As I sit down to write about one of the most vibrant and exuberant actors of Indian cinema, I feel the weight of sorrow on my shoulders, and the tears in my eyes hinder my vision. Shamsher Raj “Shammi” Kapoor, or as we knew him lovingly as Shammi jee, left for his heavenly abode on Sunday morning, 14th August 2011.
He ‘is’ a man who will always remain in my heart and soul as a source of liveliness and an icon that oozes out positive energy, an icon that is ageless in every aspect of the word. From being the naughty and rebellious dancing romantic in numerous 60’s movies to the new age tech aficionado, Shammi jee, I salute you.
Thank you Shammi jee, for giving me the gift of Teesri Manzil, for without it, there wouldn’t be ‘Tumne Mujhe Dekha‘ – a song which you shot, whilst you were recovering from the untimely demise of your beloved Geeta. Can we imagine Panchamda’s other immortal hits – O Haseena Zulfowali, Deewana Mujh Sa Nahi, Aaja Aaja and O Mere Sona Re without Teesri Manzil ?
Thank you for ‘Kashmir Ki Kali‘, the movie that gave us the vision of Kashmir’s ethereal scenery – both in Sharmila’s innocence, as well as the reflection of house boats on the Dal Lake. Thank you, for along with Kishore da , you’ve defined slapstick by the grey beard of Professor. You’ve defined ‘generosity’ in Brahmachari, but most importantly, you gave us youth, the most epic buzzword for rebellion – YAHOO, long before we were even born.
And it is not only your happy emotions which strike a chord with me. When you sang in Rafi saab’s voice – Tumne mujhko hasna seekhaya, Rone kahoge, Ro lenge ab – a tear creeps in silently.
Your flirtatious Elvis mode will remain alive through us, and we’ll make sure that we pass it down to the future generations, through the madness of hip shaking on Aaja Aaja, or Baar Baar Dekho. The madness and free-spirit nature of ‘Aasman Se Aaya Farishta‘, where you hang on to a helicopter, dressed in a bathrobe, can only be compared to your own ‘Ho Tumse Accha Kaun Hai‘. And when it comes to flair and panache, there’s nothing that can outshine the golden jacker 🙂
Thank you for the gift of ‘Neela Aasmaan So Gaya‘ which you composed in a hotel room with Amitabh jee, whilst you were shooting for Zameer. And even in your supporting roles like Vidhata, Prem Rog and even Kareeb, you gave us not just a character, but a person to remember. And I cannot hold my anticipation to see you one last time in Rockstar.
Thank you for that twinkle in your eye, a fraction of which can be seen in the Kareena’s effervescent Geet . Thank you for that maverick vibrating dude-ness out of which Govinda has made a living.
Thank you Shammi jee for being in our lives. Legends speak of men who gain immortality by the tasks they do. You were truly one of them.