Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur turns 76 today. Nephew of veteran Hindi cinema actor Dev Anand, Shekhar has emerged as one of the most noted filmmakers of the Indian film industry. However, Shekhar was discouraged by his father to enter the film industry and worked as an accountant and as a consultant for many years, until he finally listened to his call and entered the world of cinema as storyteller. Shekhar worked as an actor, a producer, but he is widely known for his direction. On his birthday we take a look at some of the remarkable movies directed by him.
Masoom (Hindi, 1983)
Shekhar made his directorial debut in 1983 with Masoom. The movie was an adaptation of Erich Segal’s popular novel Man, Woman, and Child and depicted the story of a married man who is affected by an incident from his past. The movie starred Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi and Supriya Pathak. Actors Jugal Hansraj, Urmila Matondkar also starred in the film as child artists.
Mr India (Hindi, 1987)
Shekhar can also be credited with directing India’s first superhero film. Mr India starred Anil Kapoor as the eponymous star and Sridevi as the female lead. The movie shows how the righteous Mr India, empowered with the ‘secret device’ invented by his father, fights off evil. The superhero movie also gave Indian cinema one of its iconic villains, Mogambo, played by Amrish Puri. Mr India emerged as a runaway hit at the box office.
Bandit Queen (Hindi, 1994)
The hard-hitting drama, featuring Seema Biswas in the lead, narrates the life of former activist and politician Phoolan Devi. The movie depicts the socio-cultural story of rural India where the caste system takes a brutal form. The movie was praised for its depiction of Phoolan’s story and established Kapur as a critically acclaimed filmmaker.
The film featured riveting performances from the supporting cast that included Nirmal Pandey, Saurabh Shukla, Manoj Bajpayee, and Gajraj Rao. Bandit Queen was selected as India’s official entry to the Oscars in 1995, however, it did not win a nomination.
Elizabeth (English, 1998)
The critically-acclaimed movie featured Cate Blanchett in the lead role and proved to be a gamechanger for the Australian actor. The film traces the initial years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, highlighting the struggles faced by the British monarch. Kapur also directed Elizabeth: The
Golden Age, a sequel to the classic, which came out in 2007. Cate won her Academy Award nomination for best actress for this film.
New York, I love You (2008)
A collection of eleven short stories set in New York, this romantic-comedy anthology boasts a stellar ensemble. One of the segments of this anthology is directed by Shekhar Kapur that focuses on the characters Isabelle, Bellhop and Jacob, played by Julie Christie, John Hurt and Shia LaBeouf, respectively. Other directors in this anthology include Mira Nair, Brett Ratner and Natalie Portman.