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Prithvi in print

Shashi Kapoor is busy with his book, The Prithviwallahs

Photo: V.V. Krishnan

It's book time now for Shashi Kapoor

THIS IS the month of the Kapoor family. On the one hand, Mughal-e-Azam (now in colour) has become the talk of the town. The film brings to memory the legendary Prithviraj Kapoor who has become a benchmark for his role in the film. His labour of love was Prithvi Theatre, which he founded in 1944. Working with 150 people, it staged eight plays a year all around the country for 16 years.

Dream comes true

Shashi Kapoor turned his father Prithviraj's dream into reality by giving a concrete shape to Prithvi Theatre in 1978. "For 16 years, my father kept on trying to find a permanent premise for Prithvi Theatre but couldn't. He died in 1972 with his dream unfulfilled. Jennifer and I took on the task in 1978," recalls a visibly happy Shashi.

Though he is passionately involved in the activities of the Prithvi theatre, he stays away from arc lights — "Are bhai uske liye bahut jaan chahiye." But he is all geared to release the book, The Prithviwallahs, this week. Mere mention of the book brings a glint to his eyes. "This book covers the years from 1929 to 2004. It is the story of how a 23-year-old man called Prithvi came to Mumbai after his B.A, L.L.B, and how he, without knowing anyone, landed the job of an extra in his first film and of a hero in his third film Cinema Girl in 1929. He joined the only English theatre company called J. Grant Anderson, which remained in India for a year, got trained and played the heroine in Nrachkritka, which I remade as Utsav later. He formed Prithvi Theatre, it got closed, it was brought back to life by Jennifer who sent architects to see how theatres were made in foreign countries. Of course, the book ends with how Prithvi survives now," he says.

The book is narrated to Deepa Gahlot by Shashi and is published by Roli Books.

RANA SIDDIQUI

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