The skies opened up today as the legendary Shashi Kapoor, the romantic Hindi screen icon of the 70s and 80s, was cremated with state honours at the Santacruz Hindu crematorium here. The long ailing actor passed away last evening at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital here. He was 79. Shashi Kapoor was given a state funeral, which was held amid massive security around 12 noon in the electric crematorium. The actor-producer’s body was taken to the crematorium from his Juhu home in an ambulance at 11.45 am. Hundreds of people bid the actor a tearful adieu in the pelting rain. His three children — sons Kunal and Karan and daughter Sanjna — were there as were other members of the Kapoor family and scores of film personalities to say their goodbyes to the actor who straddled the worlds of commercial and art house cinema. About a dozen policemen draped the actor’s body in tricolour, which was later removed for the rituals. There were three rounds of fire to honour the late actor, who had spent more than four decades in Hindi cinema. This was followed by a minute’s silence. Hundreds of fans with umbrellas and raincoats gathered at the crematorium, undeterred by the rain and warnings of a cyclone.
Celebrities such as Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan, Shyam Benegal, Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Ayan Mukherji, Hansal Mehta, Nandita Das, Lara Dutta with husband Mahesh Bhupati, and Maharashtra politician Ramdas Athawale were amongst those who paid their respects to the actor. Writer Salim Khan, who gave Shashi Kapoor the iconic one-line “Mere paas ma hai” in Deewar along with Javed Akhtar, was there as well. An emotional Bachchan, who paired with Shashi Kapoor to give hits such as “Deewaar”, “Silsila” and “Kabhi Kabhie”, was seen hugging the actor’s family members. Bachchan also also visited the veteran actor’s residence.
Saif, who is married to Shashi Kapoor’s grand-niece Kareena Kapoor Khan, arrived early with Ranbir Kapoor. “I used to call him uncle. I was very close to him. It’s not only a loss for our family but for Bollywood,” said the “Chef” actor. Sanjay Dutt, Naseeruddin Shah, Anil Kapoor and Aamir Khan were amongst those present at the residence for a prayer meeting earlier in the day. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Poonam Dhillon, Shakti Kapoor, Dev Mukherjee, Sachin Pilgaonkar, Seema Pahwa, Supriya Pathak, Suresh Oberoi and Saroj Khan were also present at the cremation.