Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Rebel Star - Shammi Kapoor

Shammi Kapoor – The rebel star of Bollywood

Shammi Kapoor can be considered as the rebel hero of the 60s who broke the convention of other actors dominating the film arena. Shammi Kapoor, born on 21st October, 1931, better known as Shamsher Raj, was the second brother of Raj Kapoor and had a unconventional career graph if compared with other heroes of that age. In the early 50s his films like Rail Ka Dibba, 1953, Laila Majnu, Sipah Salar, did not make any significant impact on the film lovers, because his brother Raj Kapoor, was dominating the film arena with his realistic films. He transformed himself and followed the rock and roll dance postures of Elvis Priestley and started a new innings with film Tumsa Nahi Dekha, 1957.

The Indian audience was not habituated to seeing male dancers at that point of time except classical performances of Gopi Krishan. His dancing capabilities with rock and roll music composed by different composers and epic combination with Mohammad Rafi gave a different dimension to his career. The songs in Tumsa Nahi Dekha, including “yu to humne lakh hasin dekhe hai” sung by Rafi and composed by OP Nayyar became a super duper hit and the combination stormed the film world with the next film Dil Deke Dekho where music was composed by Usha Khanna with songs like “dil deke dekho del deke dekho” etc.

Black and white classics were transformed into coloured films and Shammi Kapoor was benefited the most with films like Junglee opposite Saira Banu, Janwar opposite Rajashri, Kashmir Ki Kali opposite Sharmila Tagore, etc., which were shot at picturesque locations in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh and had melodious music. Shankar Jaikishan composed the maximum number of songs for Shammi Kapoor and nearly all of them were super hits. Prominent among them include “ehsaan tera hoga mujhpar”, “ meri yaar shabba khair”, “tumne pukara aur hum chale aye”, etc.

In the mid-60s Shammi Kapoor created a dance-based trend of films which were followed by other actors of that age including Joy Mukherjee and Biswajeet who had similar story lines as that of Shammi Kapoor. Films like Rajkumar opposite Sadhna, Teesri Manzil opposite Asha Parekh, Latt Saheb opposite Nutan, An Evening In Paris, Prince opposite Vaijayantimala, were very successful. The subject matter in those films involved soft romantic stories with element of comedy embedded in them. Rajender Nath as comedian accompanied Shammi Kapoor in a number of films. Some of the songs in Rock and Roll andaz include “aajkal tere mere pyar ke charche”, “aja aja”, “tumse accha kaun hai”, etc.

Teesri Manzil included a suspense thriller where Prem Nath acted as a villain for the first time. Shammi Kapoor received the best actor award for performing in the film Brahmachari, 1968, where he run an orphanage and looked after small children who were left there by their parents who never wanted to bear the liability of maintaining their children. The songs composed by Shankar Jaikishan in the film like “mai gayun tum so jayo”, “dil ke jharoke me”, “chakke pe chakka” were very big hits with Rafi excelling in one song or the other.

In the early 70s, after acting in Andaz, opposite Hema Malini in 1971, Shammi Kapoor, put on weight, started keeping beard and switched of to character acting in films like Zameer, Parvarish, etc., where he acted as the father of Amitabh Bacchan or Vinod Khanna, etc. Notable films include Betaab in 1983. He received the best supporting actor award for performing in Vidhata, 1982, along with Dilip Kumar. As acting talents were inherent in the Kapoors, Shammi Kapoor did not find it difficult to perform in character roles and he is still acting in these types of roles these days.

Even then Shammi Kapoor is remembered for introducing the trend of dancing in Indian films with westernised mannerisms in the 60s which were carried forward by heroes of the later age. Rafi’s songs picturised on him including “akele akele kahan ja rahe ho”, “raat ke humsafar”, “ai chand zara ruk ja”, “dil use do jo jaan dede”, etc., have an everlasting effect even today. His films should be restored to honour the exotic locations, brilliant music and overall entertainment in the 60s.


rafimurty said...

Good article on Shammi Ji, Mr Souvik. You have given more than enough material on the legendary hip-hop swinging star of the 60s through 70s. In para four, however, one sentence "In 'an evening in paris' and 'prince' opposite Vyjayantimala conveys that the latter was the heroin in both the movies. However, it was Sharmila Tagore in the first of two named movies what with her bikini avatar, remember ? Then again, no mention was made of the most famous of Shammiji's songs - YAAHOOO- from Junglee. Shammiji has somewhere echoed that his success was more because of Rafi Sahab's songs in his movies. Fine article though.

Souvik-indrajalik said...

Thanks for reminding me about the actress in An Evening in Paris, it was a film of Shakti Shamanta and Sharmila Tagore complimented Shammi Kapoor. In fact Rafi had provided many mannerisms in the songs of Shammi Kapoor including "yeh chand sa roushan chehra" and "diwana hua badal" in Kashmir Ki Kali, 1964, composed by OP Nayyar. It appeared to listeners that Shammi Kapoor is singing. It included the dynamic capability of Rafi.
Souvik Chatterji.