One of the most popular actors of Bollywood history, Shammi Kapoor was known for his good looks, 'neck-breaking' dance moves and much more. The late actor earned many epithets over the course of his career, some being 'Elvis Presley of India', 'Jumping Jack' and much more. Kapoor would've turned 87 today if he was alive, but his birth anniversary gives us the opportunity to look back at his illustrious career and other details surrounding it. Here are some of the lesser-known facts about his life:
1. Early life: Shammi Kapoor's parents Prithviraj and Ramsarni Kapoor were anxious when he was born, as their two sons had died in the span of a week just before. He was the only child of the family who was born in a hospital, in Mumbai's Ajinkya hospital of Charni Road area. He was brought up in Calcutta till he was eight, and the family returned to Mumbai only when his brother Shashi Kapoor was born.
2. Growing-up years: Shammi was forced to leave the school he was studying in as his brother, Raj Kapoor, who was a star then, had a showdown with the principal over allowing the young one to miss classes and rehearse for their father's play. He had said in an interview that his most prized memories were while growing up in Mumbai's suburb Matunga where he remembered playing seven tiles, 'abba doobi' and cricket with a season ball. The girls in his locality used to tie a Rakhi to him on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan. He used to happily show the 10-12 rakhis on his hand on the festival.
3. Struggle: Shammi didn't get a grand launch from the home banner. In fact, he worked as a junior artiste on a salary of Rs 150 a month in the late '40s. Almost all of his initial films were failures at the box office.
4. Geeta Bali: His love story with Geeta Bali had grabbed headlines in the mid-1950s because she was an established actor, while he didn't have the best of career starts.They had fallen in love on the sets of the film 'Rangin Raaten' and married impromptu; apparently, even the family was not aware. Reports say Geeta asked him to get married the same day and he filled the top of her forehead with lipstick and not 'sindoor.' Geeta apparently told the director of the film to cast her in a man's role in the film so that she could accompany him for the shoot. Shammi decided to change his image during the shoot of 'Tumsa Nahin Dekha', and he told Geeta that if it doesn't work, he will become a tea plantation manager in Assam. Luckily, the film was a big success. Geeta Bali died in 1965 of small pox. He shot for the song 'Tum Ne Mujhe Dekha' from 'Teesri Manzil' right after her death.
5. Love life: While he got married to Neela Devi after Geeta Bali's death, his love life has always been in the news. He reportedly dated a dancer from Cairo and an Egyptian actress. He is said to have been madly in love with yesteryear actress Mumtaz, though she turned him down.
6. Net-savvy: Shammi is considered among the first Bollywood actors to use the Internet, which was at a nascent stage till then. He reportedly founded the Internet Users Community of India and Ethical Hackers Association. He had also uploaded information about his family on a website.
7. 'Yahoo!: As he was synonymous with the term 'Yahoo', several people thought he was the founder of the internet company. Moreover, while the track is one of the most 'groove-worthy' songs of all time, the truth is Shammi got several bruises while shooting in snow.
7. Ranbir Kapoor: The 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' star convinced his granduncle Shammi Kapoor to feature in his film 'Rockstar', which was his last appearance and also ironic as he was also considered a rockstar during the course of his career.
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