Bollywood Legends - Shammi Kapoor
Shamsheer Raj Kappor or Shammi as he is widely known was born on 21st oct 1931 as the middle son of Veteran actor Prithvi Raj Kapoor. After finishing his matric from New Era school and a brief stint with studies at the Ruia College, Shammi joined his father`s theatrical company Prithvi Theatres as a junior artiste in 1948.
Shammi`s illustrious background didn`t help him much as his entry into films through debut film Jeevan Jyoti(1952), proved to be highly unfavourable. Thereafter he remained jinxed at the box office for 5 long yrs, from 1952-57. During this period 17 of his films flopped miserably. Meanwhile in 1955, he married the much famous star Geeta Bali.
His quest for success led him to assess the mood of the times and reinvent himself. Hence with a perfect blend of Elvis Presley and James Dean, a new Shammi Kapoor was born , his unique trait being that he offered a stark contrast from the reigning trio Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar & Dev Anand. He was the only actor in the 60`s to break the mould of the conventional Hindi film heroes and carved his own niche as the `rebel star`.
The magic worked this time and it could be evidently seen in his next film Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957), which was an instant runaway success, followed by another hit Dil Deke Dekho.
In 1961 came his first colour movie Junglee which catapulted him to the pinnacle of stardom. Breaking the shackles of monotony his famous yahoo yellin Junglee stood not only as an expression of ecstasy but also a spirit of freedom which the youth could identifywith.
Between 1961-64, the success of his films Professor, Kashmir Ki Kali, Janwar, Rajkumar, further steadied his position at the box office. He brought a zing, a tang to the silver screen with his stylish dances, immensely catchy numbers like suku Suku, O hasina Zulfon Waali, Aaj Kal Tere Mere....
In 1965 when his beloved wife Geeta died , his personal life came to a standstill but professionally he kept churning out hits like Teesri Manzil, An Evening in Paris, Budtameez.
Since Shammi`s movies were more light hearted entertainers than a display of histrionics, he was dismissed as his critics as a mere clownish entertainer. Yet again Shammi surprised his detractors by a highly charged performance of a suspect in Teesri Manzil and a by a sensitive portrayal of a child loving bachelor in Brahmchari(1968). This movie won him his Best Actor Filmare award.
By now Shammi had become a fashion statement with his natty dress up, peculiar mannerisms and innumerable affairs. However, these romances came to an end when he re-married Neela Devi of Bhavnagar (1967). But since all good things come to an end, his fims too started flopping and inspite of the succes ofAndaz(1971), Shammi had to take a backseat as the main hero due to his ballooning weight and the birth of another mega star Rajesh Khanna.
Shammi`s attempt at becoming a director failed with his movies Manoranjan and Bundalbaaz bombing at the box office. Later he resorted to doing character roles in movies like Zammer, Prem Rog, Parvarish, Rocky, etc..
In 1982, came Vidhata, which won him a Filmfare award for best supporting actor. In 1987, began his love for computers which slowly turned into an all time obsession. He became so hooked on to internet that in 1995, he formed Internet Users Club Of India (IUCI), to generate awareness and solve internet related problems. The same year his film life came a full circle when he was honored with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award.
Today he not only continues acting albeit at a slower pace in different roles but also represents the needs and demands of the internet users of the country. Even though exactly three decades have passed since his role as a hero came to an end, even then no other actor has been able to revoke the same impish charm and wanton spirit.