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Prithviraj Kapoor Biography

Prithviraj Kapoor was an eminent actor of Indian theatre and of the Hindi film industry. This attractive hero ruled the film industry for 40 years with his magnetic personality. He was born on 3rd November 1906 in a middle-class landlord family of Peshawar in Pakistan.

His father Dewan Basheswarnath Kapoor was a police officer. He married Rama Kapoor and had three sons Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor, all of them are established actors of Bollywood. Prithviraj Kapoor did his schooling from Lyallpur and Lahore. After studying law for a year he left his studies in between and moved to Bombay in 1929 to join films.

Prithviraj Kapoor became apart of the Grant Anderson Theatre Company and performed in Shakespeare’s plays in English. He won accolades for his role of Laertes in Hamlet. In 1933, he joined New Theatres in Calcutta, which was a turning point of his career. He performed in some of the glorious films of New Theatres like Manzil (1936), President (1937), and Vidyapathi (1937). He played the title role in Sohrab Modi`s Sikander in 1941. He is still remembered for this role in this epic film, based on the life of Alexander the Great. In 1960, he acted in another historical movie Mughal-e-Azam and played the role of the Mughal ruler Akbar.

In 1944, Prithviraj Kapoor established Prithvi Theatres, the first professional theatre in Hindustani. Within the span of 16 years, Prithvi Theatre did some 2,662 shows. In every show of the theatre Prithviraj Kapoor played the lead role. Many aspiring talents like Ramanand Sagar, Shankar-Jaikishen and Ram Ganguly were introduced by Prithvi Theatre. This fine actor was successful in both theatre and films. His major films include V.Shantaram`s Dahej (1950), Raj Kapoor`s Awaara (1951), Aasmaan Mahal (1965), Teen Bahuraniyaan (1968), Kal Aaj Aur Kal (1971) and the Punjabi film Nanak Naam Jahaaz Hai (1969). He lost his voice while directing a film entitled Paisa, as a result Prithvi Theatre was closed and he even gave up films.

This legendary figure passed away on 29th May 1972. The government of India honored Prithviraj Kapoor with the Padma Bhushan in 1969. For his unparalleled contribution to Indian Cinema, he was posthumously awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1971. Prithvi Theatre was later revived in his honor by his son, Shashi Kapoor.