Article Hindi

Former child actor Master Tito pays tribute to Shashi Kapoor

Tito Khatri recalled how Shashi Kapoor made him comfortable on the sets of Aa Gale Lag Jaa (1973).

Shashi Kapoor and Master Tito

Mayur Lookhar

Shashi Kapoor was not just one of the greats of Hindi cinema. He will also be remembered for his warmth and humility. Tito Khatri is a creative director in television, but his more noteworthy contribution to Hindi cinema came when he worked with Kapoor in a couple of films.

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Master Tito, as he was then known, acted in a few films, notably sharing screen space with Kapoor in Manmohan Desai’s Aa Gale Lag Jaa (1973). Khatri played the child Rahul.

“He was like a father figure to me," Khatri, who met Kapoor sometimes in the past few years, said. "A great and warm human being who was kind to everyone on the sets. He used to have food with the lightman, spotboys and other crew. He was truly a down-to-earth person.”

Recalling his first meeting with the star, Khatri said, “I was 6-7 years old. My first scene had Shashi uncle shouting at me. It wasn’t an ideal way to start, but he made me comfortable, telling me this is just for the camera.”

It wasn’t Kapoor, however, who scared the child. That was achieved by co-star Shatrughan Sinha who played Dr Amar and had to raise his hand at Rahul in one scene.

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“I had never faced the camera nor learnt acting," recalled Khatri. "The scene had to look natural. Shatrughan Sinha is a very real and intimidating actor. He didn’t hit me, but he shouted and raised his hand. Any child would have got scared. I was in tears. Shashi uncle provided emotional support. He gave me an ice-cream, explaining that it’s just a film.”

Tito Khatri

Khatri was cast as Kapoor's son in another film titled Saugaat, co-starring Shabana Azmi, but that project never saw the light of day. He went on to play the younger version of Kapoor's character in Suhaag (1979). That was the last time he acted in the same film as the legend.

When Khatri grew up, he made a career behind the camera. He did meet Kapoor again on a few occasions. 

“I think I must have met him 12 years after Suhaag," Khatri recalled. "I used to go to his Prithvi theatre. He would welcome me and introduce me to all as the boy who played his son in Aa Gale Lag Jaa. I just sat beside him, listening to him talk. He didn’t speak much as his health had deteriorated and it became difficult for him to communicate. I last met him maybe 2 or 3 years ago at Prithvi, and he didn’t look in great health. Now he is no longer with us, and it’s only now that I realize how lucky I was to have worked briefly with this great man. He will be missed sorely by all.”

Watch Khatri as the young child actor from the Aa Gale Lag Jaa track 'Tera mujhse hai pehle ka naat koi':