Shammi Kapoor

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Shammi Kapoor
Signed photo of Indian actor Shammi Kapoor (2).jpg
Shamsher Raj Kapoor

(1931-10-21)21 October 1931
Died14 August 2011(2011-08-14) (aged 79)
Other namesElvis Presley of India
Years active1948–2011
Geeta Bali
(m. 1955; died 1965)

Neela Devi Gohil (m. 1969–2011)
(his death)
Children2 (inc. Aditya Raj Kapoor)
Parent(s)Prithviraj Kapoor
Ramsarni Kapoor
RelativesSee Kapoor Family
Shammi Kapoor.svg

Shammi Kapoor (born Shamsher Raj Kapoor; 21 October 1931[2] – 14 August 2011) was an Indian film actor and director. He was a prominent lead actor in Hindi cinema from the Mid 1950s until the early 1970s and also made a debut in Tamil cinema with the 1992 blockbuster crime drama Amaran. 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 is hailed as one of the most entertaining lead actors that Hindi cinema has ever produced. He was one of the leading stars of Hindi cinema during the late 1950s, the 1960s and early 1970s. He made his Hindi Film debut in 1953 with the film Jeevan Jyoti, and went on to deliver hits like Tumsa Nahin Dekha, Dil Deke Dekho, Singapore, Junglee, College Girl, Professor, China Town, Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, Kashmir Ki Kali, Janwar, Teesri Manzil, An Evening in Paris, Bramhachari, Andaz and Sachaai.

Early life[edit]

He was given the name Shamsher Raj Kapoor at his birth in Bombay (now Mumbai) to film and theatre actor Prithviraj Kapoor and Ramsharni Kapoor (née Mehra).[3] Shammi was the second of the three sons born to Prithviraj (the other two being Raj Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor, both successful Hindi Film actors). He was the first cousin of singer, Juggal Kishore Mehra, whose granddaughter is the actress-singer Salma Agha. Thus, Shammi Kapoor is an uncle of Salma Agha.

Though born in Mumbai, he spent a major portion of his childhood in Peshawar, Pakistan in the Kapoor Haveli and in Calcutta (now Kolkata), where his father was involved with New Theatres Studios, acting in films. It was in Kolkata that he did his Montessori education and Kindergarten. After coming back to Bombay, he first went to St. Joseph's Convent (Wadala) and then, to Don Bosco School. He finished his matric schooling from New Era School at Hughes Road.

Kapoor had a short stint at Ramnarain Ruia College 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. 50 per month, stayed with Prithvi Theatres for the next four years and collected his last pay check of Rs. 300, in 1952. He made his debut in Hindi Films in the year 1953, when the film Jeevan Jyoti was released. It was directed by Mahesh Kaul and Chand Usmani was Kapoor’s first heroine. He was in a relationship with Nadia Gamal, a belly dancer from Cairo[4] and Egyptian actress, from 1953–55 after they met in Sri Lanka on an occasion while he was on a holiday trip,[5] but their relationship ended when she moved back to Cairo.

Film career[edit]

Kapoor's career started unsuccessfully in the early 1950s with him acting with established actresses playing second fiddle in woman-oriented movies: with Madhubala in films such as Rail Ka Dibba (1953) and Naqab, with Nutan in Laila Majnu, with Shyama in Thokar and with Nalini Jaywant in Hum Sab Chor Hain, Shama Parwana (1954) with Suraiya, comedy flick Mem Sahib (1956) with Meena Kumari, and thrillers like Chor Bazar (1954), as well as in the tragic love story Mirza Sahiban (1957) opposite Shyama.[6] From 1953 to 1957, none of his films made him popular.

With Filmistan's Nasir Hussain directed Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957) opposite Ameeta and Dil Deke Dekho (1959) with Asha Parekh, he attained the image of a light-hearted, and stylish playboy.[7] With Junglee (1961) his new image was cemented and his subsequent films were all in this genre viz.Romcoms. Mohammed Rafi was frequently chosen as his playback voice in the movies that he did. In the 1960s he was often paired with new actresses such as Asha Parekh, Saira Banu, and Sharmila Tagore, all of whom went on to have very successful careers.[8] Of all his heroines, he said that Sharmila Tagore, Rajshree, and Asha Parekh were easy to work with.[9]

Sharmila Tagore and Saira Banu made their Hindi film debuts with Shammi Kapoor in Kashmir Ki Kali and Junglee respectively[10] He and Asha Parekh were paired in four films, of which the murder mystery Teesri Manzil (1966) and Dil Deke Dekho were successful.

In the first half of the 1960s, Kapoor was seen in successful films like College Girl, Basant, Singapore, Boy Friend, Professor, Dil Tera Diwana, Vallah Kya Baat Hai, Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya, China Town, Kashmir Ki Kali, Bluff Master, Janwar and Rajkumar.

In 1968, he received the first Filmfare Best Actor Award of his career for Bramhachari. He made a unique place for himself in the industry as he was the only dancing hero in Hindi films from the late 1950s till the early 1970s.[citation needed][11] He used to compose dancing steps in the songs starring him and reportedly never needed a choreographer. This earned him the name of Elvis Presley of India.[12][13]

His pairing opposite Southern heroines tended to be commercially successful. He played opposite B. Saroja Devi in Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya and Preet Na Jane Reet, with Padmini in Singapore, and opposite Vyjayanthimala in College Girl and Prince.[14] In the late 1960s, his successful films included Budtameez and Sachaai with Sadhana, Latt Saheb with Nutan and Tumse Achha Kaun Hai with Babita.

In the 1970s, Kapoor’s weight problem proved an obstacle when playing the romantic hero, and the last such film he played in was Andaz (1971). He turned into a successful supporting actor in the 1970s, playing Saira Banu's father in Zameer (1974), when he had been her leading man a decade earlier in Junglee (1961) and Bluff Master (1963) and playing Amitabh Bachchan's foster father in Parvarish. He also directed Manoranjan (1974), a movie inspired from Irma La Douce and Bundal Baaz (1976). Neither were successful commercially though they got critical acclaim and were hailed as classics and ahead of their time.

In the 1980s and 1990s, he continued to play many supporting roles and won a Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for his performance in Vidhaata (1982) where big giants as Dilip Kumar and Sanjeev Kumar played major roles. He did a social melodrama serial called Chattan aired on Zee TV for more than a year in the 1990s. He eventually cut down on film appearances by the late 1990s and early 2000s with appearances in the 1999 Salman Khan and Urmila Matondkar starrer Jaanam Samjha Karo, 2002 release Waah! Tera Kya Kehna and the delayed 2006 release Sandwich.

Shortly before his death, he made his last film appearance in Imtiaz Ali's 2011 directorial venture Rockstar co-starring his grand-nephew Ranbir Kapoor, the grandson of his brother Raj Kapoor.

Director Shakti Samanta directed Shammi Kapoor in six films — Singapore, China Town, Kashmir Ki Kali, An Evening In Paris, Pagla Kahin Ka and Jaane Anjane (the last two were unsuccessful) — and said in an interview “I found Shammi to be a thoroughly good man. Even in his heyday, he was humble."[15]

Personal life[edit]

Kapoor met Geeta Bali in 1955, during the shooting of the film Rangeen Raaten, where he was the leading actor and she played a cameo. Four months later, they married at Banganga Temples, near Napean Sea Road of Mumbai. 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. Geeta Bali died from smallpox in 1965. Shammi Kapoor married Neila Devi, from the former royal family of Bhavnagar in Gujarat, on 27 January 1969.[7][16]

In an interview in 2011, Mumtaz had stated that Shammi Kapoor had proposed marriage to her, as they had drawn close while shooting for Brahmachari. This was post the death of his first wife Geeta Bali. Mumtaz states that she had politely refused, as Shammi Kapoor wanted her to give up her career.[17] Bina Ramani, an eminent socialite also claims to have had a tumultuous affair with Shammi Kapoor at around the same time as Mumtaz.[18]

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.[19]

Shammi Kapoor was a follower of Haidakhan Baba.[20]


Kapoor was admitted to Breach Candy Hospital, Mumbai on 7 August 2011 suffering from chronic renal failure. His condition remained serious for next few days and he was kept on ventilator support.[21] He died on 14 August 2011, 05:15 am IST, of chronic renal failure, aged 79.[22][23] Funeral was held on Monday, 15 August at Banganga cremation ground, Malabar Hill, Mumbai. His son, Aditya, performed the last rites at the cremation. The entire Kapoor family were present to pay their last respects, including his younger brother Shashi Kapoor, sister-in-law Krishna Kapoor, grand nephew Ranbir Kapoor, nephews Rishi, Randhir and Rajiv, Randhir's wife Babita and grand nieces Karishma Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor.[24] Bollywood personalities Vinod Khanna, Shatrughan Sinha, Subhash Ghai, Amitabh Bachchan, Ramesh Sippy, Danny Denzongpa, Prem Chopra, Anil Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Govinda, Aamir Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Shahrukh Khan, Kabir Bedi and Priyanka Chopra were among those who attended the funeral.[25]

To honour Kapoor, a brass statue of his was unveiled at Walk of the Stars at Bandra Bandstand in Mumbai.


Kapoor on a 2013 stamp of India
Filmfare Awards
IIFA Awards
  • 2002 – Invaluable Contribution To Indian Cinema at the IIFA.[29]
Bollywood Movie Awards
  • 2005 – Lifetime Achievement Award[30]
Zee Cine Awards
Star Screen Awards
Other Awards
  • 1998 – Kalakar Awards – Special Award for "contribution in Indian Cinema"[32]
  • 2001 – Anandalok Awards Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Living Legend Award by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)[33]
  • 2008 – Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Indian cinema at the Pune International Film Festival (PIFF).[34]
  • Rashtriya Gaurav Award[35]


Shammi Kapoor starred in over 50 films as lead actor, and over 20 films in supporting roles. He has won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor once, for his performance in the film Brahmachari (1968).[26]


  • Shikast (Sony TV) (1996)
  • Dastaan-E-Hatim Tai (DD Metro) (1996)
  • Chattan (Zee TV) (1997)
  • Main Anari Tu Anari (DD Metro) (1998)
  • One episode of Marathi serial Paramveer


  1. ^ Veteran actor Shammi Kapoor passes away, CNN-IBN, 14 August 2011, archived from the original on 17 October 2012, retrieved 14 August 2011
  2. ^ Ahmed, Ishtiaq (7 November 2006). "Prithviraj Kapoor: A centenary tribute – Daily Times". Stockholm University. Daily Times. p. 1. Archived from the original on 5 May 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  3. ^ "Shammi Kapoor". 30 October 1998. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
  4. ^ A look at the Kapoor clan: Part 3 – Shammi and Shashi Raj Kapoor Archived 30 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine. 31 October 2012
  5. ^ Trending stories on Indian Lifestyle, Culture, Relationships, Food, Travel, Entertainment, News & New Technology News – (1 January 1970). Retrieved on 2018-11-08.
  6. ^ India's beloved Junglee no more Archived 15 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Times Of India. Retrieved on 16 August 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Shammi Kapoor Biography – Life Story, Career, Awards and Achievements". Archived from the original on 5 May 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  8. ^ Shammi Kapoorl: Lionheart Archived 1 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 16 August 2011.
  9. ^ Celebrity Interviews – powered by React Media Archived 29 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 16 August 2011.
  10. ^ Shammi Kapoor's leading ladies will miss the star Archived 15 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved on 16 August 2011.
  11. ^ "Shammiji had his own way of encouraging people: Saira Banu – Times Of India". 14 August 2011. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  12. ^ "Shammi Kapoor, India's Elvis, dies". Indian Express. Archived from the original on 15 June 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  13. ^ Ansari, Shabana (14 August 2011). "Rebel star Shammi Kapoor screams a final Yahoo!". Daily News and Analysis. Archived from the original on 28 January 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  14. ^ Indian Actors : Shammi Kapoor Archived 17 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (21 October 1931). Retrieved on 16 August 2011.
  15. ^ Reinventing itself Archived 15 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Screenindia (12 December 2008). Retrieved on 16 August 2011.
  16. ^ Neila Devi: I knew I’d always get second billing Archived 16 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine. (25 September 2012). Retrieved on 2018-11-08.
  17. ^ "Yes! Shammi wanted to marry me: Mumtaz". Archived from the original on 18 May 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  18. ^ "Bina Ramani: I wish I had married Shammi Kapoor – NDTV Movies". Archived from the original on 26 April 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  19. ^ "Shammi Kapoor". Archived from the original on 19 August 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  20. ^ shammikapoor (29 March 2011), A Positive Change Was Impending In My Life – Shammi Kapoor Unplugged, retrieved 30 May 2016
  21. ^ Shammi Kapoor's condition continues to be serious, Mid Day, 14 August 2011, archived from the original on 8 September 2011, retrieved 14 August 2011
  22. ^ "Veteran film actor Shammi Kapoor passes away", The Times of India, 14 August 2011, archived from the original on 7 January 2016, retrieved 14 August 2011
  23. ^ "Legendary actor Shammi Kapoor passes away", The Times of India, 14 August 2011, retrieved 14 August 2011
  24. ^ "Bollywood actor Shammi Kapoor cremated". BBC. 15 August 2011. Archived from the original on 18 August 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  25. ^ "Legendary actor Shammi Kapoor cremated". Hindustan Times. 15 August 2011. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  26. ^ a b "The Winners – 1968". Filmfare Awards. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  27. ^ "The Winners – 1982". Filmfare Awards. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  28. ^ "Lifetime Achievement (Popular)". Filmfare Awards. Archived from the original on 12 February 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  29. ^ Awards – Past Awards – 2000 – Winners Archived 16 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine. IIFA. Retrieved on 16 August 2011.
  30. ^ Bollywood Fashion Awards | Bollywood Music Awards Archived 5 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Bollywood Awards. Retrieved on 16 August 2011.
  31. ^ "Screen honours Shammi Kapoor for lifetime achievement". The Indian Express. 4 January 2002. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  32. ^ Kalakar Awards Archived 20 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ FICCI-Frames award for Kamal Haasan Archived 25 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ Shammi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore honoured at Pune International Film Fest Archived 8 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Hindustan Times (11 January 2008). Retrieved on 16 August 2011.
  35. ^ "Environmentalist Ajay Jain awarded "Rashtriya Gaurav Award 2010"". i-Newswire. Archived from the original on 13 May 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2010.

Further reading[edit]

  • The Kapoors: the first family of Indian cinema, by Madhu Jain. Penguin, Viking, 2005. ISBN 0670058378.

External links[edit]