Tuesday, August 16, 2011

That Evening in Paris: Farewell Shammi Kapoor

Shamsher 'Shammi' Raj Kapoor

Shamsher  ‘Shammi’ Raj Kapoor, one of India’s best loved and most popular actors passed away of kidney failure, in Mumbai, on August 15th, the 64th anniversary of India’s independence from Britain.

A member of Indian cinema’s royal Kapoor family, (his father Prithviraj was one of India’s greatest thespians and his brothers, Raj and Shashi, megastars of Bollywood), Shammi paid his dues as a low paid actor in theatre and struggled to be accepted as a film idol. His early films were generally poorly regarded and it was only in 1957 with Tumsa Nahin Dekha that his career took a star turn.  Blessed with the stunning handsome Kapoor looks he fancied himself an Indian Elvis and carved out a unique place in audiences’ hearts as a swaggering, fun loving, irrepressible and adorable leading man.

Shammi Kapoor took a greater interest than most of his peers in the music of the films in which he acted. He often selected the songs and worked with music directors and composers to create a perfect union of the audio and visual. To that end he formed a long-standing relationship with Mohammad Rafi the dominant male playback singer of Hindi film throughout the 50s and 60s.  Their work together is often regarded by fans as inseparable: Rafi’s voice was Shammi’s and Shammi’s hits were Rafi’s as well. Rafi’s ability to express a huge range of emotion with his voice, from drunkenness, to anger, to infatuation, to sly humour and spiritual devotion gave a boost to Shammi’s career in a way that no other playback singer was able to.

The internet is full of tributes tonight for the passing of this man who was so loved for his screen antics but also for his humanity and humor off the set. A couple of the best are the Guardian’s obituary and a loving Pakistani fan’s.

So in honor of the passing of another of the three great Kapoor brothers (only Shashi survives) the Washerman’s Dog posts tonight a collection of some of the most loved Shammi songs, rendered by his musical alter ego, Mohammad Rafi.  These songs are full of humor, joy and dance beats and reflect early attempts to include a rock ‘n roll ethic into Hindi film music.  Enjoy and pay tribute!

            Track Listing:
       01 Baar Baar Dekho
02 Dil Deke Dekho
03 Tumsa Nahin Dekha
04 Dhadakne Lagta Hai
05 Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe
06 Taarif Karoon Kya Uski
07 Lal Chhadi
08 Aye Gulbadan
09 An Evening In Paris
10 Main Hoon Pyar Tera
11 Kis Kiss Kisse Pyar Karoon
12 Badan Pe Sitare
13 Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyar Ke Charche
14 Tumse Achha Kaun Hai
Listen here.
And here is a youtube clip of the great man in his 1967 hit, An Evening in Paris.


litlgrey said...

Ack! This is horrible news! Horrible!

Rebecca said...


deewani said...

I was surprised to find out that the "Yahoo!" bit was actually by Prayag Raaj and not Rafi. http://youtu.be/rOwwUKPodBs

ajnabi said...

thank you so much. A great piece of history!

deewani said...

Your experiences and range of musical taste make for such a great blog. Thank YOU!

Anonymous said...

The collections are fantastic but the line are dead

ajnabi said...

anonymous, they should be ok now