He was the Elvis Presley of the Indian cinema, a dancing star who devised his own steps and enthralled the audiences.
He had charisma, style and charm which saw him rule Hindi cinema from the late 1950s until the early 1970s when weight issues forced him into character roles.
Believe it or not, his screen presence was such that he towered over the others. He was a very bankable star who graduated from serious roles to a light-hearted playboy.
Here are five films which reveal how good an actor he was:
Cast: Shammi Kapoor, Saira Banu, Shashikala, Anoop Kumar, Lalita Pawar
Director: Subodh Mukherjee
An aristocratic family believes in being prudish and not talking unnecessarily or laughing.
This rule is followed by strictly by the London-educated son Shekhar (Shammi) but his sister Mala (Shaskikala).
Mala falls in love and Shekhar’s mother (Pawar) asks him to take her to Kashmir. However, Shekhar himself falls in love with the daughter of a local doctor called Rajkumari (Saira).
Complications arise when Mala gets pregnant and Shekhar turns cavalier from dour.
An Evening in Paris (1967)
Cast: Shammi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore, Pran, K.N. Singh, Rajendra Nath
Director: Shakti Samanta
A rich girl Deepa (Sharmila) fails to find love in India and departs to Paris in hope.
She lives with her father’s secretary whose son Shekhar (Pran) is in severe debt and hopes to marry Deepa to pay off his debts.
Enter debonair Shyam (Shammi) and his sidekick Makhan Singh (Rajendra Nath) and things begins to change. Shyam falls in love with Deepa and follows her everywhere. Deepa finally relents.
The plot thickens when Deepa lookalike Suzy, a dancer, appears. There are kidnappings, fights etc before the lovers are united. The film was a big hit.
Teesri Manzil (1966)
Cast: Shammi Kapoor, Asha Parekh, Premnath, Prem Chopra, Helen
Director: Vijay Anand
Anita (Asha) is seeking out Rocky a drummer, the lover of her sister Roopa, who committed suicide.
On her way to where she died, she across a pleasant young man Anil Kumar (Shammi).
When Sunita tells him the how her sister was killed, Anil realises that he is the same Rocky. He tries to tell Sunita but keeps putting it off. He finally reveals the truth and says Roopa was never in love with him and he kept away.
Then comes the twist in the tale when it is revealed that Roopa was actually murdered. So who did it? Another great Shammi film well directed by Vijay Anand.
Cast: Shammi Kapoor, Rajshree, Pran, Mumtaz
Brahmachari, an orphan, runs a home for many young orphans but finds it difficult to manage.
Then he comes across Sheetal (Rajshree) whom he saves from committing suicide. He learns that she is in love with a man named Ravi Khanna (Pran). Though he falls in love with Sheetal, he helps her to get to Ravi.
He pretends to love Rupa (Mumtaz) to keep Sheetal away. But by then she too loves him.
Ravi had actually got Rupa pregnant and her child is left outside Brahmachari’s home. The truth about Ravi is revealed. Sheetal goes back but after a fight.
Cast: Shammi Kapoor, Hema Malini, Rajesh Khanna, Simi Garewal, Ajit
Director: Ramesh Sippy
A widow Sheetal (Hema) is shattered when her husband Raj (Khanna) is killed in a motorcycle accident.
She is now a teacher in a school where the daughter of a widower Ravi (Shammi) studies. Slowly they both fall in love, aided by the girl. They find solace in each other.
This was the last film for the famous duo Shankar-Jaikishan, the latter dying aged 42.
This film marked a major leap to superstardom for Khanna. Though he appeared for just 15 minutes, he created a major impression. However, both Hema and Shammi did a splendid job. Shammi played one of his most unusual roles in cinema.