Sunday, August 14, 2011

Shammi Kapoor - The Farishta from Heaven - Rest in Peace

Shammi Kapoor R.I.P. There was a time when people said there were three schools of acting in Bollywood (the name came later, those days it was Hindi Films). One was Dilip Kumar, the second was Dev Anand and the third was Raj Kapoor. However, I think they forgot the fourth - Shammi Kapoor, maybe, because he was part of the Raj Kapoor family. Shammi Kapoor had a distinctive acting style which was copied later by his nephews Randhir Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor both sons of Raj Kapoor. Most aspirants to stardom in those days copied Shammi Kapoor rather than Raj Kapoor. Even Randhir and Rishi said that they were more proud to say they were nephews of Shammi than sons of Raj. Even Anil Kapoor's style reflects on Shammi Kapoor. Anil is Shammi's cousin Surinder's son.

Well, he is no more. Shammi, wherever you are, you will be missed. In those halcyon days my friends were crazy about Shammi and whenever there were re-runs of "An Evening in Paris" in Natraj, Sahakar and Basant in Chembur we would go to watch it. My friends have seen the movie around 40 times each. Such was the craze for his movies for fans of his. He was the eternal loverboy wooing his love on the slopes of the hills of Kulu, Manali and Darjeeling, he was the one on the helicopter who would woo his woman surfing in the sea below, he was the jocular nice guy playing pranks, and all these he did with consummate ease. 

I guess in those days we had good Bengali directors, good Bengali music directors and singers and good Punjabi actors. They made for great screen chemistry. "An Evening in Paris" was directed by Shakti Samanta - a Bengali. Once the Punjab da puttars and others took over film direction our industry suffered. I may be wrong, but that's a very biased opinion of mine. I would like to be proved wrong. We have no Bengali directors left in Bollywood, nor do we have Bengali music directors and singers. What a loss! We need our Bengali intellectual-artists back to pep up whatever is left of the glorious Hindi film industry which is currently in the throes of too much vulgarity and tripe. I hate to sit through even a single movie without being driven to tears of boredom. The story doesn't exist and there is no co-ordination in anything. 

What turned out as an elegy for Shammi has turned out to be a tirade against the Hindi Film industry. Well, Shammi-ji your memory will stay with us as we watch endless re-runs of "Aasman's Se Aya Farishta."

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