21 March 2012

Archives: Sanjana Kapoor

A long time ago, far longer than I care to remember, I was a journalist in Bombay. Years have passed, the city has changed its name, and I now live in a land far, far away, rootless, drifting, never truly belonging anywhere. I suppose I could say that about my childhood as well, never having stayed in a place long enough to call it my own. Yet, for all that, Bombay was closest to what I would call 'home'. 

Digressions aside, people still ask me about my days as a journalist. I must say here that I was never a film journalist. With a double standard that seems amazing to me now, considering how much I love the movies, I thought of film journalism as something beneath me. To be fair to me, most film journalism in the nineties had begun to swing to the sensational 'scoops'; the indepth articles that Filmfare, for instance, used to carry, were things of the past. I truly had no interest in finding out who was having an affair with whom, or which actors were rivals-pretending-to-be-friends, or which actresses had catfights on outdoor shoots. So, apart from my boss, who swung violently between being Mother Hen and Dragon Lady, and deciding that I needed some sense knocked into me, sent me to interview some actors, I usually wrote features for the Magazine section apart from all the other nitty-gritty of getting a newspaper out in the long-extinct days of cut-and-paste. 

One of my regular readers has been asking me about putting up my interviews from those long-gone days. From the few I have with me here in the US, harvey, this one's for you.

This is one feature that I truly enjoyed doing, as much for the joy of going to Prithvi Theatres again (I seemed to spend my weekends there anyway - they had lovely samosas and Irish coffee at the cafe too), as for the pleasure of meeting Sanjana Kapoor. (Meeting Shashi Kapoor when I went to meet her for the feature, was a bonus.)
Shashi and Jennifer's children did not seem to be very interested in films, per se. Kunal, their eldest offspring, made a reasonably good debut as hero in Ahista Ahista; Karan, their youngest, was more famous as the Bombay Dyeing model than for any of his films. Sanjana, their only daughter, had made a couple of appearances in her father's films (36 Chowringhee Lane, Utsav, Junoon), and debuted as a heroine opposite Naseeruddin Shah, of all unlikely people, in Ketan Mehta's Hero Hiralal, which, notwithstanding its box-office fate, was quite a refreshing film. She was the first Kapoor daughter to make a film appearance, paving the way for her nieces Karishma and Kareena.* However, because of her anglicised Hindi, or the timing, or her own lack of serious interest, Sanjana never quite scaled the heights in an industry that her father had charmed for over two decades. She made Prithvi Theatres her life's ambition, and even though she is no longer in charge (she left Prithvi in 2011 to form her own theatre group Junoon), she will always be remembered as Prithvi Theatre's guiding force and its best-known representative. 

So, without much ado, over to Sanjana:

Feature (continued)

The Kapoor Family Album
(Source:IBN Live)

(Source:The Hindu)

*Please, please bear in mind that I was very, very young when I wrote this! :)
*edited as per Shashi's corrections


  1. I got excited and started reading but discovered that it won't let me read the article, unless you give me access!

  2.  So sorry, Lalitha. This was the first time I was linking to Google docs. Of course, when I checked the links before publishing the post, it allowed me to access the links (duh!), and I didn't realise that  I had to change my privacy settings if I wanted others to read them.

    The links are accessible now (I hope!)

  3. THANK YOU, Anu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    That made a good reading!!!!!
    Do you know that it is quite possible that I read your article at that time. 1992, I was still in Bombay. Some sentences (Rashomon) do ring a bell!
    And I did love reading the personal part of your years as a 'film-journalist'. :-)
    Thanks again!

  4.  You're welcome, harvey. :) If it hadn't been for you, I wouldn't have rooted around for my old articles. (Which means that, if anyone has an issue with the article, please direct your ire at harvey. "It's all his fault, milord."

  5. Oh, thank you, Anu! That made for very satisfying reading (and, really: you needn't have put in that caveat about you having been very young when you did this piece - I think it's great). A very interesting interview indeed - one thing which particularly struck me was Jennifer Kendal actually making, by hand, the bonnets used in Junoon. Wow!

    If I'm not mistaken, the main theatre on the Mall Road in Shimla used to be a favourite haunt of the Prithvi Theatre when it travelled to that part of the country. I'm not sure, but I think so...

  6.  Ha, milord, yeh meri galti hai! Sazaa mujhe milni chahiye. (shouting out aloud) Anu beqasoor hai milord!

  7.  And Anu is released without a stain on her character! Jai ho!

  8.  Thank you, Madhu; that's a compliment, indeed. You'd already made me smile with that review you posted; this compliment has chased the clouds away! Thank you!

  9.  As my mum says: "Mutual Admiration Society"! :-))

  10.  What can I say? We both have good taste. :))

  11. Like the other poster below, I don't see why you had to put that disclaimer, Anu. It is a very well-written article. Thank you for sharing! I remember going to Prithvi Theatres on my one of my visits to Bombay in 2000. My cousin took me saying they had the best Irish Coffee in town. :) (No, we didn't catch a play. Just sat around, ate samosas, drank Irish Coffee, and watched many theatre / film personalities walk in and out.

  12. Thank you, Sridhar, that's sweet of you. And yes, Prithvi's samosas were out of this world.

  13. Two corrections -

    1) Sanjana is not Karisma and Kareena's cousin. Their father Randhir Kapoor should be her cousin. She should be their chachi.

    2) Kunal Kapoor's debut movie was "Ahista Ahista" (1981).

    Not withstanding that, your article is just too good.

  14. You are right on both counts; it didn't even occur to me to think of Sanjana as their chachi. She can't be much older than them. I forgot completely about Ahista Ahista - and that was a very good film.


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