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The Best Shammi Kapoor Movies

Last updated on: August 16, 2011 17:46 IST

The Best Shammi Kapoor Movies

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Shaikh Ayaz in Mumbai
Many believed Shammi Kapoor brought flamboyance in his performances. To me, it always looked like he'd mastered a no-holds-barred, free-style form of acting -- a distinctive approach that made him more rockstar than actor.

He infused each of his roles with unmatched energy. It appeared as if he thoroughly enjoyed his moments on screen -- and that enjoyment transmitted to the viewer who in turn came away delighted and feeling 'happy' after watching a Shammi film.

Befittingly, the legend's last film is called what he was really, in life and in work -- Rockstar. Here's a tribute to the late actor through his best works.

Image: Shammi Kapoor

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Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957)

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The first of his light-hearted performances, a style that would define him for years to come, Tumsa Nahin Dekha was instrumental in Shammi's development toward new futures in playful romance.

This is where he sharpened his flirtatious streak, best exemplified in the railway station scene in which he retorts to actress Ameeta's terse, 'Goonda kahin ka,' with, 'Jee nahin, artist, lover of beauty.'

Shammi makes the Rafi-rendered Sar Pe Topi come alive with his moves and gestures, displaying a precocious talent for song-and-dance. After what Shammi called a 'miserable' run of flops, his makeover in Tumsa Nahin Dekha made him an overnight heartthrob.

Image: A stil from Tumsa Nahin Dekha

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Dil Deke Dekho (1959)

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Talking of his early films, Shammi once remarked, 'It's interesting how the critics described me. Shammi Kapoor apes Raj Kapoor.'

In Dil Deke Dekho, he acquires a slightly serious demeanour, as a man whose father has abandoned his mother and who has to constantly prove his identity.

Asha Parekh teams up with him for the first time, a jodi that director Nasir Hussain would repeat in Teesri Manzil. Watch out for the scene in which the actor talks about his ordeal as a son who has only imagined his mother but never seen her.

Image: A still from Dil Deke Dekho

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Junglee (1961)

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A lot of people confine Junglee to the song in which Shammi screamed, 'Yahoo' against the white landscape of Kashmir. 

The film is much more than just that. It has proved to be a pivotal role in the actor's career. He gave brooding a new dimension. It's tough to imagine the hyper-active Shammi as a khadoos scion of a wealthy family in which all decisions are taken by his strict, disciplinarian mother, played by Lalita Pawar.

Stuck in a snowstorm, Shammi falls in love with Saira Banu, a local Kashmiri girl and discovers life isn't about discipline and rules but about breaking those very disciplines and rules.

Shammi adds his magical touch to his transitions from being a man who wouldn't so much as smile to suddenly spouting poetry.

Image: A still from Junglee

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Professor (1962)

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In Professor, Shammi sets a benchmark for all later actors who would disguise themselves as old men. He is hilarious and absolutely real, at the same time, as he puts up a fake beard and adopts elderly man-like mannerisms to get a job as a private tutor.

However, in the song, Yeh Umar Hai Kya Rangeeli, the old man plays along with the young girls, reminding them bashfully that he, too, was young once and that he had many lovers.

However, behind laughter and mirth, there's a serious facade that a tearful Shammi wouldn't reveal to anyone.

Image: Movie poster of Professor

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Bluff Master (1963)

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Ashok Azad bluffs his way through things, trying to make an impression and curry favour wherever possible. When he introduces himself to the editor of Bhookamp newspaper, the old man says, 'Naam toh shayad suna hai.'

To which, Shammi responds, 'Matlab yeh ki aap bhi England mein reh chuke hai.'

Ashok informs him that he has had a stint in a sensational newspaper in England and he's looking for work.

Once in Bhookamp's employment, he clicks candid pictures of the owner's daughter beating an eve teaser. It's these fun-filled moments and romantic overtures that elevate Bluff Master to an enjoyable entertainer. 


Image: A still from Bluff Master

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Kashmir Ki Kali (1964)

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Yet another musical blockbuster set in Shammi's favourite locale, Kashmir Ki Kali features him as the son of an affluent businessman. 

His arrival at his family summer house in Kashmir starts off a romantic journey with Sharmila Tagore that would eventually overcome the evil efforts by Pran to separate the lovers.

The actor, back on familiar ground, pulls off the frothy role with poise and ease.


Image: A still from Kashmir Ki Kali

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Rajkumar (1964)

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One of his most under-rated films, Rajkumar doesn't have a single boring moment. Shammi teams up with funster Rajendra Nath to save his kingdom from falling into evil hands.

As the crown prince, Shammi arrives with much fanfare and is received with gusto by his people. His father wishes he take over but is shocked to see his son behave foolishly.

They think he's nuts and unfit to be crowned king. However, Shammi uses his skill as a jester to get to the heart of the murky political machinations working against his father.

Image: A still from Rajkumar

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Janwar (1965)

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He gets into tennis duels with best bud Rajendra Nath for company and has all the privileges a young man hankers for.

That's all life means to Shammi until he finds love -- in Kashmir. Turns out she is the daughter of Shammi's accountant and his father, the stern Prithviraj Kapoor, won't take on a poor girl as his bahu.

Shammi's lively performance (he even gets into a Beatles outfit) makes Janwar a memorable film.

Image: A still from Janwar

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Teesri Manzil (1966)

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Partnering with Vijay Anand at the helm, Teesri Manzil is amongst Shammi's most enduring classics.

Like some of his earlier films, this too was offered to Dev Anand but when Shammi did come in, he supplied the film with his own unique quirks.

Teesri Manzil is blessed with a tight plot, great score (O Haseena Zulfon Wali is still a rage) and well-kept mystery. In the end, it showcases Shammi in one of his finest performances, which endeared him to the sophisticated film-goers.


Image: A still from Teesri Manzil

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An Evening In Paris (1967)

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Most of his moves you see in An Evening in Paris are impromptu.

His co-star Sharmila Tagore says that Shammi would surprise her in every shot because he would add his own two bits to the act. Shammi sticks to his image as a hopeless romantic and does it in style.

Sharmila's bikini that may have taken the attention away but Shammi remains this film's mainstay.

Image: A still from An Evening In Paris

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Brahmachari (1968)

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What a beautiful gem this is. Providing home to orphans, Shammi plays the golden-hearted, day-time photographer who has no money but an entire family to take care of.

In contrast to Shekhar in Junglee who is cold in temperament until his change of heart, Brahmachari is soft in his manners and extremely protective of his kids.

Shammi's greatest achievement is that he suffuses a mother-like kindness in his performance, a precursor to all softie men in cinema, including Aamir Khan in Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke and Anil Kapoor in Mr India.

Image: A still from Brahmachari

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Vidhaata (1982)

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Relegated to playing supporting characters, Shammi retained his charisma even in small roles.

In Subhash Ghai's Vidhaata, although best known for his hat-and-suspender look and the number Saat Saheliyan, Shammi gives away his real name Shamsher to Dilip Kumar.

However, if you do away with Shammi in Vidhaata, you would have to do away with the film itself; such is his presence to this mafia-entrenched narrative.

Image: Movie poster of Vidhaata

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