Shammi Kapoor (Shamsher Raj Prithviraj Kapoor), was an Indian film actor and director. Born on 21st October, 1931 at Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. He belongs to the great Kapoor family, his father Prithviraj Kapoor was the pioneer of Hindi Cinema. Shammi was the second of the three sons born to Prithviraj Kapoor; the other two being Raj Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor, both successful Bollywood actors.
Shammi Kapoor, spent a major portion of his childhood in Kolkata, where his father was involved with New Theatres Studios, acting in films. After coming back to Mumbai, he first went to St. Joseph's Convent at Wadala and then, to Don Bosco School. He finished his schooling from New Era School at Hughes Road.
He was married twice, first to actress Geeta Bali. They had a son, Aditya Raj Kapoor, on 1 July 1956, at Shirodkar's Hospital, Mumbai. Five years later, in 1961, they had a daughter, Kanchan. Their marriage ended after her death caused by small pox. His second wife was Neila Devi from the former royal family of Bhavnagar in Gujarat, whom he married in 1969.
He entered the cinema world in 1948, as a junior artist, at a salary of Rs. 50 per month, stayed with Prithvi Theatres for the next four years and collected his last pay check of Rs. 300, in 1952. He made his debut in Bollywood in the year 1953 film, 'Jeewan Jyoti' which proved to be flop. It was directed by Mahesh Kaul and Chand Usmani was Kapoor's first heroine. Later he acted in series of 15 films, all being failed at box-office. His big- break happened in the year 1957, with Nasir Husain directed 'Tumsa Nahin Dekha' (1957), opposite Ameeta. After that, he was paired with Asha Parekh in the film 'Dil Deke Dekho' (1959), which was also a hit. This made Shammi Kapoor and Asha Parekh to be popular on-screen couple.
The other hits in late fifties included 'Char Dil Char Rahen' (1959), 'Raat Ke Rahi' (1959). His performances in 'Char Dil Char Rahen' (1959) and Kidar Sharma's 'Rangeen Raatein' (1956) were also noteworthy but remained under feted. In 1961, his first color film, 'Junglee', was released. It was a big hit, becoming the second-highest grossing film of the year, and cemented his image as a carefree playboy. He was often paired with new heroines, and three of them became big stars in their own right - Asha Parekh, Saira Banu, and Sharmila Tagore. Kapoor was paired opposite Saira Banu in 'Junglee', and opposite Sharmila Tagore in 'Kashmir Ki Kali'.
It was only after triple success of 'Tumsa Nahin Dekha ' (1957), 'Ujala' and 'Dil Deke Dekho' (both 1959), that he became popular with the audience and became a star. In the first half of the 1960s, Kapoor was seen in successful films like 'College Girl'(1960), 'Basant', 'Singapore', 'Boy Friend'(1961), 'Professor', 'Dil Tera Diwana', 'Vallah Kya Baat Hai', 'Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya' (1963), 'China Town', 'Kashmir Ki Kali', 'Bluff Master' (1963) and ' Janwar'. Although nominated before, in 1968, he received the first Filmfare Best Actor Award of his career for the film 'Brahmachari'.
He was the only hero of his time, who was famous for his dancing. He created his own dancing moves and never needed a choreographer on the sets. Mainly his songs used to have Mohammed Rafi's voice for him. The duo splashed magic to the songs.
In 1970s, Kapoor's weight problem acted as a block in his successful film career. His last hit film, in which he played the lead role, was 'Andaz' (1971). As his career as hero ended, Shammi started playing character roles in films from 1974. Shammi played Saira Banu's father in 'Zameer' (1975).
In 1974, he donned the hat of a director and made 'Manoranjan' in 1974 and 'Bandalbaaz' in 1976. But both the movies failed at box-office, yet received critical acclamation. In the 1980s and 1990s, he continued to play supporting roles in many films and won a Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for his performance in 'Vidhaata' (1982). His notable roles as a character actor were in 'Hero', 'Hukumat', 'Batwara', 'Tahalka', 'Chamatkaar', 'Namak' and 'Prem Granth'. He has also acted in Bengali and Tamil movies. He did a social melodrama serial called 'Chattan' aired on Zee TV for more than a year in the 1990s. He eventually cut down on film appearances by the late 1990s and early 2000s and made his appearances in the 1999 Salman Khan and Urmila Matondkar starrer 'Jaanam Samjha Karo', a 2002 release 'Wah Tera Kya Kehna' and the delayed 2006 release 'Sandwich'. He made his last appearance in Imtiaz Ali's directorial venture 'Rockstar' co-starring Ranbir Kapoor, the grandson of his brother Raj Kapoor.
Shammi Kapoor was the founder and chairman of Internet Users Community of India (IUCI). He had also played a major role in setting up internet organizations like the Ethical Hackers Association. Kapoor also maintained a website dedicated to the Kapoor Family.
Kapoor was admitted to Breach Candy Hospital, Mumbai on 7 August 2011 suffering from chronic renal failure. His condition remained serious for next few days and he was kept on ventilator support. He died on 14 August 2011, 05:15 am IST, of chronic renal failure, aged 79. Funeral was held on Monday, 15 August at Banganga cremation ground, Malabar, Mumbai. Aditya Raj Kapoor, the actor's son, performed the last rites at the cremation. The entire Kapoor family was present to pay their last respects, including his younger brother Shashi Kapoor, sister in law Krishna Raj Kapoor, nephews Rishi Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor and Rajeev Kapoor, Randhir's wife Babita and Raj Kapoor's grand children Karisma Kapoor,Kareena Kapoor and Randhir Kapoor.