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Shammi Kapoor died Sunday morning at the age of 79 years old. The Indian movie star and director appeared in over 100 films. Kapoor died of chronic renal failure at approximately 5 AM at Breach Candy hospital. According to BBC News, the funeral was held on Monday at the Ban Banga Crematorium in his hometown, Mumbai.
In 2006, Kapoor had been at the hospital for a week, and later announced that he was frequently undergoing dialysis treatments. Instead of allowing the disease to depress him he consistently spoke about being thankful for the life he had lived.
The actor was born on October 20, 1931 to a unique lifestyle and a career that was already laid out for him. Kapoor was no stranger to the spotlight. His face was everywhere in the Indian film industry from the 50’s to the 70’s and Bollywood was always in his blood. He is the eldest of three sons who all went on to be actors, like their father Prithviraj who was famous on screen and at the theater.
A handsome and versatile actor, Kapoor has been called the best actor in Bollywood. He stood out for not only his name, but also his looks, sense of style, and positive attitude.
Shakti Sharma, a director who worked with the actor on several occasions, said, “I found Shammi to be a thoroughly good man. He was humble.”
Kapoor was six feet tall with green eyes and light skin, fairly uncommon for Indian actors. He became an icon after three consecutive box office hits: “Tumsa Nahi Dekha” (1957), “Ujala,” and “Dil Dil Deke Deko” (both 1959). The movies are considered to be classics. He won many Indian film awards including a Lifetime Achievement Prize at the International Indian Film Academy Awards in 2001.
Imran Khan, a current Bollywood superstar, tells The Hindustan Times that he was “a man with a heart of pure gold.” When Khan’s grandparents (also actors) could not afford to get married, it was Kapoor who held the wedding at his own home and paid for all the clothing and jewelry.
As time went on and Kapoor started to lose his youthfulness, he directed two movies that did not do as well as the classics that he starred in. In the following years, he remained relatively off the scene while raising his family.
Kapoor’s last performance was in “Rockstar” (2011), alongside his brother’s grandson, Ranbir Kapoor.Kapoor met his first wife, Geeta Bali, on a movie set in 1955. She had worked with his brother and father in the past and tried to keep their love a secret until they married, just four months later with only one witness.
The couple co-starred in the hit “Miss Coca Cola.” They had two children together: a son, Aditya, in 1956, and a daughter, Kanchan, in 1961. Unfortunately, Geeta died of Small Pox while filming.
Kapoor was nowhere to be seen for two months until he returned to the set to continue filming, according to The Hindustan Times. Khan tells the newspaper that the first day back on set included a love song titled “Tumne Mujhe Dekha,” meaning “You saw me.” The young actor tells the newspaper “the pain on his face in that song brings me to tears…that’s more than just acting.”
Kapoor married again in 1969 to member of the formal Royal Family, Neela Devi Gohil. Many Bollywood actors have been tweeting their condolences and memories of the actor:
Film star Amitabh Bachan said, the “flamboyance and joie de vivre of the industry is lost.”
Actress Saira Banu who starred in a film with him said Kapoor was “a wonderful human being. He is eternal.” Khan goes on to explain that when he, himself, first became successful, it was “Shimmy Uncle” who wished him luck and reminded him to “never forget what’s really important…friends and family. Everything else is temporary.”
His success, legacy and values will not be forgotten.