Shammi Kapoor is one of my favorite actors of Indian cinema.Shammi’s flamboyance, joie de vivre and playfulness made the silver screen come alive.His pairing with the top actresses of the 50’s-70’s such as Mala Sinha, Sadhana, Asha Parekh and Saira Banu gave us some memorable films such as Dil Deke Dekho(1958) ,Junglee (1961),Dil Tera Diwana(1962) and Rajkumar(1964). The era of colour films in India had just began, Shammi’s handsome looks and charm had cast a spell on the audiences.His exuberance and unique style made him a role model to the new-comers who emulated him to succeed in the film industry.Shammi Kapoor was also dubbed as the “Elvis Presley of India” .He was romance personified on-screen.
Shammi Kapoor was born as Shamsher Raj Kapoor in Mumbai on 21 October 1930 to the noted thespian and film actor Prithviraj Kapoor.Shammi Kapoor was second of the three sons born to Prithviraj Kapoor, the eleder being Raj Kapoor and the youngest was Shashi Kapoor . He made his debut in the film Jeevan Jyoti opposite Chand Usmani. He later appeared in films such as Rail Ka Dibba, Laila Majnu, Memsahib(where he played a negative role) andMirza Sahiban;but his major breakthrough was in Nasir Hussain’s Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957) opposite Ameeta in which he left an impact on the audiences as a stylish and flamboyant youth. Dil Deke Dekho(1959) followed suit,where he was paired opposite bubbly Asha Parekh.From then onwards there was no looking back for Shammi Kapoor.Then came Junglee(1961) in colour where he starred opposite the beautiful Saira Banu(who made her debut in this film).The title song”Yahoo,Chahe koi mujhe jungle Kahe” was a super hit and the word “Yahoo!” become synonymous with Shammi Kapoor. He continued playing the main lead till early 70’s.His last notable film as a hero was Andaaz( 1970),although some films such as Jaane Anjane , Chhote Sarkar and Preetam were released later with him in the main lead. Shammi Kapoor later accepted supporting roles in the films such as Vidhaata and Zameer.He also directed a film Manoranjan (1974) which starred Sanjeev Kumar and Zeenat Aman.He also did a supporting role in it. Shammi Kapoor’s last film was Rockstar(an apt title for Shammi Kapoor himself!) in which the grandson of his brother Raj Kapoor,Ranveer Kapoor played the lead. Shammi Kapoor was quite tech-savvy and had a personal website-(www.junglee.org.in), when the internet in India was a new phenomenon and few had access to it.Shammi Kapoor passed away on 14th August 2011,but he will be cherished in memories of the younger and older generation alike.
I want to share with you some of my favorite songs picturised on Shammi Kapoor.
Kyun Ji Mujhe Pehchana-Boy Friend (1961)- Shammi Kapoor starred opposite gorgeous Madubala in this film.Dharmendra appeared in a cameo as a cop in it. In this funny song, Shammi masquerades as a Sardarji and asks everyone if anybody could spot his actual identity.
Hamari Gali Aana-Memsahib (1956)- In this film,Shammi plays a villain who tries to fleece Kishore Kumar of his property with the help of Meena Kumari.He has no compunctions and tries every means to get the hold of wealth of the protagonist,Kishore Kumar. It is a must-watch film for any Shammi fan. The above song is wonderful and melodious to hear and is sung by Talat Mehmood and Asha Bhosle.
Baar Baar Dekho- China Town- Shammi Kapoor plays a club singer in this film and stars opposite Shakila .In this song,he is wooing his lady love and entertaining the audience at the same time. A multi-tasker indeed!
Mujhe Kitna Pyaar Hai Tumse– Dil Tera Deewana (1962)- In this film,Shammi plays a rebel who is defiant of his rich father and switches identities with his poor friend,Mehmood .It gives rise to funny consequences .The twist in the plot comes when the doppelganger of Mehmood emerges and hell breaks loose.The above song is picturised on Shammi Kapoor and Mala Sinha who affirm their love towards each other and is sung delightfully by Mohd Rafi. and Lata Mangeshkar.
Aye Gulbadan- Professor (1962)-In this film Shammi plays an educated youth who is in dire need of a job.Unable to find any job,he accepts a job of a tutor to two young women and a minor. The only condition is that the tutor should be an old man. He is forced by necessity to masquerade as an old man.The chaperone, played by Lalita Pawar also falls in love to the “old man”. In this song,Shammi is wooing his lady love,Kalpana Mohan. The song is sung by Mohd Rafi immaculately.
Mere Yaar Shabba Khair- Junglee(1961)- This was the first colour film of Shammi Kapoor. Here he plays a stiff disciplinarian, who is changed by Saira Banu into a soft hearted lover. In this song, the couple is bidding each other adieu for the day but are reluctant to part.
Dilruba Dil Pe Tu –Rajkumar(1964)-Shammi Kapoor plays a crown prince who returns from abroad to foil the plot of his maternal uncle to usurp his kingdom. Sadhana plays a tribal princess who falls in love with him. It is a sensuous song without the trace of vulgarity. Graceful Sadhana matches Shammi’s every move. Rafi’s and Asha’s beautiful vocals make this song a treat to watch and hear.
Dil Ko Na Mere Tadpao– Budtameez- Shammi Kapoor again paired with Sadhana after Rajkumar.In this film Shammi tries to change Shanta’s(Sadhana) attitude towards men,as she hates men like anything due to her abusive and drunkard father.Shammi Kapoor pretends to be blind to induce guilt and love from Sadhana,as she thinks that it is because of her mistake he has lost his eyes.The song is superbly sung by Rafi.
Ae Dost Mere Maine Duniya Dekhi- Sachchai (1969)-Shammi Kapoor shared the screen with Sanjeev Kumar and Sadhana in this film. Shammi Kapoor and Sanjeev Kumar play as two friends who are poles apart in their beliefs.Shammi loves the life of theft and crime, while Sanjeev believes that truth shall prevail in the end. But their fates are reversed, and their beliefs change. In this song,both friends praise their way of life in a college competition.The song is sung by two maestros ,Manna Dey and Mohd. Rafi.
Tum Mujhe Yun Bhula Na Paaoge- Pagla Kahin Ka (1970)- Pagla Kahin Ka was delayed for a long time and was later released in 1970.Shammi Kapoor stars opposite Asha Parekh in this film. He plays a man charged with murder which he had not commited. To escape the law he feigns madness and is sent to the mental asylum.Asha Parekh plays the doctor who falls in love with the “patient”.Mohd. Rafi has lent his golden voice this memorable song ,which lingers in your mind for a long time.
The list could be endless as there are many such songs in which Shammi Kapoor has graced the screen with his splendid performance.
BTW,which are your favourite songs picturised on Shammi Kapoor?
- Songs of romantic love – in ten moods (dustedoff.wordpress.com)
- Shammi Kapoor, the Elvis of India: Realities of a Rockstar (mrandmrs55.com)
- My Favourites: Love Songs (anuradhawarrier.blogspot.in)
- A birthday playlist of Mohammad Rafi’s party numbers (ibnlive.in.com)