Last Saturday, I was at a friend's party where I met a producer who narrated an anecdote to me. He is making a Hindi film which is being shot in Chennai and which has Shakti Kapoor on the cast.
No matter what others might think of Shakti, I simply love that man -- his mannerisms, his accent and, above all, the way he gets startled in the movies each time the hero springs a surprise on him. He just makes my day. And who can forget the trademark "Aaaooo!!" -- the sound that the wide-eyed Shakti spat out before mouthing each of his dialogues in Tohfa, starring the hit trio of Jeetendra, Sridevi and Jaya Prada. So when the producer mentioned Shakti Kapoor, I pestered him for more information. That's when he narrated the story.
Shakti Kapoor was staying at the Taj Connemara. Unlike many other stars, Shakti does not throw tantrums and even brings his own Scotch. So one evening before he settled down to drink, he opened the mini bar to look for eatables. There was a pack of peanuts (or was it wafers?), but Shakti's popping eyes popped out even further when he saw its price on the menu card: Rs 100 (he must have given the packet his trademark startled look, and might have also exclaimed, "Aaaooo!" But one can't verify that). A hundred rupees for a pack of munchies was too much, he decided, and off he marched to the Foodworld at Spencer Plaza, which is literally a two-minute walk from the hotel. There he bought five packets of the same munchies and walked back to the hotel. On his way back, of course, there were many fans who gave him company. How I wish I was one of them.
The morning after this party where I heard the Shakti Kapoor story, I went to the neighbourhood store to buy cigarettes. The owner of the store has become a good friend: he never lets me leave without ordering tea for me from a shop which is just across the road and which is also owned by him. That Sunday, over tea, he told me a story.
There is a man working in an office nearby who, according to my friend, has tea five times a day from that shop. But the man is a diabetic. In normal course, a diabetic, when ordering tea, says: "Don't put sugar in mine." But this man always says: "The sugar you are about to put in my tea, just parcel it for me." End of the day, he must be having quite a quantity of sugar to take home.
Technically, the man's demand is valid: he is entitled for those two spoons of sugar, and if he doesn't want them in the tea, he can always carry them home. But I have never, ever, come across anyone doing something like that. When I mentioned this man's habit to a friend, her reaction was : "How sweet!"
Do you, by the way, see any similarity between this man and Shakti Kapoor?