay to Kushaila and Fateh Chand Kapoor. Shashi’s father, Fateh Chand Kapoor was a film producer who produced films like Sawaal (1943), Lady Doctor (1944), Krishna Leela (1946) and Faisla (1947). While his elder brother Ravi Chand Kapoor became a renowned story and screenwriter, his cousin Mahendra Kapoor went on to become a legendary singer in Hindi cinema.

In 1943, when F C Kapoor started the production of Lady Doctor (1944), Shashi would visit the sets often to watch the shoot. While shooting, when the crew fell short of people for a scene, Shashi was asked to do a cameo. Thus, he made his first screen appearance at the age of 9. This cameo opened the doors for more work for him as he was called for an interview with Sohrab Modi, who was then looking for a young boy to play a small part with Mehtab in the film Parakh (1944). Shashi was offered the role and thus bagged his first role with dialogues. His film career had now taken off as producers started approaching him for roles.

Since he was quite young, his parents would often take decisions regarding which part was best for him to play on the screen. For him, acting in films was more of a hobby and so, to keep up with the different requirements for his roles, he underwent a basic training in fencing, horse riding, dancing, etc.

In a career spanning a little more than a decade, Shashi acted in 21 films. While he did cameos or guest roles in films like Lady Doctor (1944), Parakh (1944), Sati Ahilya (1949), Maha Pooja (1954), Parvati Vivah (1954) and Bhagwat Mahima (1955); he did small or larger roles in films like Meena (1944), Bachpan (1945), Tadbir (1945), Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani (1946), Renuka (1947), Shaheed (1948), Ram Darshan (1950), Samadhi (1950), Mordhwaj (1952), Sanskar (1952) and Daana Paani(1953).

His career-defining role came with Bhakt Dhruv (1947) when he was offered the lead role. The offer came from Prakash Pictures and after a few interviews he was selected for the role. The film was produced by brothers Vijay Bhatt and Shankar Bhatt and directed by Shanti Kumar. Apart from Shashi, other cast members were Jeevan, Mridula, Shanta Rin, Leela Mishra and Laxman. One of the most memorable sequences of the film was when actor Bhagwan appeared as Bhagwan Vishnu in front of Bhakt Dhruv as he sang Prabhu apni jhalak dikhao. The song, which was rendered by Mohantara Talpade and composed by Shankar Rao Vyas, became emblematic for Shashi’s fans back then as he was recognised as Bhakt Dhruv everywhere.

In Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani (1946), he played the role of Pandurang Kotnis, younger brother of the famous Dr Dwarkanath Shantaram Kotnis. A few years later he acted in Pandurang Kotnis’ wife, Kamala Kotnis’ own production, Sati Ahilya (1949) in a cameo as Shri Ram, an opportunity to work with a man he once played onscreen.

Apart from Bhakt Dhruv, Shashi appeared in lead roles in films like Bhakt Gopal Bhaiya (1948), Veer Babruvahan (1950) and Murliwala (1951). He played the young Krishna in the film Muraliwala (1951) wherein his mother’s role was played by the great actress Durga Khote. He acted in three films directed by Ramesh Saigal - Renuka (1947), Shaheed (1948) and Samadhi (1950). In Shaheed (1948), Shashi played the young Dilip Kumar and in Samadhi, he played the youngest brother of actors Shyam and Ashok Kumar.

His last screen appearance was in a guest role in the film Bhagwat Mahima, released in 1955. Thereafter, he gave up acting and concentrated on his studies. From 1942 to 1951 he studied at the Marwari Vidyalaya High School. In 1951 he graduated from his high school and started his first year of college at Wilson College in Bombay. He graduated with B.Sc. (1955), M.Sc. (1957) and LLB (1963) from the University of Bombay. Meanwhile, he also taught in Wilson College, Bombay in 1958, and in Kirti College from 1961 to 1963. He also worked at State Bank of India from 1958 to 1961 which was followed by him attending Michigan State University as a Teaching/ Graduate Assistant from 1963 to 1967 while also completing his Ph.D. in Mathematics.  

He became a US citizen in 1976 and lived in Michigan since 1963 when he first went there to do his Ph.D. in Mathematics at Michigan State University. He became a faculty member at Western Michigan University in 1967 and continued there till 1996 before retiring with emeritus status in January 1997.

Most of the films Shashi Chand acted in are credited to Shashi Kapoor, as the latter was more famous and belonged to a family known to produce a generation of actors and also because Shashi Chand Kapoor was not here to clarify the facts.

  • Filmography (2)