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Shammi Kapoor, 1931 – 2011

Bollywood mourns the loss of one of its favorite actors.

"Actor Shammi Kapoor, the dancing star who revolutionised the image of Hindi film heroes in the 1950s and 1960s with his carefree and flamboyant personality, died on Sunday," reports the Hindustan Times. "The tall, athletic and green-eyed hero had his share of struggle before making it big. The recipe for his success was a makeover as a flamboyant yet lovable lover boy and an uninhibited style of dancing. The freshness and style saw him deliver big hits like An Evening in Paris, China Town, Kashmir Ki Kali, Janwar and Junglee (which had the 'Yahoo' chartbusting song). Sharmila Tagore and Saira Banu, who made their Bollywood debuts with him in Kashmir Ki Kali and Junglee, respectively, said they would miss the star who was 'high spirited and so full of life."

For Variety, Naman Ramachandran quotes Bollywood star Aamir Khan: "Shammi Kapoor is said to be India's answer to Elvis Presley, but I say that Elvis Presley is America's answer to Shammi Kapoor."

"An Evening in Paris (1967) is a personal favorite," blogs Kimberly Lindbergs. "It features some fantastic musical numbers and it's just a terrific looking production full of stylish 60s era costumes, great period details and eye-popping stage designs." And she posts a few clips.

More viewing (5'41"). Cargo co-editor Ekkehard Knörer posts a clip from Kashmir Ki Kali (1961). And more viewing (2'44"). A report from IBN Live. See also the Wikipedia entry and more commentary from the Times of India.

Update: In the Guardian, Asjad Nazir argues that " changed the face of Bollywood cinema with his first hit film, Tumsa Nahin Dekha (Never Seen Anyone Like You, 1957). The rock'n'roll-inspired movie turned the young actor into an overnight sensation, and he continued to incorporate elements of western culture and fashion in his subsequent films…. For his 1959 hit Dil Deke Dekho (Give Me Your Heart and See), Kapoor persuaded the film's director to add an Indian version of the Paul Anka song Diana. 'I became involved with every stage of the music,' he said, 'right from the conception to sitting with the lyricist and music director to the recording of the song.' … Although he had the aura of a king, Kapoor was a fun-loving individual who found pleasure in simple things. In later life, he embraced the internet, ran his own website and kept in touch with fans on Twitter…. Looking back on his life, he said: 'It has been a beautiful journey with different shapes and a lot of nice colours with certain shades of grey and the dark moment of black when I lost my first wife. But overall I am very grateful to God for the life he has given me.'"

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