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JENNIFER KENDAL KAPOOR (1933-1984)


Jennifer Kendal was born in Southport, UK, to a family of actors. Her father, Geoffrey Kendall, and mother, Laura Liddell, spent many years touring India with Shakespeareana, a travelling theatre group, mainly performing Shakespeare. Her younger sister Felicity also became an actor. The story of the Kendals is told in the book and film (1965) Shakespeare Wallah, starring Jennifer, Felicity, Jennifer’s husband Shashi Kapoor and other members of the Kendal and Kapoor families.

Jennifer met Shashi Kapoor, son of Prithviraj Kapoor and brother of Raj and Shammi Kapoor, when he was touring India with the Prithvi Theatre as she was with Shakespeareana, they met in Calcutta in 1956. Shashi Kapoor was then 18 and Jennifer 22; he was captivated watching her play Miranda in The Tempest. Shashi managed to persuade his parents to accept Jennifer, but for Geoffrey Kendal the loss of his daughter also meant the exit of his heroine and manager. The couple had to wait two years before they could be together, during which Shashi toured with Shakespeareana. In 1958, when he asked again, he was refused, but Jennifer went ahead with the marriage anyway. She and her husband worked with Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai, and also starred together in a number of films. She appeared in Bombay Talkies, 36 Chowringhee Lane, Ghare Baire, The Far Pavilions, and Heat and Dust. Of their three children, Sanjana Kapoor and Kunal Kapoor went into films, while son Karan, after a brief stint in television, is now a photographer. Jennifer died from cancer in 1984.
 
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