Shashi Kapoor & Leela Naidu in The Householder (1963).


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As part of Beth Love Bollywood’s Shashi Week 2009 I would like to add my humble contribution recognizing Mr. Shashi Kapoor’s greatness in Merchant Ivory’s The Householder (1963).   Since it’s the end of the Shashi week, I thought it fitting to show images from The Householder, since it captures Shashi at the beginning of his career. The DVD I watched of the film included a 2003 interview with Shashi as part of the Conversation with the filmmakers,so there’s also an almost current version of Shashi.

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This segment included stills of  the 25 year old Shashi, here pictured with the late Ismail Merchant. Skip ahead to 2003 and  an older and wiser pashmina wearing Shashi is captured. Shashi then and now:

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In this 2003 interview Shashi talks about how Merchant approached him for the part but the screen writer and novelist Ruth Prawar Jhabvala at first rejected him because she thought he was too good looking for the part. He describes going out and getting a budget, more pedestrian looking haircut to make him more suitable for the role.  Here’s a bit about how the Merchant Ivory site describes the film:

Filmed entirely on location in Delhi, The Householder is a comedy that revolves around Prem (Shashi Kapoor), a young teacher at a boys’ college who has been married to the beautiful but retiring Indu (Leela Naidu). Little more than a boy himself, at least in the face of his imperious, impossible mother (Durga Khote), Prem struggles with the burden of his responsibilites as a husband and, when Indu becomes pregnant, with his impending duties as a father. Prem’s fumbling and his mother’s constant belittling become too much for Indu to bear, and she leaves her husband to return to her family home. Left alone with his mother (who delights in her newfound umbilical arrangement), Prem seeks enlightenment from an older married man, from a swami, and from Westerners who have come to India with orientalist illusions and Silk Road naivété. Only then, in Indu’s absence, does Prem fall in love with his wife. (source)

Enjoy these images of Shashi’s Prem in the first part of The Householder, acting like a young married brat complaing to his wife:

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Complaining about his wife:

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I’m not house-proud either Shashi, I mean Prem.  In fact, I’m avoiding housework by blogging about YOU!  Prem even wishes his wife were more like a film star:

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Not me Prem/Shashi,  I hadn’t heard of Nimmi, so I looked her up HERE.  I will make sure to see one of her films now that I know about her.  He keeps bad company who provide poor advice about women and marriage:

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Eventually Prem comes around to appreciate the lovely Indu (Leela Naidu), who gives him the love and support he needs. (more on Leela HERE)

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And they lived happily ever after:

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Merchant Ivory’s site included an great article entitled, There, Where It All Began,  from the Delhi Times on how Merchant, Ivory and Kapoor started their partnership, which includes some of the following plus a photo of Shashi:

It is a long, winding road that leads to 7/7, Daryaganj. Equally long-winding is the celluloid history of yesterday-today1this house, dating back as it does to 41 years. But for three men – Ismail Merchant, James Ivory and Shashi Kapoor – this house is not just about celluloid history: it is about a partner ship which was forged on February 24, 1962 – a partnership which has stood the test of time. For this huge house is where Merchant, Ivory and Kapoor canned the first shot of The Householder - the movie which brought them together for the first time…While sipping on a glass of cola, Ivory points to the beverage and reminisces, “This was the one thing that kept me alive through those 10 weeks of shooting here.” “Yeah! You were always so quiet and bothered,” says Kapoor. “Absolutely, I was always standing under the fan,” confirms Ivory. Having returned to the roots of a 40-year bond, the thoughts of the three men is insightful. How do they feel? “Old,” laughs Kapoor. “Good,” quips Merchant. “Happy,” says Ivory, and gets a picture clicked on what was his first film set. (source)

If you get a chance to see The Householder, go on to see Merchant Ivory’s Heat and Dust (1983),  featuring Shashi playing the part of a scoundrel nawab, which I featured in THIS POST.  Hey, it’s not bollywood, but it stars Shashi, so that’s close enough for me. Now head over to Beth’s site to continue your celebration of Shashi Week 2009 ! Then stop over to Apni East India Company to enjoy more Shashi action! And the jump to Roti Kapada aur Rum for even more Shashi! And here’s one more for the road:

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9 thoughts on “Shashi Kapoor & Leela Naidu in The Householder (1963).

  1. Vah vah! Shabshash! I thoroughly applaud all contributions to Shashi Week, especially ones that cover a very, very good movie. That shot of MIK on the set is adorable. And Nimmi – man, I loves me some Nimmi, now that I’ve seen her twice (with tragedy tyrants Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar – Nimmi is awesome at being tragic).

    Sita, if you haven’t seen Shakespeare-Wallah yet, by all means run out and do so. (Or wait for me and we’ll have a midwestern Bolly MIK meetup of fabness!)

  2. Clapping! I LOVE Heat and Dust- Shashi was fantabulous, but it also had Zakir Husaain, another curly haired cutie joining in.

    Also love that pic of Merchant, Ivory and Shashi revisitng the house. Adorable.

    [sigh] shashi week should go on forever.

  3. Stella_1-ji,
    Thanks friend! I look forward to your impressions after you see one of them. Shashi was very young in this one, and very cute. In Heat and Dust he was a bit older and played a real jerlk of a guy and a fantastic job. and in ShakespeareWalla he was a player… I like Shashi in all forms. My posts are all just excuses to post screen caps. :)

  4. Pingback: Images of Leela Naidu from Anuradha (1960) and Trikaal (1885) « Bollywood Food Club

  5. Mmmm… now I want to see this too: can’t wait to get my grubby paws on it. Shashi Kapoor looks so gorgeous, Leela Naidu is soooo beautiful, and that story sounds right up my street (as does that bit about not being house proud!! Yay!)

  6. I don’t know if this conversation can be continued now, half a year after the previouas comment… But I can’t help replying having just seen the movie.
    I’ve seen some fragments from “The Householder” before and have used to think it’s boring and Shashi is not bright here. What a lesson to me not to make light-minded conclusions about the whole by its parts!
    I am more than fascinated now by the film and course by Shashi. And more than surprised by the style and atmosphere of the unfolding story. So touching and so natural! (I even thought if it was easy for Shashi to act later in movies like “Kranti” – with a noble idea but poor scenario and staging).
    Tender and deligtful – are the words for dear Shashi and “The Householder”!

    • Irina-ji,
      Well of course it can be continued now through the magic of the internet. This movie is subtle at first, so can seem almost boring, but it really builds and grows on you as you watch and think about it, and even more so after viewing. To me that’s the sign of a great film. The struggle of 2 young strangers getting to know each other and then grow to love each other is done very well here. I love how self centered and snotty Shashi’s character was, and didn’t he capture that perfectly? Tender and delightful is an apt description. I love the evolution of his maturity. He’s really just a kid in the beginning. I have yet to see “Kranti” but will one day. Thanks for taking the time to come and share your reflections on the movie. :)

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