The Kapoor Family Site by Shammi Kapoor

MATUNGA - A Suburb of Bombay / Mumbai

Matunga

Though I was born in Bombay I spent my childhood in Calcutta because my father had a career span of some seven years at the New Theatres Studios acting in films. I did my Monntessary and Kintergarden there.


In 1939 we shifted to Bombay. We stayed on the second floor of a big flat at college back road , Matunga. I studied in a coeducational school, St. Joseph's Convent, at Wadala, then the Don Bosco school for a year and eventually finished my schooling from New Era at Hughes road


I grew up in an atmosphere of political upheaval. India was in the throes of unchaining itself from the shackles of British Sovereignity. But we, the youngsters, had freedom. We lived in surroundings that were conducive to an active, sporting life. Two playgrounds, one of Khalsa College and the other attached to the V.J.T.Institute. The famous Five Gardens behind the Custom's Quarters and the play grounds of Don Bosco, all a stone's throw from college back Road, better known as Hollywood Lane because it housed a good number of film personalities.


When we newly arrived here from Calcutta there were only Parsis, some South Indians, Sikhs and AngloIndians from the Customs quarters and a handfull of Gujaratis in the back lane. Yes, there were no Punjabis and definately no film folks. And then the Heavens openned up and the Kapoors landed. With them came the Saigals(K.L. and Mahender), the Sethis'(Jagdish and Sudershan),the Puris'(Chaman and Madan), the Nandas'(J.K.), the Biswases'(Anil and Ashalata), the Singhs'(K.N.), the Zakarias'(Jayant), the Jairajs'(P.), the Mazumdars' (Phani), the Peshawaris'(Bismil), the Aroras'(P.N.), the Devis'(Sitara).


God knows how many were in the proccess of stepping on the threshold of this slippery surface of celluloid, only He knew. How could any mortal fathom the resources of the Almighty. Who could foretell that from the terrains of College Back Road will emerge Dinosaurs that will take some time becoming extinct. Mr. Raj Kapoor. Mr. Shammi Kapoor, Mr Shashi Kapoor, Mr. Subiraj, Mr. Amjad Khan, Mr. Amrish Puri------to name the few that come to mind easily. There definitely must be a longer list because of the number of people who migrated to the Kapoor house after partition and who joined my father's "Prithvi Theatres". Yes it does inspire a thoughtful appraisal of what was happening to who, how, where, when, and why ? A suburb of Bombay called Matunga housed those pages which would bedeck the golden annals of Indian Motion Picture and one day rightfully step into the archives of International Cinema.
Later the college back road was renamed R.P.Masani Road.