Remember the powerful role of Emperor Akbar in K. Asif’s ‘Mughal-e-Azam’, which was portrayed by Prithviraj Kapoor. No one other than him could have done justice to the role. The way he delivered his dialogues, to expressions and the body language, Prithviraj Kapoor’s indomitable persona was something we still can’t get over with. We all know that Kapoor family has a meritorious contribution to the Indian cinema. In fact, going down the memory lane now, the journey would have been incomplete without having Kapoor’s in it. But it was Prithviraj to introduce the Kapoor clan to showbiz and his genes continue to rule the glam town as we see his grandchildren Ranbir and Kareena winning hearts with their talents. Today on his 110th birth anniversary, here we bring you some lesser known facts about the patriarch of Bollywood’s first filmy family:
A law student in Peshawar (now in Pakistan), Prithviraj Kapoor realised his inclination towards acting during a stage performance and went on to pursue a career in acting. He took a loan from his aunt before moving to Bombay in 1928 in order to achieve his dreams.
Kapoor started his career with silent films. In fact he was also a part of India’s first talkie Alam Ara which was released in 1931. Later he portrayed the role of Alexander the Great in 1941 release ‘Sikander’.
It was in 1944 that Prithviraj created a theatre group named Prithvi Theatres. The first play of the group was based on Kalidasa's Abhijnanasakuntalam. Prithiviraj’s play were quite influential and had inspired people to become a part of the Indian independence movement.
An active theatre artiste, Kapoor staged 2,662 performances as a lead actor in 16 years. However, in 1950s the actor shifted toward cinema as theatre was not making enough money.
Later he collaborated with son Shashi Kapoor and his wife Jennifer Kendal and created 'Prithvi Theatre' in Mumbai in 1978 which was an amalgamation of the Indian Shakespeare theatre company and Prithvi theatres.
During the Golden jubilee year of inauguration of Prithvi Theatre, Prithviraj Kapoor's face was featured in a commemorative postage stamp in 1996. In 2013, his face was featured in a stamp again, to celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema.
A young Prithviraj Kapoor seen here with his family. Prithviraj Kapoor featured renowned religious movies like ‘Nanak Nam Jahaz Hai’ and ‘Nanak Dukhiya Sub Sansar’.
Prithiviraj Kapoor was honoured with Padma Bhushan by the Indian Government in 1969. He was also awarded the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award.