With Shammi no more, an era of rock 'n' roll in cinema ends |
He rock 'n' rolled his way through life and in the process broke many a stereotype. With the passing away of Shamsher Raj Kapoor, lovingly known as 'Shammi', an era in Indian cinema has come to an end. |
At a time when acting was an exercise of the facial muscles, Shammi "shimmied" in Elvis Presley style and thus the first dancing star of Bollywood was born.
A computer enthusiast, he was also one of the firsts from Bollywood to join Twitter, introducing himself to fans as a "renaissance man, retired actor and computer buff."
And such was his "joie de vivre" that even as he was on regular dialysis and wheelchair bound, the 79-year-old remained active on Twitter, inviting young actresses like Deepika Padukone for coffee via the micro-blogging website.
Shammi was born on 21 October 1931 in Mumbai but being the son of Prithviraj Kapoor and brother of "showman" Raj Kapoor, carving a niche in Bollywood was never easy for Shammi.
He was aware that comparisons will be drawn as his brother was already an established superstar and an acclaimed filmmaker. He knew that if he needed to make a mark, he should be as different from his brother as possible.
Shammi entered the film industry as a junior artiste in 1948. However, his debut in 1953 film 'Jeevan Jyoti', portrayed him as nothing more than a mere shadow of his brother Raj.
Films like 'Chor Bazaar', 'Shama Parvana', 'Hum Sab Chor Hain', 'Memsaheb' and 'Miss Coca Cola' had Shammi in a completely different get-up, especially his hairdo, his moustache, and even his on-screen antics resembled those of Raj Kapoor to a considerable extent.
It was only in 1957, with Nasir Hussain's 'Tumsa Nahin Dekha', that he finally found his style. Shammi sported a new look sans whiskers on the lines of the contemporary Hollywood greats like Elvis Presley and James Dean. He struggled to make a space against the reigning trio of Raj Kapoor, Dev...