- Name : Prithviraj Kapoor
- Date of Birth : Nov 03, 1906
- Passed Away On : May 29, 1972
- Religion : Hindu
- Death Place : Mumbai
- Address : Mumbai
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NAME: Prithviraj Kapoor
DATE OF BIRTH: 3 November 1906
PASSED AWAY ON: 29 May 1972
PLACE OF BIRTH: Lyallpur, Punjab, British India (Present day Faisalabad, Pakistan)
DEATH PLACE: Mumbai
OCCUPATION: Actor, Producer, Director, Writer
Prithviraj Kapoor was an Indian actor who was the first actor from the famous Kapoor Family of Indian Cinema.
Prithviraj Kapoor was born in Pakistan area of Faisalabad known as Lyllapur present in Punjab region of British India on November 3, 1906.
Kapoor received his formal education from Edwardes College in Peshsawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Here he studied Law for two years and became a Law graduate. It was during his college days that his acting talent came to fore.
Kapoor married 14 year old Ramsarni Mehra when he was just 17 years old. His first child was Raj Kapoor who was born in December 1924. Kapoor lost two sons within a span of a week. One of his kids named Devi died of Pneumonia and son Nandi died after accidently swallowing rat poison kept in the garden.
The couple later on had three more kids named Shashi Kpoor , Shammi Kapoor and a daughter named Urmila.
His Acting Career
Kapoor started performing in theatre in as early as his stay in Lyallapur and Peshawar. He shifted to Bombay (Now Mumbai) in the year 1928 by borrowing some money from one of his aunts. In Bombay he joined Imperial Film Company.
During his struggling days he worked as extras in the movies. But he bagged his first lead role for the movie Cinema Girl in 1929.
Kapoor did many Silent films like Sher-e-Arab, Prince Vijaykumar, Do Dhari Talwar, etc. He also did a supporting role in India’s first talkie film Alam Ara released in the year 1931. His later works were as follows:
• Vidyapati in 1937
• Sikandar in 1941 where he played the role of Alexander The Great
He later on also joined Grant Anderson Theatre Company.
Inception of Prithvi Theatre
Prithviraj Kapoor remained loyal to theatre for a very long time. In the year 1944, he started his own theatre group named Prithvi Theatre. The first performance was of Kalidasa’s play Abhijnanasakuntalam. The theatre group travelled all over the country and staged various performances. The plays inspired the youth then to participate in Indian Freedom struggle and various movements like Quit India Movement. One of the most popular plays performed by the group was Pathan, that was staged for about 600 times in Mumbai. In all the plays Prithviraj Kapoor became the main lead.
But, things changed by the 1950s when it was not financially a good decision to stage performances across the country. As Hindi cinema had strengthened its roots and the craze for theatre was declining rapidly. Many crew members of the theatre left it to make a career in the movies.
Kapoor’s son Shashi Kapoor and his wife Jennifer Kendal merged the theatre with Indian Shakespeare Theatre Company named “Shakespeareana” and Prithvi Theatre was inaugurated at Mumbai on 5 November 1978.
His Later Movies
One of the Bollywood Blockbusters of the Hindi Cinema is the movie Mughal E Azam released in the year 1960. Kapoor portrayed the character of magnificent emperor of the Mughal Dynasty; Akbar. In another movie named Harishchandra Taramati that released in 1963, he played the role of Porus. His subsequent roles were in the movies Sikandar-e-Azam in 1965, Kal Aaj Aur Kal in 1971 where he appeared with his son Raj Kapoor as well as grandson Randhir Kapoor.
Apart from the Hindi movies, Kapoor worked in regional movies as well. One such film was a Punjabi movie named Nanak Nam Jahaz Hai that came in the year 1969. Some other films were Nanak Dukhiya Sab Sansar in 1970 and Mele Mittran De in the year 1972.
Kapoor also worked in a Kannada Movie titled Sakshatkara released in 1971.
Postage Stamp to Honour Prithvi Theatre
In the year 1996, that was the golden jubilee year of Prithvi Theatre the Indian Postal Department released a postage stamp of rupees two that featured the Logo of the veteran theatre group. Also the years of 1945-1999 were printed on it along with the image of Prithviraj Kapoor.
Again on 3 May 2003, on the occasion of 100 years of the Indian cinema another postage stamp was released that has his image printed on it.
Awards and Recognitions
Prithviraj Kapoor won many accolades during his lifetime. Some of his major achievements are:
• Was awarded Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 1954.
• In the year 1956 he received Sangeet Natak Academy award
• He got Padma Bhushan by the Indian Governement in the year 1969
• After his death, Kapoor received Dadasaheb Phalke Award posthumously in the year 1972 for the year 1971
Prithviraj Kapoor and his wife both died of cancer within a fortnight. He died on 29 May 1972 and his wife on 14 June the same year.