Today, renowned film maker Shekhar Kapur who’s given India memorable films like Masoom, Mr India and the critically acclaimed Bandit Queen celebrates his birthday. He completes 65 golden years and what better way to applaud this day then by writing briefly about his achievements in the Indian as well as foreign film industry.
Shekhar Kapur started his film career as an actor in 1974 in the Hindi movie Jaan Hazir Hai followed by Toote Khilone. After spending a few years in the UK working as an accountant and management consultant, he had decided to come back to India to pursue a career in the film industry. However after the above movie roles followed by a couple of television serials, his acting career took a backseat. He then took the plunge in the field of direction by directing the acclaimed film Masoom in 1983 that gave him recognition that his talent so richly deserved. This was followed by Mr India that saw Anil Kapoor play the title role. This kind of established the so called super hero genre in India and its villain the infamous Mogambo enacted by the legendary Amrish Puri, one of the finest villains ever of Hindi films. Both these movies were hugely successful films.
Thereafter Shekhar Kapur was involved in two other productions as a Director which however due to financial restraints got shelved mid way only years later for the films to be completed by other directors. However, he didn’t let this bog him down. In 1994, he was commissioned to direct Bandit Queen. This film won him acclaim and tons of awards as well as criticism for the sheer reality it portrayed. Bandit Queen was based on the life of a former dacoit turned politician, Phoolan Devi.
Later on his patience and his talents got him another international project – a period film Elizabeth thatrevolved around the life of Queen Elizabeth I. This 1998 movie proved to be a high turning point in his career. The movie was nominated for a number of Academy Awards and even won an award for best make-up. Thismovie was followed by a sequel Elizabeth: The Golden Age in 2007 which again was nominated for a couple of Academy Awards. Before this, he directed The Four Feathers. Some sections of the people and the media accused him of being anti-British because of the way he portrayed the British in this film.
Not to let Bollywood slip out of his blood, Shekhar Kapur had formed a production company in the company of Mani Ratnam and Ram Gopal Varma. He was the executive producer of the Abhishek Bachchan starrer Guru. He also executive produced the acclaimed musical Bombay Dreams which has been running in London’s West End since 2002 and in New York’s Broadway since 2004.
Shekhar Kapur kept himself in the limelight by occasionally turning to Indian television whether to judge a reality show or appearing at the Cannes Film Festival as a part of the jury. His next big magnum opus is his Hindi dream film Paani. This film deals with the global water crisis and is set in a futuristic Mumbai. Whether Paani will be as big a film as his earlier masterpieces, only time will tell but for now we know the man with the Midas touch is not to rest on his past laurels but deliver to his audiences the wonderful taste of Paani in all its fine glory. And yes, the audience still awaits Mr India 2.