Bollywood actor Shammi Kapoor dead at 79

Legendary Bollywood heart-throb Shammi Kapoor, whose energetic acting and dancing style heavily influenced modern-day Indian film stars, died on Sunday aged 79.

"Shammi Kapoor ji passed away this morning at 5:15 am," Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan wrote on Twitter, using the Hindi honorific, saying Kapoor had brought "flamboyance and joie de vivre" to the screen.

Nikhil Gangavane, a family friend who headed the official Shammi Kapoor fan club, said the actor had been admitted to the private Breach Candy Hospital in south Mumbai within the last week.

"He was on a ventilator for three or four days. He was having some chest infection, which he had had for the last one or two years. He died of renal failure this morning," Gangavane told AFP.

"He had been undergoing dialysis for the last six or seven years but developed complications."

Kapoor's dance performances in romantic hits such as "Tumsa Nahin Dekha" (You're One of a Kind, 1957), "Dil Deke Dekho" (Give Your Heart and See, 1959) and "Junglee" (Wild, 1961) earned him comparisons with Elvis Presley.

Key to his success was his avid interest in music. Kapoor personally selected the songs he would dance and mime to, mindful that they needed to fit his exuberant on-screen style.

In doing so, he and singers like Mohammed Rafi provided some of the industry's most popular and memorable tunes.

But he admitted much later that he was never a natural dancer, even if his original moves were a big draw for audiences and made him an unlikely romantic hero.

"The truth is I could never learn to dance. I even tried coaching classes but failed," he told the BBC in a 2006 interview. "I always had a sense of music and rhythm. And that worked in my favour."

In later years, as he withdrew from acting and directing, Kapoor became a champion of the Internet and was the founder-chairman of the Internet Users Community of India, maintaining a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

His own web site www.junglee.org.in profiled his famous family, the Kapoors, who have dominated Hindi-language cinema virtually since its inception.

He described himself on his Twitter account profile as a "Renaissance man, retired actor, computer buff".

Tributes flooded in immediately from fellow actors and fans.

"It is a terrible shock. Shammi Kapoor was a wonderful human being. He is eternal," actress Saira Banu, who starred alongside him in "Junglee", told the CNN-IBN television news channel.

Film director Karan Johar described Kapoor on Twitter as "one of the finest and strongest men I knew" while Priyanka Chopra, one of today's most glamorous Bollywood stars, said she was "at a loss" after hearing the news.

Kapoor's cremation is expected on Monday.

Arts and Entertainment

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen