When I got the news of Shammi Kapoor‘s sad demise on August 14 , 2011 at the age of 79 , flood of memories engulfed me and inundated me completely . Though , initially , I was not a huge fan of Shammi Kapoor , but later on , as I watched his films and understood his importance in Hindi films , I succumbed to his charm completely.
That golden era of Hindi films belonged to film industry’s towering triumvirate ; Dilip Kumar , Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor . Like other youngsters of my age , I was very much enamoured by the trio . So naturally for me , Shammi Kapoor was nowhere in the picture . While in school and college , I was intrigued by the fact that whenever any new film of Shammi Kapoor used to hit the cinema halls, class – rooms wore deserted look and seeing the empty class , our irritated teachers used to say few nasty words for Shammi Kapoor because majority of the boys had no quam in bunking the class for the first day , first show of a Shammi Kapoor film . I got intrigued and decided to uncover the persona and unravel the mystique of Shammi Kapoor , the dancing star , the rebel star . I started watching his films and to my amazement , realized that Hindi Cinema doesn’t belong to the above mentioned triumvirate alone but it consists of the quartet ; Dilip Kumar , Dev Anand , Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor . Without these four one cannot even think of Hindi cinema .
In those days of my asinine childhood and carefree adolescence , Dilip Kumar symbolized romance and pain of the Nehru era , while Raj Kapoor was the face of Nehruvian socialism . Dev Anand represented urbane and educated youth of this nascent nation . Shammi Kapoor was unique because he gave face and voice to the aspirations of the emerging middle class youth . His first hit ” Tum Sa Nahin Dekha “ came in 1957 . It was the year of second general election also . First general election was held in 1952 . So after testing democracy for five years , youth of India were bubbling with enthusiasm and ” I don’t give a damn ” kind of attitude . Their aspirations , their liking for good clothes and better life – style was palpable and Shammi Kapoor Saheb represented these feelings to the fullest . And naturally he became icon of the liberated youth of the nascent , new and emerging democratic India .It is not for nothing that he is called Rebel Star and Dancing Star of Hindi films .
So obviously , when I heard the news of his demise , an era ended for me . One more chapter of my growing years was lost completely . I wanted to write the obituary immediately but I thought that best moment to pay my last respect would be on the occasion of the release of his last film ” Rockstar “ . Ranbir Kapoor starrer ” Rockstar “ got released on November 11 , 2011 and it created history . It became legendary Shammi Kapoor‘s last film. It signals the end of one of the most glorious chapters of Hindi Cinema . It brings curtain down on the memories of legendary Shammi Kapoor . One more icon of my childhood left the world finally and ” Rockstar “ is the cruel reminder of that fact . The journey , which started with ” Jeevan Jyoti ” [ 1953] , ended with ” Rockstar ” [ 2011 ] . It is 58 years long , gigantic and glorious reel journey .
Shamsher Raj Kapoor , better known as Shammi Kapoor started his career with ” Jeeva Jyoti “ [ 1953 ] , a film directed by Mahesh Kaul , who incidentally , years later gave break to Hema Malini in ” Sapno Ka Saudagar “ , who incidentally was his last romantic lead in ” Andaz ” [ 1971 ]. Chand Usmani was Shammi Kapoor’s first heroine in ” Jeevan Jyoti ” .
” Rail Ka Dibba ” [ 1953 ] , ” Laila Majnu ” [ 1953 ] , ” Shama Parwana ” [ 1954 ] , ” Chor Bazar ” [ 1954 ] , ” Miss Coca Cola ” [ 1955 ] , ” Daku ” [ 1955 ] , ” Mem Sahib ” [ 1956 ] , ” Rangeen Ratein ” [ 1956 ] , ” Mirza Sahiban ” [ 1957 ] , ” Mujrim ” [ 1958 ] and ” Char Dil Char Rahen ” [ 1959 ] “ came in quick succession and most of them bombed miserably .
Very few hits and 18 flops later, Shammi Kapoor became a major star with ” Tumsa Nahi Dekha ” [ 1957 ] , ” Dil Deka Dekho ” [ 1958 ] and ” Ujala ” [ 1959 ] . After this there were blitzkrieg of hugely successful films like ; “College Girl ” [1960 ] , ” Singapore ” [ 1960 ] , ” Boyfriend ” [ 1960 ] , ” Junglee ” [ 1961 ] , ” Dil Tera Diwana ” [ 1962 ] , ” Professor ” [ 1962 ] , ” China Town ” [ 1962 ] , ” Bluff Master ” [ 1963 ] , ” Rajkumar ” [ 1963 ] , ” Kashmir Ki Kali ” [ 1964 ] , ” Janwar ” [ 1965 ] , ” Teesri Manzil ” [ 1966 ] , ” Budtameez ” [ 1966 ] , ” An Evening In Paris ” [ 1967 ] , ” Laat Saheb ” [ 1967 ] , ” Brahmchari ” [ 1968 ] , ” Prince ” [ 1968 ] , ” Tum Se Accha Kaun Hai ” [ 1969 ] , ” Sachchai ” [ 1969 ] , ” Pagla Kahin Ka ” [ 1970 ] , ” Andaz ” [ 1971 ] , ” Jawan Mohabbat ” [ 1971 ] , and ” Jaane Anjane ” [ 1971 ] . After last mentioned film , he stopped playing romantic lead .
There after he started playing character roles and created some major milestones as well , ” Zameer ” [ 1974 ] , ” Manoranjan ” [ 1974 ] , ” Bundal Baaz ” [ 1976 ] , ” Parvarish ” [ 1977 ] , ” Shalimar “[ 1978 ] , ” Meera “[ 1989 ] , ” Rocky “[ 1981 ] , “Naseeb “[ 1981 ] , “Prem Rog “[ 1981 ] , ” Vishaata “[ 1982 ] , “Desh Premi “[ 1982 ] , “Hero “[ 1982 ] , ” Betab “[ 1983 ] and finally ” Rockstar “[ 2011 ] .
Among the above mentioned films ; ” Manoranjan ” [ 1974 ] and ” Bundal Baaz ” [ 1976 ] were his directorial ventures .
I consider myself fortunate that of the quartet of Dilip Kumar , Dev Anand , Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor , I Could meet all the three barring Raj Kapoor . In early 90s I had written a serial ” Mitti Ke Diye “ and along with my director , went to Shammi Kapoor Saheb‘s Malabar Hills apartment to narrate the story to him . We reached his Blue Heaven apartment in the morning and were ushered into his room . He was working on his computer . He greeted us warmly , told us to sit down and ordered tea for us .I narrated the story in trembling voice and to my utter shock and dismay he liked the story and agreed to work in the serial immediately .
The serial was not made because of my bad luck . But I still remember his towering personality , his booming voice and benign smile . He made me feel important , though he had achieved gigantic successes and I was a struggling nonentity . After some years I again bumped into him at the marriage reception of grand – daughter of legendary singer Mukesh . After that I could not meet or see him . I followed him on twitter , though . And then came the news of his illness and the death .
I feel blessed to meet you sir . I imbibed your spirit , your love and zest for life . I got your blessings and I know that it will guide me in the slippery world of film industry . Farewell sir ! I will definitely meet you in heaven to learn cinema from you . Till then , rest in peace sir !
There shall never , ever be another Shammi Kapoor .
MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA
- Shammi Kapoor, Popular Bollywood Actor, Dies At 79 (huffingtonpost.com)
- To Shammi Kapoor with love (askjayaa.wordpress.com)
- Shammi Kapoor: Flamboyance stays forever (vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com)
- ROCKSTAR built on Ranbir’s award winning performing but poor, disjointed script (vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com)
- Hindi movie icon Shammi Kapoor dead. (birminghamurbannews.wordpress.com)
- Shammi Kapoor: Leading star of Fifties and Sixties Hindi cinema (independent.co.uk)
- Bollywood Actor Shammi Kapoor passed away (kish.in)
- Bollywood vet Shammi Kapoor dies (cbc.ca)
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