Shamsher Raj Kapoor or Shammi Kapoor as most of the world knows him, is a very interesting person. He realized in a short stint at Ruia College that he wasn’t quite cut out for academia. He dropped out of college and to the credit of his father, the Patriarch of the Kapoor clan, (for not mollycoddling his children) Prithviraj Kapoor, started on a (not so) princely salary of ₹50 a month initially with Prithvi Theaters. He worked hard and worked his way diligently up the ladder, to increase his remuneration to ₹300 a month, something his father was very proud of and happy about.
Amazing because the owner of the company was Prithviraj Kapoor himself !! Compare that with those born with a silver spoon today. If Shammi had ever been caught doing drugs, I am sure his father would’ve let him rot in jail. Unlike a drug crazed young spoilt brat of a useless D Company self styled star gigolo that was so much in the news recently.
Shammi Kapoor then moved to the world of films and found his career (& himself) floundering when he started acting – as pretty much a conventional actor. He was blessed with a series of flops for the first 4 years or so till he was cast almost serendipitously in Tumsa Nahin Dekha, a film actually meant to (re)launch the producer’s (ahem) protégé- Ameeta. The movie showed Shammi Kapoor in a carefree role quite contrary to the lead roles of the day. The runaway success of the movie meant a star was born. Although Totaram Jalan would’ve wanted this to be the cute Ameeta with her fair skin and lovely eyes, Dame Fortune clearly didn’t eye her, but chancing upon Shammi Kapoor, gave him a huge leg up on the ladder of success. As a result, Shammi Kapoor actually made a career out of hamming, and was adored by his hordes of fans. Ameeta, poor lady, faded away. Shammi Kapoor during this phase twinned with Rafisaab. The singer became Shammi’s virtual vocal doppelganger. His singing for Shammiji achieved a different dimension altogether. Even on the occasions where other voices were used for Shammi on screen, his hamming continued regardless.
Look at this unforgettable song from Jaane Anjaane, an early 70s movie. Made by the man with the Midas touch, Shakti Samanta, this movie has the theme of an orphan found abandoned by a convict’s wife, her adopting the boy, and the storyline isn’t really path breaking. Leena Chandavarkar is the romantic interest and she was cute and cuddly and could act a bit, was adequately curvaceous and could do the routine stuff like prancing in the rain, roll in the mud, and claim to play badminton while singing , in sync with the rhythm of the song. This movie has music by Shankar Jaikishan, and sung beautifully by Manna Dey. Look at the outrageous hamming by Shammi Kapoor that actually grabs eyeballs rather than the beauteous belle. That’s Shammi’s magic !! https://youtu.be/pTuavNrww-I
A song that typifies the man, and his “acting”. He was a guy who was certainly more popular with the film going public than the critics.
Have a wonderful Sunday folks , stay away from the Chinese malice. I will enjoy the unseasonal rains and welcome drop in the mercury