Today my parents are united: Shammi Kapoor's son‎
Thursday, August 18, 2011 13:53 IST
By Subhash K Jha, Santa Banta News Network
/> Among the many dreams that Shammi Kapoor's son now nurtures for his father Shammi Kapoor is a homage in Salsa form to the most untrained ingenious dancer of Bollywood. Quietly Shammi Kapoor's 55-year old son Aditya Raj Kapoor has been learning Salsa from Sandeep Sopalkar. Aditya will select his favourite Shammi Kapoor tracks and turn them into Salsa specials.

Aditya, a portrait of restrained grief on the morning after Shammi Kpaoor's glorious send-off, also plans a documentary on his dad.

But most important of all he plans a memorial for his father and his mother, the resplendent Geeta Bali.

Sighs Aditya, "You've no idea what happened when we took my father's body to the cremation ground. God bless the Administration for a supreme bandobast in spite of it being 15 August....

I wanted my father to be cremated at Ban Ganga because my mother (Geeta Bali) was cremated there...The send-off was unbelievable. And the whole Kapoor clan coming together as one family.. who but Shammi Kapoor could've managed this feat!"

Recalling his childhood with Shammi Kapoor Aditya says, "There's a black-and-white photograph we put up for the Chautha. That's the first picture I remember of my Dad taken when we moved into the house where I now live.

We moved in when I was 3 years old after his first flush of success with the release of Tumsa Nahin Dekha. Looking at that photograph, I remembered how much fun I had going for the shooting with him. Even when I was away, people on the roads would sing his songs for me on the road.

When I was driving down to the cremation ground with his body people on the way had put his songs on loudspeakers. Chahe mujhe koi jungle kahe was being played for the final send-off. The funeral process was going very slowly because of the number of people. People peeped into the ambulance threw flowers inside and said., ‘Yahoo. '

Recalling his childhood as Shammi Kapoor's son Aditya says, "From the age of 6 my parents did the wisest thing with me. They put me in a boarding school, the Lawrence School in Sanawar. Dad came every year for Founders Day. Pran Saab and Sunil Dutt Saab also came because their children were also there.

Sanju and Pran Saab's daughter Pinky in fact came to meet me yesterday. Pinky was my local guardian- sister in Sanawar. When I wanted more money I had to take her permission. My mother Geeta Bali an almost-uneducated woman, came to see me at boardingschool more often than my father.

My mother had given up her career and my father's had just started. So she had more time to visit me. My mother was the original Sridevi. She passed away when I was 9. The whole boarding school wept with me. She used to mother all my friends. "

Those were not easy years for Aditya. "Mom was gone. Dad had become so successful he had no time for me. Superstars today have organized lives. In my father's time fans had no access to him through internet, television or magazines. They'd barge into our home at any time. I was left with no space that I could call my own with my father.

It was my second mother Neela Devi who made that space for me in our home. She devoted her life to my father, decided not to have any children of her own because me and my sister were already there. No Hindu woman would do this.

From boarding school I used to write him threatening letters that I'd run away from school. I told him he could marry any woman he wanted. But I had to have a mother. Neela Devi was the best bandage on my tender wounds. She turned me from a wounded anguished rebellious howling animal to a humanbeing. Just goes to show, the mother makes the family. "

Aditya never stopped missing Geeta Bali, though. "My first and second mothers were different persons. Do you know, my second mother was a fan of Shammi Kapoor and Geeta Bali. She once went for an autograph.

Geetaji wrote, ‘Remember ‘M' remember ‘E', put them together and remember ‘Me'' Geetaji almost blessed Neela Devi as though she knew what was going to happen. Geetaji was very adventurous.

She was the only woman in the word who could punch my dad and get away with it. She is the one who made Shammi Kapoor into a star. Before Geetaji Shammi Kapoor was under the shadows of his father Prithiviraj Kapoor and his brother Raj Saab. Geetaji made that change of image into a ‘Yahoo' star happen. "

The death of his mother scarred Aditya for life. "It took my second mother a good ten years to heal me of that loss. By the time I was 17 I was a rebel without a cause. I was going to make my film debut. Then I found my spiritual guru. And he told me the three life-changing words. ‘Leave The Film Industry. '

At that juncture when I was to be launched as hero under the RK Banner right after Rishi and Bobby, I left. I was also assisting Raj Saab and preparing to be a film director. My father questioned my decision over and over again. But I was adamant. My Guruji instructed me to go into entrepreneurship. He put me to work with a shipping magnate Yogendra Madhav Lal, then Rajan Nanda.

Then I started my own company. For 25 years I never looked at cinema, stopped seeing films. The temptation to return to the industry never left me. After my Guruji's death too I didn't look at the film industry. Only after I migrated to Dubai did I return to movies.

Circumstances forced me to direct 300 episodes of a tv serial. I directed my first English -language film, followed by two other films. Then I returned to Mumbai at the age of 52 I became an actor...finally. "

Shammi Kapoor watched all his son's films. "He watched every single shot of mine in promos, trailers, films.... At the age of 76 he played the role of my career guide and mentor that he would've played when I was 19 if I had not left the film industry.

Now at my father's funeral the entire Kapoor clan came together. The cycle was complete. My father allowed me to go where I wanted away from home and do whatever I wished. Today I've allowed both my children the same freedom. My father wrote the manuel for our future generations. "

Sighs Aditya, "Nothing can compare with my father. I recently told my Dad I look, walk and talk like him. But for my acting I want to be compared with my mother. I can only try to be a good humanbeing.

Besides that I want to build a memorial for my parents. My first mother grew up in penury and died before she could enjoy a good life. Today my parents are united. "
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