Monday, August 15, 2011

As I remember Shammi Kapoor

I do not belong to the generation that grew up watching his films, yet, his song and dance sequences bring a smile to my face.

Shammi Kapoor was the second son of theater veteran Prithviraj Kapoor (famous for his role in the epic film, Mughal-e-Azam) who dominated the Indian cinematic scene during the 1950s and 60s.

An impish grin, hypnotic grey-green gaze and flicks of unruly hair falling on the forehead, Shammi Kapoor was a rebellious charmer on screen. He was also the most handsome of the three Kapoor brothers.

Some say he was a versatile actor but I am particularly fond of his dancing style. Crazy and wild, the man danced with a flair that was unique to him. His head bobs that never missed a beat, the uncaring throw of his body, the play of his facial expressions, all seemed to say - lose your inhibitions and just dance.

His comic capers during those sequences never seemed forced or overdone. That was his natural style. He was best at teasing his heroines with a sexy twitch of his lips as if, his mouth was trying hard to break into a smile but his head was saying: I am not done with the teasing yet.

Actor Aamir Khan describes him aptly, "Positive energy and a naughty spirit always flowed out of him."

His madness was rhythmic as his music sense, laudable. In his famous song, "Aasmaan se aaya farishta", from the movie, "An Evening in Paris", he had to drop from a helicopter in the opening sequence. During the shooting, it turned out that the noise of the helicopter was too loud for the song to be audible. So director Shakti Samanta sang the song to him from the ground, several feet below, and Shammi danced and lip synced just by following his lip movements.

Magic was created when another legend, singer Mohammad Rafi, lent his voice to Kapoor's characters. Rafi sung his songs envisaging how Kapoor would react to each word and Kapoor brought life to the words as no other actor can.

Some of my favourite songs are of the dynamic duo -Ye chand sa roshan chehraEhsaan tera hoga mujh parTumsa nahi dekha  Aajkal tere mere pyaar ke charcheBadan pe sitaareIshaaron ishaaron and several more. The two complimented each other perfectly.

Decades later, their songs are still pure delight to romantics, even those who've grown up watching Shahrukh Khan. Shammi Kapoor once said in an interview with TimesNow, "There is no message in my films. You just go home with a tune in your heart after watching my movie."

Today, on August 14, 2011, Shammi Kapoor, the live wire of Indian cinema passed away. May God bless his soul. A man who brought smiles to many faces. 

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