Shekhar Kapur
Kapur in 2008
Shekhar Kulbhushan Kapur

(1945-12-06) 6 December 1945 (age 78)
  • Filmmaker
  • actor
Years active1974–present
  • Medha Gujral
    (m. 1984; div. 1994)
  • (m. 1999; div. 2007)
Chairman of Film and Television Institute of India
In office
30 September 2020 – 1 September 2023
Preceded byB. P. Singh
Succeeded byR. Madhavan

Shekhar Kulbhushan Kapur (born 6 December 1945) is an Indian filmmaker and actor.[1] Born into the Anand-Sahni family, Kapur is the recipient of several accolades, including a BAFTA Award, a National Film Award, a National Board of Review Award and three Filmfare Awards, in addition to nomination for a Golden Globe Award.

Kapur became known in Bollywood with his recurring role in the television series Khandaan. He then made his directorial debut with cult classic Masoom in 1983, before gaining widespread acclaim with Mr. India in 1987. He then gained international recognition and acclaim in 1994 with biographical film Bandit Queen, based on the infamous Indian bandit and politician Phoolan Devi, it was premiered in the directors fortnight section of the 1994 Cannes Film Festival and was screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival.[2][3]

Kapur achieved further international prominence with the 1998 period film Elizabeth, a fictional account of the reign of British Queen Elizabeth I, which was nominated for seven Academy Awards. He then directed war drama film The Four Feathers (2002). In 2007, he directed Elizabeth: The Golden Age, the sequel to his 1998 Elizabeth film.

Early life and education

Shekhar was born on 6 December 1945 in Lahore, Punjab province, Pakistan, then British India, in a Punjabi Hindu family to Kulbhushan Kapoor, a doctor with a flourishing practice, and his wife Sheel Kanta Kapoor.[1]

While on a train from the newly created Pakistan to India, a massacre took place; Kapur's mother Sheel played dead and hid both himself and his sister under her body.[4] Reflecting on this, Kapur stated that the partition of India happened through "the blood of one people".[4]

The nephew of famous Indian actor Dev Anand, he was discouraged from getting into films by his father.[5] Sheel Kanta was the sister of actors Chetan, Dev and Vijay Anand.[6] Kapur is the only son of his parents and he has three sisters. One of his sisters, Neelu, was the first wife of actor Navin Nischol, while another sister, Aruna, is the wife of actor Parikshit Sahni. His third and youngest sister is Sohaila Kapur.

Kapur attended Modern School of New Delhi.[7] He studied economics at St. Stephen's College. At 22, he became a Chartered Accountant with the ICAEW in England, having studied accountancy at the behest of his parents.[8][9] He then started his career working with a multinational oil company. He moved to the United Kingdom in 1970, and spent several years working as an accountant and management consultant.[10]

Filmmaking career

In India

He turned director with the family drama Masoom (1983), starring Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi and a young Jugal Hansraj & Urmila Matondkar. The plot followed the story of an illegitimate boy who struggles to find acceptance from his stepmother. He then directed the 1987 science-fiction film Mr. India, starring Anil Kapoor, Sridevi and Amrish Puri in his most famous role as the villain Mogambo. Puri's most famous dialogue in this film "Mogambo Khush Hua" is still remembered.[11] In 1994 he directed the critically acclaimed Bandit Queen[12] and played a cameo in the film as a truck driver.

Kapur was infamous for abandoning several films he was originally the director of.[13] He was originally the director of the 1989 film Joshilaay, which starred Sunny Deol, Anil Kapoor, Sridevi and Meenakshi Sheshadri before leaving the production halfway, and its producer Sibti Hassan Rizvi stepped in to complete the film. In 1992, he had shot some scenes for Barsaat, which was originally titled Champion[14] and was going to be the debut film of Bobby Deol, but he left the production and was replaced by Rajkumar Santoshi. In 1995, he partly directed Dushmani, starring Sunny Deol, Jackie Shroff and Manisha Koirala before its producer Bunty Soorma stepped in to complete the film.[15]

Kapur was the executive producer of the film The Guru. He established an Indian film company with Ram Gopal Verma and Mani Ratnam, though the group has thus far produced only one film, Dil Se.. (1998), starring Shahrukh Khan and Manisha Koirala. Kapur executive-produced the Bollywood-themed musical Bombay Dreams by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which ran in London's the West End and on Broadway in New York City for 1 year.

In 2016, Kapur delivers an autobiographical film and documentary about Amma, well known as Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, called "The Science of Compassion".[16]


In 1998, he received international recognition for the second time after Bandit Queen, when he directed the Academy Award-winning period film Elizabeth, a fictional account of the reign of British Queen Elizabeth I nominated for seven Oscars. The 2007 sequel, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, was nominated for two Oscars. He was accused of being anti-British by British tabloids for his portrayal of the British Army in the 2002 movie The Four Feathers. However, he denied the accusations and stated that he was merely "anti-colonisation".[17]

Future projects

It was announced in March 2019 that Kapur will be directing a TV series for Endemol Shine based on historical novels by Amitav Ghosh, known as the "Ibis Trilogy", which details the opium wars among Britain, India and China in the mid-19th century.[18][19]

Kapur is all set to adapt Amish Tripathi's critically acclaimed book series Shiva Trilogy into a television web show.[20] He will be co-directing the show with Suparn Verma.[21]

Other ventures

Kapur started his career as an actor in the movie Jaan Hazir Hai (1975)[22] starring Prem Kishen and Trilok Kapoor and later in Toote Khilone, in Bollywood. He appeared in several Hindi television dramas, such as Udaan (Doordarshan), opposite Kavita Chaudhary, Upanyaas[23] (Doordarshan) opposite Nisha Singh, and Masoom opposite Neena Gupta.

He served as judge on the reality TV series India's Got Talent, aired on Colors.

In an unusual role for him, Kapur provided the voice of Mohandas Gandhi in the Charkha Audiobooks title of The Story of My Experiments with Truth, alongside Nandita Das as narrator.[citation needed]

In 2013, Kapur hosted the TV show Pradhanmantri on ABP News. On the show, which aims to bring never-seen-before facets of Indian history, he was the narrator.[24]

Comic book publishing

Further information: Liquid Comics

In 2006, Kapur formed Liquid Comics and Virgin Animation, an entertainment company focused on creating new stories and characters for a global audience. The Shakti titles of Kapur and Deepak Chopra's company debuted with Devi and The Sadhu.[25] Devi is about "a fierce feminine warrior, stronger than the Gods themselves ... a champion of the heavens, and the protector of man", while The Sadhu "is about one man's choice between his spiritual oath and his human instinct."[25]

Unrealized projects

Main article: Shekhar Kapur's unrealized projects

Personal life

Kapur had a relationship for seven years with actress Shabana Azmi.[26] He first was married to Medha Gujral, niece of former Indian Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral.[27] They divorced in 1994.[28] She died on 25 November 2014 at a hospital in New York City of liver failure following a second heart and first kidney transplant.[29] Kapur later married actress Suchitra Krishnamoorthi in 1999.[30] They have a daughter named Kaveri Kapur.[31] The couple divorced in 2007.

In March 2020, Krishnamoorthi filed a case against Kapur over a property dispute concerning their daughter Kaveri.[32] She claimed that the property rightfully belongs to their daughter, but has been rented to actor Kabir Bedi and his wife Parveen.[33]


Main article: Works of Shekhar Kapur

Directed features
Year Title Distributor
1983 Masoom Bombino Video Pvt. Ltd.
1987 Mr. India Sujata Films
1994 Bandit Queen Kaleidoscope Entertainment/Content Flow Studios
1998 Elizabeth PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
2002 The Four Feathers Paramount Pictures / Buena Vista International
2007 Elizabeth: The Golden Age Universal Pictures
2022 What's Love Got to Do with It? StudioCanal UK

Awards and honours

In 2000, he received Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India.[34] In 2010, he served as one of the Jury Members in international competition at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival.[3][35] In 2020, Kapur became the president of the Film and Television Institute of India.[36]

In 2023, Kapur served as the chairperson of the International competition Jury at the 54th International Film Festival of India held from 20 November to 28 November.[37]

Award Year Category Nominated work Result Ref(s)
BAFTA Awards 1999 Best Direction Elizabeth Nominated [38]
Outstanding British Film Won
David di Donatello Awards 2008 Best European Film Elizabeth: The Golden Age Nominated [39]
Filmfare Awards 1984 Best Film - Critics Masoom Won [40]
Best Director Nominated
1995 Best Film - Critics Bandit Queen Won [41]
1997 Best Director Bandit Queen Won [42]
1999 Special Award Won [43]
Golden Globe Awards 1999 Best Director – Motion Picture Elizabeth Nominated [44]
Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists 2008 Best European Director Elizabeth: The Golden Age Nominated [45]
National Board of Review Awards 1998 Best Director Elizabeth Won [46]
National Film Awards 1996 Best Feature Film - Hindi Bandit Queen Won [47]
Valladolid International Film Festival 1994 Best Film Bandit Queen Nominated [48]


  1. ^ a b "Shekhar Kapur: A life in focus". The Times of India. 16 March 2003. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Anurag Kashyap: 'The perception of India cinema is changing'". Digital Spy. 28 May 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Shekhar Kapur, exclusive interview". Festival de Cannes. 18 May 2010.
  4. ^ a b "When Shekhar Kapur's mother played dead to save his life during partition". Hindustan Times. 1 March 2019. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  5. ^ Andrea LeVasseur (2007). "Shekhar Kapur". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 21 October 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  6. ^ "Shekhar Kapur: My uncle Dev Anand, the man no one knew..."
  7. ^ "Shekhar Kapur becomes a name to reckon with in Western cinema". The Indian Express. 16 March 2000. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  8. ^ Wild, Damian (5 October 2003). "Shehkar Kapur: Reeling in the punters". Accountancy Age. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  9. ^ Kapoor, Shekhar (5 December 2011). "My uncle Dev Anand, the man no one knew…". Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  10. ^ "Sorry". The Indian Express. India. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  11. ^ Team (22 June 2010). "A Tribute To Amrish 'Mogambo' Puri". Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  12. ^ Roy, Amit (26 July 2001). "The dacoit leader who wore a tiger skin sari". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022.
  13. ^ "Will Shekhar Kapur make another film?". 11 March 2013.
  14. ^ "In fearless pursuit..." The Hindu. Archived from the original on 10 February 2003.
  15. ^ "Shekhar Kapur moves out after Bandit Queen". Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  16. ^ "The Science of Compassion (Video available on YouTube)". Shekhar Kapur. 26 April 2016. Archived from the original on 2 February 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  17. ^ Rajat Ghai (2 November 2012). "Shekhar Kapur: "Film on Armenian genocide will be challenging"". Hetq. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  18. ^ "Shekhar Kapur to direct drama on Amitav Ghosh's 'The Ibis Trilogy'". The Week. 26 March 2019.
  19. ^ Press Trust of India (25 March 2019). "Shekhar Kapur to direct drama on Amitav Ghosh's 'The Ibis Trilogy'". Business Standard India.
  20. ^ PTI (9 March 2022). "Shekhar Kapur to direct series adaptation of Amish Tripathi's book Shiva Trilogy". The Hindu.
  21. ^ BollywoodMDB Team (9 March 2022). "Shekhar Kapur and Suparn Verma to direct the first instalment of Amish Tripathi's Shiva Trilogy". BollywoodMDB.
  22. ^ Bhawana Somaaya (6 December 2002). "Screen > The Business of Entertainment". Retrieved 8 August 2011.[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ "Doordarshan running out of programmes". Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  24. ^ "Pradhanmantri". 13 July 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  25. ^ a b How Deepak Chopra's Virgin Comics is changing comic book industry.
  26. ^ "Shabana Azmi was in live in relationship with Shekhar Kapur". J S News Times. 5 April 2021. Archived from the original on 13 May 2023. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  27. ^ "The Tumultuous Married Life a Cinema Phenomenon: Shekhar Kapur". The Bridal Box. 1 October 2016.
  28. ^ Ram Kohli (17 May 2013). "Now it can be told Medha asked Shekhar Kapur for a divorce". DNA India.
  29. ^ "Sad demise". 5 December 2014.
  30. ^ "Shekhar Kapur with Suchitra". Punjabi Gram.
  31. ^ Hanima Anand (17 August 2020). "Sweet Beauty of Suchitra and Shekhar Kapur Daughter, Pop Singer Kaveri Kapur". Star Biz. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  32. ^ Entertainment Desk (5 March 2020). "Shekhar Kapur vs wife Suchitra Krishnamoorthi property case: Daughter Kaveri opens up". I dia Tv News. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  33. ^ HT Correspondent (6 March 2020). "Shekhar Kapur ex wife Suchitra Krishnamoorthi files case against him over property dispute". Hindustan Times.
  34. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  35. ^ Leffler, Rebecca (15 April 2010). "Hollywood Reporter: Cannes Lineup". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 22 April 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  36. ^ Banerjee, Shoumojit (30 September 2020). "Shekhar Kapur appointed FTII president". The Hindu.
  37. ^ "Shekhar Kapur to serve as international competition jury head for IFFI 54". Times of India. 31 October 2023. Retrieved 22 November 2023.
  38. ^ "BAFTA Awards: Film in 1999". BAFTA. 1999. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  39. ^ David di Donatello for Best European Film
  40. ^ 31st Filmfare Awards
  41. ^ "A Dream Come True". Filmfare. April 1995. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  42. ^ "42nd Filmfare Awards: Better late than never". Rashtriya Sahara. Vol. 4, no. 7–12. February 1997. pp. 160–162.
  43. ^ 44th Filmfare Awards
  44. ^ "Winners & Nominees: Elizabeth". HFPA. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  45. ^ "Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists 2008". IMDb. Retrieved 25 December 2022.
  46. ^ "National Board of Review of Motion Pictures :: Awards". Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  47. ^ "43rd National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 January 2020. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  48. ^ "39th Valladolid International Film Festival - Seminci 1994". Film Affinity. Retrieved 12 December 2022.