One of the few Bollywood directors to make a career in the U.S., Shekhar Kapur has proved his filmmaking worth in both countries. The nephew of actors Vijay Anand and Dev Anand, Kapur was discouraged to get into show business by his father. Leaving his homeland to study business in Great Britain, Kapur soon grew bored with his accounting job and moved back to India to become an unsuccessful actor in Bollywood. He finally found a place for himself as a director with his film debut, the coming-of-age story Masoom (1983). He was met with both international attention and controversy after the release of Bandit Queen (1994), his biographical portrait of lower-caste Indian outlaw Phoolan Devi. Although the Indian censors and Devi herself protested to the film's graphic content, it proved to be a commercial success. Kapur began working in Hollywood to make the historical biography Elizabeth, with Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth I, in 1998. Nominated for the Best Picture Academy award, it also gained him more attention among Indian censors. After residing back in India for a few years, he returned to the U.S. to make the 2002 film adaptation of The Four Feathers. Kapur shepherded the comedy The Guru to the screen in the capacity of executive producer. After a five year layoff from working, he returned with The Golden Age, a sequel to Elizabeth that reunited him with stars Cate Blanchet and Geoffrey Rush.
Biography by Andrea LeVasseur
- Before entering the film industry, he worked as an accountant and management consultant.
- Made his acting debut in Jaan Hazir Hai (1975).
- Directed his first film in 1983 titled Masoom.
- Honoured with the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award, in 2000.
- Executive producer of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Bombay Dream, which has been running in London since 2002 and on Broadway in New York since 2004.