Yaaahoooo!! This is the first word that comes into our minds when we hear Shammi Kapoor. For some, the name could play any other of his catchy and upbeat numbers. Born Shamsher Raj Kapoor on October 21, 1931, Shammi Kapoor was the second son of veteran theatre and film actor Prithviraj Kapoor. Today we celebrate his 85th birth anniversary breaking the conventions of Bollywood.
Self made man
Unlike the current generations, Shammi Kapoor was not launched as star kid by his father Prithviraj Kapoor. He struggled hard for several years to carve his niche in Bollywood. He started his career working as a junior artist in Prithvi theatre at a monthly wage of Rs.50.
A Male Starlet
He made his debut in Bollywood with the film “jeevan Jyoti” in 1953. Many of his earlier films failed to get a decent collection at box office. At that point of his professional life, Shammi called himself a ‘male starlet’. He made his presence felt with the superhit “Junglee” in 1961. His new image took ground and his subsequent films followed the genre.
Elvis Presley of India
In contrast to the present scenario, film actors in 60s and 70s did not perform live on stage with hundreds of supporting dancers in the background. Always ready to break the stereotypes, Shammi Kapoor would not hesitate to claim the dance floor his. He would never take the help of any choreographer and his spontaneous dance moves were often referred to as ‘gardan tod’ (neck breaking), for which he is loved the most. His natural dancing skills with the swept back hair and smooth jaw earned him the title ‘The Elvis Presley of India’.
Shammi Kapoor was way ahead of everyone in terms of technology. He was one of the first celebrities to master the internet and went to become the Founder and Chairman of Internet Users Community of India(ICUI). He played a major role in setting up Ethical Hackers Association. Moreover, Kapoor himself maintained a website dedicated to the Kapoor family which derives its name from his first superhit http://www.junglee.org.in. The website tells us about the family line, filmography of various members, memorable moments of his life and more.
On the way to spirituality
Shammi Kapoor wasn’t typically inclined to any religion. He followed ‘Haidakhan Baba’ who preached “all religions are incorporated in the principle of truth, simplicity and love”. He explained that he came to restore Sanatana Dharma rather than Hindu Dharma(Hinduism). Sanatan Dharma can be understood as a primordial religion reflecting natural laws establishes at the beginning of creation. Babaji further explained “I do not belong to any particular religion, but respect all religions. I seek the elevation of mankind”.
Marrying a bigger star
Shammi fell for actress Geeta Bali on the sets of ‘rangeen raatien’(1956). While she was an established actress, he was still struggling to gain stability in his career. She contributed a lot to the making of Shammi Kapoor. She gave him his confidence and personality. If you see the way he danced, it was Geeta Bali’s personality.
Shammi Kapoor was never reluctant to change. He who romanced Saira Banu in her debut ‘Junglee’ in 1961 and Bluff Master in 1963, did not shy away to play her father a decade later in Zameer in 1974. Furthermore, he played fifteen years younger Amitabh Bachchan’s father in Parvarish(1977).
With his boisterous charm and carefree attitude he’ll be inspiring us to get away with the orderly fashion because all boundaries are conventions waiting to be transcended.
keep shaking it like Shammi.
Flowing like a river
Being one with mountains.
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