No place could have been more befitting than ‘Prithvi Theatre’ in Mumbai to bestow the coveted Dadasaheb Phalke Award on the Bollywood actor Shashi Kapoor because it the same place where Shashi Kapoor learnt the craft of acting under the hawk eyes of his father the legendary actor and founder of Prithvi Theatres, Prithviraj Kapoor.
Shashi Kapoor who could attend the National Award function in New Delhi was presented the Dadasaheb Phalke award by Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday May 3, 2015 at ‘Prithvi Theatre’ in Mumbai.
The event was graced by Shashi Kapoor’s dear friend and star of Millennium Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek Bachchan besides the entire Kapoor clan.
Seated on a wheel chair, Shashi Kapoor received the award from Arun Jaitley and expressed his gratitude with a warm smile and folded hands.
The event also witnessed the same audio-visual being played on the big screen that was played at the National Awards function in New Delhi. The short documentary film made on the success journey of Shashi Kapoor featured comments and experiences from his close co-stars Amitabh, Shabana Azmi, Sharmila Tagore, Rishi Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor etc.
Speaking about ‘Prithvi Theatre’ and why it is was an apt place to give Shashi Kapoor the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award is because out of the three children of Prithviraj Kapoor, viz. Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor, it was Shashi Kapoor who kept the Prithvi Theatres going despite severe financial crunch and professional difficulties.
Shashi Kapoor in an interview informed, “It was papaji’s (Prithiviraj Kapoor) dream project. He was deeply passionate about theater and his soul existed in theatre. Hence he founded Prithvi Theatres in 1942 and used to travel all over India doing plays but within his heart he aspired to have a permanent place for his theatre company in Mumbai. Thus in 1962 he managed to lease a plot of land in Juhu (Mumbai) however his health deteriorated due to throat cancer and he died with his dream unfulfilled.”
“Hence I and my wife Jennifer Kendal decided to pump in all our resources to make Prithvi Theatres to fulfill my father last aspiration”, added Shashi Kapoor.