He belongs to first dynasty of Indian cinema. His father started out as a theater actor and without his consent passed down the theater lineage to him. A shy, crooked teeth charmer that he was in his youth, Shashi Kapoor went on to become the chocolate boy of the Kapoor Khandaan. He shouldered the mantel of running the theater group started by his father. The torch-bearer of the Kapoor Khaandan, Prithviraj Kapoor, dispersed his qualities amongst his three children. While the first one became the Showman of Bollywood, second was deemed to be a sprightly junglee and it was his third li’l one who turned a hut into an abode that’d breed art, culture and theater.
A young Hindu Pathan, Prithviraj Kapoor, travelled from the North frontier province and landed in the city of dream. He assiduously followed the theater groups and performed alongside in different Indian states. This man had skills and knack; he was an auteur and an artist for he shaped the Indian cinema with his artistry. He loaned his precious possession to the world of entertainment – his three sons, who only turned sod into gold. History reads that Kapoor made his three children work in his theater group, the one he had started, and he would often pay them a monthly sum. This remuneration meant nothing for the first two children. But it was an epitome of experience for Shashi Kapoor. Shashi Kapoor started showing his interest in theaters. It was his destiny. He is said to have joined the film world only to earn so that he keeps his interest in theater alive. He’d use the amount earned from the films to invest it in theater. Such was his love for the world of theater. This world of theater was his destiny in true sense. It is here that he found peace, respect and love. In fact his wife Jennifer was the daughter of Geoffrey Kendal, an owner of a theater group called as Shakespearean. Together the two rebuilt the collapsed world of Prithvi Theater. Together the two completed the unfinished dream.
As you walk into the Prithvi theater you realize that this holds true. The ambiance is warm and welcoming. It pulls you into the melodies and the aroma of the literary world. This place was built with immense love and respect for art. It reflects. What’s admirable is that Shashi Kapoor and his wife Jennifer Kapoor made most of it all by themselves. When their efforts started showing, the film fraternity came forward and the theater was reinstated on the birth anniversary of Prithviraj Kapoor.
Now the baton has been handed to Sanjana Kapoor, the daughter of Shashi Kapoor. She has been performing her duties exceptionally well but the touch of her parents and their love for theater remains eternally engraved on the lemon yellow walls of the theater. Often bustling with the theater personalities, this isn’t a place meant for pseudo-intellectuals. Prithvi Theater is place that will widen your intellectual horizon. And while you are spending some quality time with your friends and family, an old frail man on a wheel chair might be sitting in the main cafeteria of the Prithvi Theater listening to the classical ragas and enjoying peace the place offers. Do greet him when you visit Prithvi Theater because it is ‘coz of his efforts that the theater stands tall and proud facing the salty sea breeze and entertaining the urbane masses.