Shekhar Kapur (born 6 December 1945) is an Indian film director, actor, and producer, known for his works in Hindi cinema and international cinema. Part of the Anand family, Kapur became known in Bollywood with his recurring role in the TV series Khandan in the mid-1980s and his directorial debut in the cult Bollywood film Masoom in 1983, which won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie for that year, before gaining widespread success with the superhero film Mr. India (1987).
Kapur in December 2008
(m. 1984; div. 1994)
(m. 1999; div. 2007)
He gained international recognition with the 1994 Bollywood film Bandit Queen, based on Mala Sen's biography of infamous Indian bandit and politician Phoolan Devi, which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and Filmfare Critics Awards for Best Movie and Best Direction for that year. It was premiered in the Directors Fortnight section of the 1994 Cannes Film Festival and was screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival.
In international cinema, his historical biopics on Queen Elizabeth, Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), won the BAFTA Award for Best Film and two Academy Awards. He has been the recipient of the Indian National Film Award, the BAFTA Award, the National Board of Review Award, and three Filmfare Awards. In 2010, he served as one of the Jury Members (International Competition) at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival.
Shekhar Kapur was born in Lahore, Punjab, British India to Kulbhushan Kapur, a doctor with a flourishing practice, and his wife Sheel Kanta Kapur. The nephew of famous Indian actor Dev Anand, he was discouraged from getting into films by his father. Sheel Kanta was the sister of actors Chetan, Dev and Vijay Anand. Shekhar is the only son of his parents and he has three sisters. One of his sisters, Neelu, was the first wife of actor Navin Nischol, while another sister, Aruna, is the wife of actor Parikshit Sahni. His third and youngest sister is Sohaila Kapur.
Kapur's schooling was at Modern School, New Delhi. He studied economics at St. Stephen's College. At 22, Kapur became a Chartered Accountant with the ICAEW in England, having studied accountancy at the behest of his parents.
He was married to Medha Gujral, niece of former Indian Prime Minister I. K. Gujral. They split in 1994. Medha later married popular bhajan singer Anup Jalota (she was his third wife). She died on November 25, 2014 at a hospital in New York City of liver failure following a second heart and first kidney transplant.
Kapur then married Suchitra Krishnamoorthi, an Indian actress, writer, painter and singer in 1997. They are divorced. They have a daughter named Kaveri Kapur.
Shekhar Kapur started his career as an actor in the movie Jaan Hazir Hai (1975) and later in Toote Khilone, in Bollywood. He appeared in several Hindi television dramas, such as Udaan (Doordarshan), opposite Kavita Chaudhary, Upanyaas (Doordarshan) opposite Nisha Singh, and Masoom opposite Neena Gupta.
He turned director with the family drama Masoom (1983), starring Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi and a young Jugal Hansraj& ((Urmila Matondkar)). The plot followed the story of an illegitimate boy who struggles to find acceptance from his stepmother. He then directed the 1987 science-fiction film Mr. India, starring Anil Kapoor, Sridevi and Amrish Puri in his most famous role as the villain Mogambo. Puri's most famous dialogue in this film "Mogambo Khush Hua" is still remembered. In 1994 he directed the critically acclaimed Bandit Queen and played a cameo in the film as a truck driver.
Kapur was infamous for abandoning several films he was originally the director of. He was originally the director of the 1989 film Joshilaay, which starred Sunny Deol, Anil Kapoor, Sridevi and Meenakshi Sheshadri before leaving the production halfway, and its producer Sibti Hassan Rizvi stepped in to complete the film. In 1992, he had shot some scenes for Barsaat, which was originally titled Champion and was going to be the debut film of Bobby Deol, but he left the production and was replaced by Rajkumar Santoshi. In 1992, he was set to direct the science-fiction film titled Time Machine, which was to star Aamir Khan, Raveena Tandon, Naseeruddin Shah and Rekha, but he abandoned the project halfway through due to financial problems. The film was left incomplete, although there were talks many years later that Kapur would revive the project with a new cast, which never happened. In 1995, he partly directed Dushmani, starring Sunny Deol, Jackie Shroff and Manisha Koirala before its producer Bunty Soorma stepped in to complete the film.
In 1998, he received international recognition for the second time after Bandit Queen, when he directed the Academy Award-winning period film Elizabeth, a fictional account of the reign of British Queen Elizabeth I nominated for seven Oscars. The 2007 sequel, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, was nominated for two Oscars. He was accused of being anti-British by British tabloids for his portrayal of the British Army and the Empire in the 2002 movie The Four Feathers. However, he denied being anti-British and stated that he was merely "anti-colonisation".
Kapur was the executive producer of the film The Guru. He established an Indian film company with Ram Gopal Verma and Mani Ratnam, though the group has thus far produced only one film, Dil Se.. (1998), starring Shahrukh Khan and Manisha Koirala. Kapur executive-produced the Bollywood-themed musical Bombay Dreams by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which has been running in London's the West End since 2002 and on Broadway in New York City since 2004.
In 2005, Kapur worked with Okan Quail on Hunji!, a story of a young Indian maid who idolised Sachin Tendulkar. Although it gained some[who?] acclaim as one of his finest films, critics across the UK and India called it a flop.
In 2006, Kapur formed Liquid Comics and Virgin Animation, an entertainment company focused on creating new stories and characters for a global audience. The Shakti titles of Kapur and Deepak Chopra's company debuted with Devi and The Sadhu. Devi is about "a fierce feminine warrior, stronger than the Gods themselves ... a champion of the heavens, and the protector of man", while The Sadhu is about one man's choice between his spiritual oath and his human instinct."
He has announced that he will direct Little Dragon, an authorized biopic of martial arts legend Bruce Lee.
A third episode in the Queen Elizabeth series, Elizabeth: The Dark Age, is planned. According to screenwriter John Rogers, the success of Elizabeth led to Kapur being tapped to work on an adaptation of Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, but the project was eventually shelved. Kapur tentatively planned to helm a motion picture account of the life of the Buddha, titled Buddha, but the plans were dropped for unstated reasons. He planned to adapt Larklight, a book by Philip Reeve. Kapur traveled to Yerevan, Armenia to explore the possibility of making a film about the Armenian Genocide.
He is set to direct Paani. The film is reported to star Sushant Singh Rajput and will be produced by Aditya Chopra. Its music will be composed by A. R. Rahman. The announcement was made at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival in 2010.
One of his shelved projects was a film tentatively titled The Nine o'Clock War, which he had planned with his longtime friend and previous collaborator, the Australian actor Heath Ledger in the role of a popular television news anchor. It never happened, as a result of the actor's unexpected death in 2008.
- Civilian honor
- BAFTA Award for Best Film – (director) – Elizabeth (1998)
- National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi (director) – Bandit Queen (1994)
|2002||The Four Feathers|
|2007||Elizabeth: The Golden Age|
|2008||New York, I Love You|
|1974||Ishq Ishq Ishq|
|1975||Jaan Hazir Hai|
|1984||Bindiya Chamkegi||Raj A. Kumar|
|1988||Falak (The Sky)||Inspector Jimmy|
|1991||Nazar||Antique Dealer/Money Lender|
|2013||Vishwaroopam||R.A.W Agent Colonel Jagannath||Tamil film|
|2016||Teraa Surroor||As Rajeev Kaul - Indian ambassador|
|2018||Vishwaroopam II||R.A.W Agent Colonel Jagannath||Tamil film|
|1998||Dil Se..||executive producer|
|2002||The Guru||executive producer|
|2011||Bollywood: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told||documentary|
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