The pioneer, of Indian theatre and Hindi film industry Prithviraj Kapoor was born on 3rd November 1906 into a Punjabi Hindu family of Samundri, Samundri Tehsil, Lyallpur District, Punjab, British India.
The actor began his career in the theatres of Lyallpur and Peshawar. With the help of a loan from his aunt, he moved to Bombay and first worked as an extra in his first film, Do Dhari Talwar, though he went on to earn a lead role for his third film, titled Cinema Girl, in 1929.
After acting in silent films, he bagged a supporting role in India’s first film talkie, Alam Ara which released in 1931. After that, Prithviraj Kapoor starred in many iconic films like Alexander The Great, Awara, Mughal-E-Azam amongst others. On his 112th birth anniversary today, we take a look back at his journey as recalled by his sister Shanta Kapoor Dhawan.
Theatre Was His First Love “Theatre was Prithviraj’s first love, and he started acting in a Ramlila when he was but a boy. He also did some theatre in Lyallpur (now Faisalabad) and Peshawar. He joined a law course at Lahore but quit in the first year to join Grant Anderson Theatre Company in Calcutta,” recalled Shanta.
The Struggling Days “Bhapa (Prithviraj) would later tell us that six actors would share one blade to shave. But soon he was offered a job by BN Sircar of New Theatres, who had also discovered KL Saigal, at a salary of Rs 60 a month; it was raised to Rs 250 and the next raise was to to Rs 500. With such a handsome salary for those times, Bhapa brought his family to Calcutta. Those were times when 20 eggs came for 4 anna (25 paisa) , 100 langra mangoes for a rupee.”
The Trio Prithviraj acted alongside his son, Raj Kapoor and grandson, Randhir Kapoor in Kal Aaj Aur Kal which released in 1971.
Play Stories Kunal Kapoor recollects, “I think Prithviraj Kapoor’s plays at the core are very relevant today. They are about human conditions that have gone on for thousands of years under one pretext or the other.”>