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Elvis Presley of India leaves for heavenly abode to jive in Gods courts

August 14, 2011 04:59:51 PM IST
Enkayaar, Glamsham Editorial
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The original rock and roll star of Indian film industry, the actor who was synonymous with joy and jest and who was a shinning beacon of a will to fight against all odds, finally gave it up and breathed his last yesterday. Shammi Kapoor passed away today early in the morning, and with his passing away an era of Hindi film industry, an era which was full of fun, life, joy, jest and chutzpah has come to an end. Though he gave up acting more than 10 years ago, he is the only star who continued to inspire generations with his jigs on the screen. On the eve of Mohammed Rafi's death anniversary, Shammi Kapoor had said that where it not for Mohammed Rafi he would not have attained the iconic status. This was his style, style characterized by humility, humbleness and an ability to enjoy life to the hilt. Indeed, such was his dancing style, that it could not be straight jacketed under one category, and it was a body that was in motion with the crest and trough of the song to which he grooved and drooled the nation.

Trying to carve a niche at the time when Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar ruled the silver screen, it was a chance exposure to rock and roll in CHINA TOWN with the song "Talli Ho" that set the nation's sentiments on fire and gave the aspirations of youth a wing. The fire that was kindled around that time still continues to maintain same glow, indeed he started the fire that gave expression to aspirations of youth of the time. He came into his own being and got the tag of original rebel with the success of JUNGLEE in 1961 and after that he never looked back.

He was the original rebel of Indian cinema who did not care about image, where would one find a star who could dance in a blanket, or could dance in a burqa, jump into water or roll down a hill to enter into the skin of the character. Yes, it was this mandate with which he enacted all the rolls, be it during the time when he was the lead actor or when he became a character actor, the shining example being his role in VIDHATA or BETAAB. One often wonders, where it not for the death of Geeta Bali and the time during which he went astray, where his career could have taken him. Fortunately for Indian cinema, Shammi Kapoor's fans and also Shammi Kapoor, he met Neela Devi and it gave his life a stability that proved to be manna from heaven and gave his career a stability, which paved the way for one of the most enduring relationships that a star could have with the audience.

He was a real technology fanatic and was responsible for creation of ethical hackers' society of India. Starting his career as a serious actor in JEEVAN JYOTI in 1953, it was with TUMSA NAHI DEKHA that he found his niche and went on a path of blaze trailing success. He had a successful pairing opposite Asha Parekh, Saira Banu and Sharmila Tagore. Interesting enough most of his heroines also had a meatier role opposite him be it Sadhana, Mumtaz, or even Hema Malini, and probably this could be one of the factors in giving his career longevity. He also was an actor who created one of the most successful comic partnerships with Rajinder Nath, with whom he gave one of the most hilarious moments to Hindi cinema, moments that were more of slap-stick never exceeding their limits to become vulgar, and it would be difficult to find such pairing among any other film star and a comic actor in the history of Indian cinema. It speaks volumes about Shammi Kapoor's approach to acting, a performance that was intuitive, reacting to the situation and improvising on it.

He was an actor who also created the benchmark of fashion, characterized by wearing short shirts, not wearing the shirts inside but outside, symbols of being a rebel, and also an actor who always has his collars up, literally and metaphorically. He was also one of the first stars who took more than particular interest in music of his films, as it was the music of his films that facilitated in carving the niche as the rebel star in the mould of Elvis Presley.

The void that has been left behind by passing away of Shammi Kapoor would be difficult to fulfill. One always wonders, why nobody, i.e. those who are associated with kidney ailments never bothered to use him as an icon, as he was the man who was on dialysis for more than ten years, but never let the world know that he had his ailment. This was the guiding principle of his life, of maintaining a facade of a funny exterior shot through and through with fun and jest for life, and he left the world on his own terms. May his soul rest in peace, and Indian cinema continues to get inspired from this shinning beacon of Indian cinema.

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