Actor Shammi Kapoor, the dancing star who revolutionised the image of Hindi film heroes in the 1950s and 1960s with his carefree and flamboyant personality, died on Sunday. He was 79. He died of kidney failure at the Breach Candy Hospital at 5.15am, his son Aditya Raj Kapoor said.
President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and members of the film fraternity condoled his death.
The star who gave Indians the liberating Yahoo yell in 1961, more than three decades before an internet corporation with the name surfaced, will be cremated on Monday.
The actor had been unwell for some time and was on dialysis. He would visit doctors thrice a week for the medical procedure.
Born Shamsher Raj Kapoor on October 21, 1931, he was the second of three sons of the iconic Prithviraj Kapoor. His equally versatile actor brothers were the late Raj Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor, who is ailing.
Shammi Kapoor joined the cinema world in 1948 as a junior artiste for Rs 150 a month. His debut came in 1953 with Jeevan Jyoti. The tall, athletic and green-eyed hero had his share of struggle before making it big.
The recipe for his success was a makeover as a flamboyant yet lovable lover boy and an uninhibited style of dancing. The freshness and style saw him deliver big hits like An Evening in Paris, China Town, Kashmir Ki Kali, Janwar and Junglee (which had the Yahoo chartbusting song).
Sharmila Tagore and Saira Banu, who made their Bollywood debuts with him in Kashmir Ki Kali and Junglee, respectively, said they would miss the star who was “high spirited and so full of life”.
Shammi Kapoor’s demise saddened many in Kashmir, where he is considered its biggest brand ambassador. He introduced the beauty of the Valley to the film industry and the audience in the true sense.
In July last year, the actor shot for his last movie, Rockstar, with grandnephew Ranbir Kapoor.
Shammi Kapoor married popular actor Geeta Bali in 1955. She died of smallpox in 1965. In 1969, he married Neela Devi Gohil from the erstwhile royal family of Bhavnagar in Gujarat.
(With inputs from agencies)