Shammi Kapoor: The story behind the birth of Bollywood true rockstar

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9 Aug 2011
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Shamsher Raj Kapoor (Shammi Kapoor) is alive. People like Shammi Kapoor never die. He will continue to stir our hearts in his trade mark Elvis Presley shakes wearing those silver jackets every time and again. Shammi Kapoor will remain a name synonymous to energy, enthusiasm, and joy in Bollywood.

There's an interesting story behind how Bollywood got his rockstar image.

It was Filmstan's 'Tum Sa Nahin Dekha' which introduced us to the legendary Shammi Kapoor we all know. Shammi had films in his hand and was getting work with films like �Hum Sab Chor Hain�, �Mem Sahib', 'The Bandit', 'Miss Coca Cola' etc but nothing remarkable was happening in his career.

Filmstan announced 'Tum Sa Nahin Dekha' where the evergreen Dev Anand was suppose to play the hero but Dev refused to do the film when he found that a newcomer Ameeta is selected to be his heroine. Dev wanted to feature alongside a star and was not willing to share the screen with a newcomer.

But Ameeta couldn't be replaced as she was the prot�g� of Tularam Jalan the owner of Filmstan.

Aamir Khan's uncle Nasir Hussain was to make his debut as director with the film and he got nervous when Dev Sahab refused.

Kajol's grandfather S.Muherjee who was the production controller of Filmstan suggested Shammi's name. When put on board, Shammi told Nasir, "You wanted Dev Anand as the hero, I will give you better style then Dev Anand." The rest is history.

When Shammi said these lines, he had moustaches like his elder brother Raj Kapoor. For �Tumsa Nahin Dekha� he clean shaved and brought a flamboyant mannerism which was never seen in Indian cinema. The dynamism in his dancing and acting gave birth to a new Shammi. Bollywood has found its rockstar.

A band apart from the Kapoor clan, Shammi convincingly broke the conventional norms set by thespians like Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Dev Sahab. He was irresistible as a band leader in 'Dil Deke Dekho', and was mischievously lovable as a drummer in �Teesri Manzil�. �Wildy� loved in �Junglee�, was cute and caring in 'Brahmachari', during the swinging 60's his flamboyance struck an instant cord with the youth who found their hero in night clubs flirting with the luscious cabaret dancers and romancing his girls in the valleys. Swinging in those Jazz and rock n roll numbers by R.D Burman and singing those memorable romantic duets composed by Shanker Jaikishen. No doubt girls found him sexy

Bollywood divas like Mumtaz found him to be extremely handsome and a dancing sensation like Helen admitted that she couldn�t match steps with the Yahoo star as he was so spontaneous and innovative and the most touching part was that he never had any air of arrogance around his unique flamboyant specialty.

Shammi brought the free flowing attitude amongst B-town heroes which remains an inspiration for Bollywood toppers like Shahrukh Khan, Aamir, Ranbir, Imran.

Shammi's biggest contribution to the industry is he made Bollywood actors take dancing seriously. Jeetendra was very much influenced by Shammi's energetic liveliness and it appeared in his earlier films.

Shammi's flamboyance and his shakes reminded of Elvis Presley but B-town perfectionist Aamir who is highly inspired by Shammi once said that Elvis Presley is the Shammi Kapoor of America.

Shammi use to attend his song recordings and even suggested where the boy dancing piece should be added. He and Bollywood greatest voice Mohammad Rafi gave B-town unforgettable numbers in striking rage like "Aaja Ajaa" from 'Teesri Manzil, "Yahoo" title song of 'Junglee' melodies like "Ehsaan Tera" from 'Junglee' and "Awaj De Ke" from 'Professor'.

At the death of Mohammad Rafi Shammi said, "I have lost my voice".

Today Shammi is no more with us but his flamboyant energy will always inspire many for years as they don't make people like Shammi Kapoor. People like Shammi Kapoor never die.

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