Sikar/Kolkata: Shashi Kapoor, the third son of Pritviraj Kapoor was born in Kolkata, may be known to many. But very few people would know that actor Shashi Kapoor had a special connection with Rajasthan’s Sikar district. Located 120 kilometers away from Jaipur, Rajasthan’s capital, Sikar became an integral part of the Kapoor scion towards the latter part of his life.
Seventy-nine-year-old Shashi Kapoor, who had played many a role to perfection on screen, was a hero, in real life too. In fact, the Bollywood star had played a crucial role in helping Excellence Girl’s School and B.Ed College take small but firm steps in Sikar district. The education institute provides free education to at least 3200 girls of Sikar.
A supporter of girl education, Kapoor had visited Sikar not once but five times, for the cause, within a time span of 8 years (2004 to 2012). And when health began to take a toll on him, he still visited Sikar in 2012, this time on a wheelchair. It was his last visit to Sikar.
Wahid Chowhan, an educationist of Sikar, was a close friend of the matinee star. It was through filmmaker Ismail Merchant that the two met. Merchant, a Bollywood filmmaker was Chowhan’s brother-in-law, while Kapoor had played many characters in the filmmaker’s cinematic productions.
Recalling his association, he told eNewsroom, “It was my brother-in-law Ismail Merchant, who brought Shashi ji to Sikar and Excellence Girl’s School to show what we were doing to promote girl education. After coming here and meeting the girls, he was so happy that he promised to come over, as and when invited by us.”
“Later, he became my friend. He was as good as a family member for me. Whenever, we invited him attend any major school event, he wouldn’t disappoint us. In 2012, he was not well. Despite being wheelchair-bound, he still graced the occasion. You can understand his commitment from this fact – back then Sikar, had no 5 Star Hotel in Sikar. He used to stay over with us for 2 to 3 days to attend functions, but he never refused to visit our schools,” said Chowhan.
“Even after providing free education we had faced mnay hardship. The society was not ready to send girls to school despite us providing free education, people were critical of us. But Shashi ji’s charisma and frequent visits made us thaw some ice. Last year, when he was unable to come over to Sikar, he sent his son Kunal Kapoor there. It is a personal loss for me,” he added.
Chowhan had even produced a Bollywood film In Custody, for which Shashi Kapoor had bagged the national award.
In honour of sauve actor, the school and college is observing a single day holiday on December 5.
Another Hindi film industry’s veteran actor, Dilip Kumar, had also once visited Excellence School, in Sikar.