I did promise to do an extra special Shashi post today - but as my computer still isn't doing what I want it to (Boooo!), it will take a while to actually finish the whole post. The first part is finished, though and so my Guide to Shashi (and his shirts) will be posted in several installments.
Note on the language: As Beth, who insists on saying far too many far too nice things about me and who has recently joined the ranks of Shashiists, gave me the idea for these posts, I will be doing them in English. I just can't subject anybody to the torture of autmatic translations.
including Shirts, Skirts, Poetry and Mushrooms.
Let's start with two films that sort of mark the extremes of Shashi's acting career: Awaara (1951) and In Custody (1993). (Actually, that's wrong. Awaara wasn't his first film - according to IMDb it was his 12th! - and In Custody not his last - but I haven't seen any of the earlier and later films and they are great films so let's just overlook that ...) Awaara (which is not a very funny comedy as the organisers of Stutgart's Bollywood & Beyond Festival seem to think) is one of those must-see-films that probably don't really need any introduction. There are heaps and heaps of good reviews - so I'm going to concentrate on young Mr. Adorable:
He's actually very very good in the film, which shows him playing Raj Kapoor's character as a child during the first part. Unfortunately, there aren't any psychedelic shirts in sight - one drawback of black&white films - but we are talking about a film by the great master of psychedelic songs, Raj Kapoor, and so there is at least a song sequence (Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi) which really makes up for that. (Without Shashi, but well, you can't have everything ...)
In Custody, an adaptation of Anita Desai's novel, is the directoral debut of Ismail Merchant of Merchant-Ivory fame. Shashi has worked closely with Merchant-Ivory during his career - several of these films will be mentioned later on.
This film is also sadly lacking in psychedelic shirts and scenes - although there is quite a lot of alcohol and at least some drugs - mostly taken by Shashi's character, a brilliant but also very pathetic Urdu poet who prefers Keats to his own poetry, and his admirers (well, scroungers would be more appropriate). The great cast also includes Om Puri (as a University lecturer trying to rescue Urdu by taping poetry recitals) and Shabana Azmi and Sushma Seth (as the poet's wives - great performances from both!). Although the film is very flawed it still highly enjoyable and beautifully shot - and Shashi gets to recite poetry with that incredibly swoon-inducing voice of his. *sigh*