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Shammi Kapoor: an actor who attained cult status by his iconic mannerisms

August 17, 2011 01:01:10 PM IST
Enkayaar, Glamsham Editorial
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Identification with commonality and the laity of the country, by a film star cannot be through appearance on the screen in high fashion clothes or with razzmatazz, it has to be in the attires that a common man can afford. Shammi Kapoor's popularity among the masses and the classes was owing primarily to the fact that by his getup and mannerisms he could charm the common man as also awaken the latent child inside the hoi poili who in its quest to be an stiff upper lip individual had buried the child somewhere deep inside his heart. It was this character that became his USP and made him darling of the masses and the classes.


He was probably the only star in Indian film industry that had the courage and the guts to hang from the railing of a helicopter in Paris in AN EVENING IN PARIS to serenade Sharmila Tagore. Can any other film star be found in the history of Indian cinema, which while shooting on a foreign locale, has the guts to appear in the screen draped in a blanket, but Shammi Kapoor was one such star who could do it with conviction and confidence. He did it scores of times, i.e. choosing a blanket to enact a role, as he did it in JANWAR, underlining the basic tenet of performing art that it is not the clothes and the attire that determine a performance, but it is the enactment of a role which becomes the overriding consideration in establishing instant chemistry with the audience.

CHECK OUT: ROCKSTAR, one of Shammi Kapoor's last films

Shammi Kapoor was also one of the rare actors who had an instant chemistry with the children, and therefore in nearly all his films children played a very important role, and this could be one of the important reasons why he had such a huge fan following base. There was no other actor belonging to his generation who had such a close acting relationship with children as Shammi Kapoor had, and the last film where he was one of the main actors, ANDAZ, underlined his outreach in most profound manner, and when he shifted to character role, his love and fondness for children came out in more pronounced passion, as it was in VIDHATA, PARVARISH etc., all, which made him stand out among all the stars in each of the films in which he enacted the role of a character actor.

Surprisingly enough none of the producers and directors tried to exploit this latent potential of the JUNGLEE star, otherwise Hindi cinema would have more enriched by his performance. One only hopes that his last film ROCK STAR would have been able to tap this potential of one of the most consummate performers Hindi cinema has ever seen.

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