Shammi Kapoor

Rare vintage photos of legendary Indian actor Shammi Kapoor
Shammi Kapoor was an Indian film actor and director. He was a prominent lead actor in Hindi cinema from the Mid 1950s until the early 1970s and also made a debut in Tamil cinema with the 1992 blockbuster crime drama Amaran.

Shammi Kapoor Biography

Shammi Kapoor, is one of a kind. An "original". He blended youthful freshness with his unique style rooted in time, place and his own talents. Shammi Kapoor revolutionised the concept of romance in Hindi films (Bollywood) and he expanded the scope and function of the filmi song sequence. He brought to both, the love scenes and the songs, a highly personal, westernised style, an intensely erotic presence. More important and less appreciated, is the fact that Shammi Kapoor’s contribution (like Dilip Kumar’s) has been absorbed into the mainstream of popular cinema in India, becoming part of the larger tradition every actor is heir to. In his early films (Tumsa Nahin Dekha was followed by Dil Deke Dekho, Singapore, Junglee) Shammi Kapoor established a very strong physical presence on screen that reinforced this youthfulness. He wouldn’t sit still or walk straight. He jumped, bounced, swayed, and cavorted. To watch him tease the heroine was much like observing an overgrown pup romping and frolicking in a bed of prized roses.

This spirit, even hyperactivity, was carried into the song renditions. Songs became Shammi Kapoor’s forte, and his special way with them was and is his most readily identifiable trademark. In the most memorable of them, his body language becomes the new third dimension to the tune and the lyrics Love is courted with outstretched arms and a rougish glint in the eyes; love is promised with broad shoulders thrown back and arms spread out to encompass the heavens; love is supplicated on bended knee, shoulders hunched forward, and with eyes that plead and burn at the same time. There are many classic Shammi Kapoor poses. The head snaps sideways as he glares over a turned shoulder; it is thrown back as he exults in his emotions; it snaps straight as he asserts his proud masculinity. The hand can point the index finger to his heart where he has hidden her. Each part of the body is orchestrated to the music as he swings, lurches and undulates.He made of the Hindi film song tradition a primitive courtship ritual, which often included a - Me-Tarzan-You-Jane message, tapped out in rhythmic code.He exuded a macho charm, an almost narcissistic awareness of his masculinity. His rendition of the song Hum aur yeh samah in Dil Deke Dekho exemplified his control of a delicate balance. He brings to the fog-draped early morning atmosphere, an erotic quality quite rare in Hindi films. He is seductive in his bearing and his eyes, but any hint of passion is toned down by the virginal white of his outfit and an uncommon tenderness of manner. This early Shammi Kapoor (upto about 1964 or so) was, in style and screen image, distinctly westernised.

The one most powerful influence on Shammi aside from Western music was Elvis Presley. In the way he moved, in the suggestiveness of his song-dance routines, in the curl of his lip and the veiled invitation in his eyes in all of these, Shammi Kapoor brought the American king of rock-and roll to Indian cinema. Like Presley, Shammi also developed very early an unerring instinct for the kind of music "right" for him. He took an unprecedented interest in the details of his films’ music, personally selecting tunes, attending song recordings and even alerting playback singers to his special needs (it is well-known that Mohd. Rafi developed a singing style to suit Shammi Kapoor). Thus a lot of credit for the music of the films he starred in goes to the actor himself.The Shammi Kapoor he has left behind in less than a dozen films was a tradition in himself. The jaunty ladykiller with bedroom eyes, the flamboyant hero with explosive energy, the inimitable song-and-dance man with a unique way with music these are images powerful enough to defy time, to court a new generation of moviegoers, and to inspire a new era of stars.

Shammi Kapoor's real name is Shamsherraj Kapoor. The son of the veteran actor Prithviraj Kapoor was born on 21st October 1931, in Bombay. After completing his matric at the new era school, he studied at the Ruia college after which he joined his father in this theatrical company "Prithvi Theaters" as a Junior Artiste. Later he signed up as a hero with the Kardar film company, under the direction of Mr. Mahesh Kaul and the film was "Jeevan Jyoti". His first heroine was Chand Usmani. Later, he acted in the films - "Rail ka Dibba" with Madhubala. "Laila Majnu" with Nutan. "Thokar" with Shyama. "Shama Parvana" with Suraiya. "Hum Sab Chor Hain" with Nalini Jaiwant. Sahil, Tangewali, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Miss Coca Cola, Mohar, Rangeen Raten, Gul Sanobar, Daku, Coffee House, Naqab, Mirza Sahiban, Chor Bazaar, Sipah Salar and some more nondescript films.

His first big success came with Tumsa Nahin Dekha which was released in 1957. Between 1957 and 1959 he acted in Dil Deke Dekho, Mujrim, Ujala, Singapore, College Girl, Boy Friend, Basant, Preet Na Jane Reet. His first COLOR picture Junglee, was released in 1961 and he became a Star. Between 1960 & 1964 he acted in Professor, China Town, Char Dil Char Rahen, Raat ke Raahi, Dil Tera Diwana, Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya, China Town, Kashmir Ki Kali, Bluff Master, Janwar, Rajkumar. From 1966 onwards his releases were Teesri Manzil, Budtameez, Laat Saheb, An Evening In Paris, Tumse Achha Kaun Hai, Jawan Mohabbat, Prince, Brahmachari, Pagla Kahin Ka, Andaaz, Sachai, Pritam, Chote Sarkar, Jaane Anjaane. He got the Filmfare Award for the best actor for my film Brahmchari.

In 1972 he ventured into a different field of Film Direction for the first time with a film called Manoranjan, adapted from a french play, Irma La Douce (also made by Billy Wilder into a hilarious movie in '62), which starred Sanjeev Kumar and Zeenat Aman. This was an incredible experience but the film met with mediocre success. This was followed by a film with Rajesh Khanna and Sulakshna Pandit called Bundalbaaz. The end result at the box office was miserable. After this he began doing character roles and some of these are: Zameer, Prem Rog, Hero, Meera, Harjai, Yeh Vada Raha, Aan aur Shaan, Betaab, Ahista Ahista, Parvarish, Daata, Wanted, Rocky , Romance, Mama Bhanja, Ek Jaan Hain Hum, Shalimar, Armaan, Badal, Karmdata, Sohni Mahiwal, Ek se Bhale Do, Biwi O Biwi, Salaakhen, Professor Pyarelal, Ehsaas, Allah Rakha, Desh Premee, Bade Ghar Ki Bahu, Balidaan, Himmat aur Mehnat, Mast Kalander, Ijjazat, Batwaara, Hakumat, Ajooba. he had the opportunity to do some films in other languages such as Bengali and Tamil as well.

In 1982 he got the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor in Vidhaata. For a short period of time he produced my own Video Entertainment Magazine called "Shammi Kapoor presents Manoranjan". Six volumes have been already released and then he stopped because there were too many people doing the same thing. In 1995 he got the Filmfare Lifetime Acheivement Award. His recent releases have been: Khule Aam, Lakshman Rekha, Hum Shakal, Tehelka, Chamatkar, Heer Ranjha, Gardish, Pyar Ka Rog, Megha, Dosti Ki Saugandh, Aaja Meri Jaan and a couple of South films. His latest release is a film called Prem Granth which is directed by my brother late Raj Kapoor's youngest son, Rajiv Kapoor and Janam Samjha Karo. He is also doing some serials for the TV, the most enduring being a social melodrama called "Chattaan". It ran for more than a year on the Zee Channel. His most recent films were "Aur Pyar Ho Gaya" with Bobby Deol and Ashwairya Rai and a cameo he did again with Bobby Deol in "Kareeb" which surprised many because they did not expect me to do what he did in the movie. But then that is exactly why he did it.