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Prithviraj Kapoor Birth Anniversary: Lesser Known Facts About the Film and Theatre Pioneer

On the 113th birth anniversary of Prithviraj Kapoor, here are some of the lesser-known facts about the film and theatre stalwart.

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Updated:November 3, 2019, 4:25 PM IST
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Prithviraj Kapoor Birth Anniversary: Lesser Known Facts About the Film and Theatre Pioneer
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The first family of Bollywood, the Kapoor clan, has given many a talent to Hindi films and theatre. Led by the vision of Prithviraj Kapoor, the family continues to keep his legacy alive. Besides his outstanding contribution to films, he also forged a new path in theatre in India, the symbol of which, Prithvi Theatre, continues to keep the tradition alive.

Prithviraj Kapoor started his career as an actor in the silent era of Hindi cinema, and was associated with Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA) as one of its founding members. With accolades like Padma Bhushan in 1969 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1971, Prithviraj Kapoor set a very high benchmark for anyone who sought follow in his footsteps.

The easiest way to remember the actor is to recall his iconic role of Akbar from the Mughal-e-Azam. The legendary actor passed away on May 29, 1971, aged 64. On his 113th birth anniversary, here are some of the lesser-known facts about the stalwart:

1. Prithviraj Kapoor was born as Prithvinath Kapoor in Lyallpur District, Punjab, British India, which is presently in Pakistan. In his native village, the Kapoor patriarch started his acting career as a theatre artist.

2. In 1928, Prithviraj moved to Bombay and joined the Imperial Films Company. While he did some minor roles initially, he got his first lead role in Cinema Girl.

3. The veteran actor has acted in a total of nine silent films. Some of these include Do Dhari Talwar, Sher-e-Arab and Prince Vijaykumar. In the first talkie, Alam Ara, Kapoor played a supporting role.

4. Privithiraj Kapoor has been long associated with theatre. He has been part of IPTA and Grant Anderson Theater Company. He also founded Prithvi Theatre in 1944. It produced a number of patriotic plays to inspire the generation to join the Indian freedom movement.

5. At the Privthi Theatres, the actor staged over 2,660 performances,starring in the lead role.

6. The film, Kal Aaj aur Kal, featured three generations of the Kapoor family - son Raj Kapoor, grandson Randhir Kapoor and Prithviraj himself. This is not the only movie where Kapoor generation has acted together. In Raj Kapoor's film Awara, Prithviraj's father, Dewan Basheswarnath Kapoor had done a cameo role.

7. He played the lead role in Bengali drama Seeta (1933), which became the first Indian movie to be shown at a Global Film festival.

8. He also played a supporting role in Heer Raanjha (1970), the first Bollywood movie to have dialogues in poetic verses.

9. Prithviraj Kapoor was entirely dedicated to Mughal-e-Azam. He agreed to put on weight for the role, and acted in only 1 other film between 1952 and 1960.

10. Surinder Kapoor, the famous Bollywood producer and father of actor Anil Kapoor, was a cousin of Prithviraj Kapoor.

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