On Shammi Kapoor’s 88th birth anniversary, best songs of India’s most entertaining star
When the history of Indian cinema is written, the Kapoor family’s contribution is sure to take up a lot of space. If Prithviraj Kapoor, a legendary actor who started out as a theatre owner, will take a pride of place in the list of greats, so will his sons. Raj Kapoor will forever be called the showman of Bollywood, while Shashi Kapoor will go down in history books as an actor who could straddle the disparate worlds of mainstream and parallel cinema with composite ease. Somewhere, there with them, will be Shammi Kapoor, easily one of the most entertaining stars of Bollywood.
Often called the Elvis Presley of India and, at other times, dubbed stylish playboy of Hindi films, Shammi’s currency has actually grown with every passing day. Stars like Raj Kapoor enjoyed an enviable fan following in their heyday but their aura dipped with passing time. With Shammi, looks like, the reverse has happened. Tune into a late-night FM channel and chances are you will hear a Yaa-hooo, Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe’ reaching out to you.
Shammi never fell into any strict category of acting — unconventional and unpredictable — it is famously said of him that he never needed a choreographer and reportedly would think of (and execute) his steps himself. Much before Jeetendra would make his entry into films, Shammi was dubbed the dancing star of Bollywood.
Shammi formed a winning combination with two directors — Nasir Hussain (actor Aamir Khan’s famous uncle) and Shakti Samanta. With Nasir, he gave hits like Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957), Dil Deke Dekho (1959) and Teesri Manzil (1966) and with Shakti, he delivered hits like China Town (1962), An Evening In Paris (1967), Kashmir Ki Kali (1964).
No mention of Shammi’s legacy is complete without a mention of his hit combination with singer Mohammad Rafi. Composers like OP Nayyar and Shankar Jaikishan composed most of their memorable hits.
Shammi met and later married a leading actor of the day, Geeta Bali, in 1955. Together, they had a son, Aditya and Kanchan. Sadly, Geeta died of small pox in 1965, plunging Shammi in grief. In 1969, he married Neila Devi, from the former royal family of Bhavnagar in Gujarat.
On his 88th birthday, here’s a look at some of evergreen songs.
Sar Pe Topi Lala (Tumsa Nahin Dekhi, 1957)
Yun To Humne Lakh Haseen Dekhe Hein (Tumsa Nahin Dekha)
Dekho Kasam Se Kahate Hain Tum Se (Tumsa Nahin Dekha)
Dil Deke Dekho Ji (Dil Deke Dekho, 1959)
Baar Baar Dekho (China Town, 1962)
Aasman Se Aaya Farishta (An Evening In Paris, 1967)
Akele Akele (An Evening in Paris)
Yaahooo... Yaahoo, Chahe Koi Mujhe Koi Junglee Kahe (Junglee, 1961)
Ayya Ya Karon Mein Kya (Junglee)
Tareef Karoon Kya Uski (Kashmi Ki Kali, 1964)
Isharon Isharon Mein (Kashmir Ki Kali)
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