Shammi Kapoor (21 October 1931– 14 August 2011) was an Indian film actor and director. He was a prominent lead actor in Hindi cinemaduring the late 1950s and 1960s. He passed away on the morning of August 14th, 2011 at 5.15 AM.
He was given the name Shamsher Raj Kapoor at his birth in Mumbaito film and theatre actor Prithviraj Kapoor, Shammi was the second of the three sons born to Prithviraj (the other two being Raj Kapoor andShashi Kapoor), both of whom were, like their father, successfulBollywood actors. Though born in Mumbai, he spent a major portion of his childhood in Kolkata, where his father was involved with New Theatres Studios, acting in films. It was in Kolkata that he did his Montessory and Kindergarten. After coming back to Mumbai, he first went to St. Joseph’s Convent (Wadala) and then, to Don Bosco School. Shammi Kapoor finished his schooling from New Era School, atHughes Road.
Shammi Kapoor was hailed as one of the finest actors that Hindi cinema has ever produced. Extremely versatile as an actor, he was the leading star of Hindi cinema during the late 1950s as well as the 1960s. He debuted in Bollywood in 1953 with the film Jeevan Jyoti, and went on to deliver hits likeTumsa Nahin Dekha, Dil Deke Dekho, Junglee, Dil Tera Diwana, Professor, China Town, Rajkumar, Kashmir Ki Kali,Janwar, Teesri Manzil, An Evening in Paris, Bramhachari, and Andaz and Vidhaata. He received the Filmfare Best Actor Award in 1968 for his performance in Brahmachari and Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor for Vidhaata in 1982.
Shammi Kapoor had a short stint at Ruia College, in Matunga, Mumbai, after which he joined his father’s theatrical company “Prithvi Theatres”. He entered the cinema world in 1948, as a junior artiste, at a salary of Rs. 150 per month, stayed with Prithvi Theatres for the next four years and collected his last paycheck, Rs. 300, in 1952. He made his debut in Bollywood in the year 1953, when the film Jeevan Jyoti was released. It was directed by Mr. Mahesh Kaul and Chand Usmani was Kapoor’s first heroine.
Kapoor started out with serious roles but with Filmistan’s Nasir Hussain directed Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957) oppositeAmeeta and Dil Deke Dekho (1959) with Asha Parekh, he attained the image of a light-hearted, stylish playboy. Tall, athletic, lively, fair complexioned, green-eyed and with handsome features- Shammi was a heartthrob, and his good looks and physique complemented his image.
With Junglee (1961) his new image was cemented and his subsequent films were all in this genre. He particularly chose Mohammed Rafi as his playback voice. Though in his early career he had often played second fiddle to established heroines like Madhubala in films such as Rail Ka Dibba (1953), producers now loved pairing Shammi with new heroines, and three of them became huge stars in their own right: Asha Parekh, Saira Banu, and Sharmila Tagore. Of all his heroines, he said that Sharmila Tagore, Rajshree, and Asha Parekh were easy to work with. He and Asha Parekh were paired together in four films, the most successful being the murder mystery Teesri Manzil(1966).
In the first half of the 1960s, Kapoor was seen in successful films like Professor, Char Dil Char Rahen, Raat ke Raahi,Dil Tera Diwana, ‘Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya’, China Town, Kashmir Ki Kali, Bluff Master, Janwar and Rajkumar. Although nominated before, in 1968, he received the first Filmfare Best Actor award of his career for the film Bramhachari.
In the 1970s, Kapoor’s weight problem proved an obstacle in his path of success and ended his career as a romantic hero. One of his last hits, in which he played the lead role, was Andaz (1971). With time, he moved to character roles and acted in films like Zameer, Hero and Vidhaata. In 1974, he donned the hat of a director and made Manoranjan, a film based on Irma La Douce. Two years later, he made Bandalbaaz (1976). However, both the films failed to create magic at the box office. His last appearance, as a character actor, was in the delayed 2006 film, Sandwich. Recently he had decided to act with his great-nephew Ranbir Kapoor, the grandson of his brother Raj Kapoor, in Imitiaz Ali’s next movie.
Shammi Kapoor met Geeta Bali in 1955, during the shooting of the film ‘Rangeen Raaten’. He was the leading actor and she played a cameo. They fell in love, but since she was a year older to him and had acted with his elder brother and father, they were skeptical. Four months after they first met, they married at Banganga Temples, near Napean Sea Road of Mumbai. Hari Walia as the sole witness. They informed their parents only after their marriage.
Shammi and Geeta lived a life of bliss in the coming years. They had a son, Aditya Raj Kapoor, on 1 July 1956, at Shirodkar’s Hospital, Mumbai, a year after they were married. Five years later, in 1961, they had a daughter, Kanchan.
Tragedy struck in 1965, during the filming of Teesri Manzil. Geeta died of small pox, leaving Shammi with two small children.
It led to a failed romance with Mumtaz, his co-star from Brahmchari (1968).
In 1969, he married his second wife Neela Devi Gohil from the Royal Family of Bhavnagar in Gujarat. He was gaining weight rather significantly now and this ended his career as a romantic hero in the early 1970s. Andaz (1971) was one of his last hits.
Shammi turned into a successful supporting actor in the 70’s, playing Saira Banu’s father in Zameer (1974), when he had been her leading man a decade earlier in Junglee (1961) and Bluff Master (1964) and playing Amitabh Bachchan’s foster father in Parvarish. He also directed Manoranjan (1974) a copy of Irma La Douce and in which he played a supporting role himself and Bandalbaaz (1976), but neither were successful. In the 1980s and 1990s, he continued to play supporting roles in many films and won a Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for his performance in Vidhaata(1982). He eventually cut down on film appearances by the late 1990s and early 2000s and made his last appearance in the delayed 2006 release Sandwich.
Shammi Kapoor was the founder and chairman of Internet Users Community of India (IUCI). He had also played a major role in setting up internet organizations like the Ethical Hackers Association. Kapoor also maintained a website dedicated to the ‘Kapoor family’.
In 2006, he told interviewers that he underwent dialysis three times a week. Irrepressible even then, this punishing regimen has failed to depress him. Rather, he said that he was thankful to God for giving him so much.
He died around 5:15 am, August 14, 2011 at Mumbai Breach Candy hospital, where he was undergoing treatment. for chest infection. He died of renal failure.
Kapoor was admitted to Breach Candy Hospital on 7th August, 2011 suffering from chronic renal failure. His condition remained serious for next few days, kept under ventilator support. However, the actor passed away on 14 August, 2011, 05:15am IST at the age of 79 of chronic renal failure.