Indian screen icon Shashi Kapoor dies aged 79

Bollywood icon Shashi Kapoor -- a star of 1970s Indian cinema and a member of the Hindi film industry's famous Kapoor family -- died on Monday aged 79 after a long illness, his family said.

Kapoor died at a hospital in Mumbai on Monday evening, his nephew Randhir Kapoor told the Press Trust of India news agency. Another family member confirmed the death to AFP.

"Yes, he has passed away. He had kidney problem for several years," Kapoor told PTI.

Shashi -- the youngest son of Prithviraj Kapoor, a pioneer of Hindi film and theatre -- was born in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata in 1938.

He began his career early, assisting in his father's travelling theatre company and appearing on stage in a production of "Shakuntala", a classic Hindu love story, at the age of six.

His Bollywood career also began in childhood and he grew into a matinee idol, appearing in more than 150 films and winning over fans with his charm and suave good looks.

He debuted as a leading man in "Dharmputra" in 1961, and his most memorable roles were in such films as "Jab Jab Phool Khile" (Whenever The Flowers Bloom, 1965), "Kabhi Kabhie" (Sometimes, 1976), and "Kalyug" (Age of Downfall, 1981).

Shashi's eldest brother Raj Kapoor, who died in 1988, was also a famous Hindi cinema actor. Randhir is Raj's son.

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