Saturday, September 24, 2011


I had in one of my recent posts on Mohammed Rafi on his 31th death anniversary (July 30th)mentioned about the trio of Shammi Kapur,Rafi and Shankar-Jaikishen who had together immortalised a large number of film songs during the 60s and 70s just as the trio of Dilip Kumar, Rafi and Naushad did in the, more or less, same period.. I had also mentioned that I may dwell on this sometime later.
It is sad that Shammi Kapur who was very much alive when I posted this on the 31t July is no more with us, he having departed to his heavenly abode on the 14th August,2011.It is difficult to believe that the actor, 'The Junglee', who had given us so much joy through his numerous film roles, his rebel star image, his inimitable acting style especially his talent for enacting romantic song sequences with the trade mark tilting of the head backwards or sideways step by step and above all, his prowess for dancing , has become a memory. He was a youth ikon for youngsters in general and to college students in particular in the 50s and 60s.

For film fans of the late 50s and early 60s the screen heroes were the eternal tramp Raj Kapur, the romantic Dev Aanand, the tragic hero Dilip Kumar and the handsome Pradeep Kumar, the Baiju Bawra Bharat Bhushan, the sleepy-eyed Rajinder Kumar and so on. It was Shammi Kapur who could break away from this stranglehold to tread a path of his own with those singing and dancing scenes which became immensely popular with the young generation.He brought a youthful vigour and dynamism to the role of heroes. This was also the path which got opened for other actors like the jumping jack Jitendra, the chocolate hero Joy Mukherjee, the suspense star Biswajeet and so on and to a lesser extent the macho Dharmendra.

The huge success of Sammi Kapur which catapulted him into a sure shot in the box office was, apart from his own talent, due to a large extent the music of Shankar Jaikishen and the playback singing of Muhammed Rafi.Though he started his career in 1953 with the film Jeevan Jyothi and did a number of films including hits like Hum sub chor hai, Mujrim, Tangewali, Chor Bazar, Dil Dekhe Dekho and so on it was films with music by Shankar Jaikishen like Ujala, Singapore and College Girl with top heroines like Vyjayanthimala, Padmini, Mala Sinha which made filmgoers take real notice of Shammi kapur as a new generation actor. In film Ujala and Singapore Rafi did not figure prominently though the songs were very popular. The Manna Dey - Lata song' 'Jhoomta mausam mast mahina' pictured on Shammi Kapur and Mala Sinha was a huge hit. In college Girl the song, 'Pehla pehla pyar ka ishara'(Lata-Rafi)' and 'Hip hip hurray'(Rafi) were huge hits and fans started to root for the trio of Rafi, Shammi Kapur and Shankar-Jaikishan. Then followed the blitzkrieg of films of this trio beginning with the 1961 film Junglee with debutant actress Saira Bano( billed 'Beauty queen' in the spot ads on the radio those days). It was Junglee that cemented Shammi Kapur's place in Hindi cinema as a sure success.In fact the music of Shankar Jaikishen, the refreshing presence of Saira Bano, the energy and vibrancy of Shammi Kapur and the powerful singing of Rafi made the film a super hit. The two rocking numbers by Rafi,viz., 'Aai Aai Aa Sukoo Sukoo' and 'Chahe koi mujhe junglee kahe' with Shammi Kapur sizzling in the scenes were instant hits. The picture of Shammi kapur shouting "Yahoo" in the 'Chahe koi' song, became immortal instantly. But an interesting fact is that the famous"yahoo" shout/ yell in the song was recorded in the voice of actor Prayag Raj and not on Rafi's as popularly believed.

For the trio there was no looking back and hit after hit followed. 'Dil Tera Diwana' with the peppy title song, 'Professor' with 'Hey Gulbadan' and two beautiful duets with Lata,viz., 'Main chali main chali' ( beautifully remixed years later by Neeraj Sreedhar in the pop album 'Woh chali" of Bombay Vikings) and 'Aawaz Dekhe', film " Boy friend' with the song 'Salam Aap ki meethi nazar ko salam' followed . Then came the Rajshree - Shammi Kapur starrer 'Janvar' with two typical songs, 'Tumse Achha kaun hai' and ' Lal ghadi maidan padi ya khoob ladi', songs by rafi in his inimitable style tailored to the image of Shammi Kapur. There was then the film Rajkumar with the song in the same mould, 'Hum hain raj kumar' followed by 'Laat Saheb' with the ever popular Rafi chorus, ' Saverewali ghadi se chale jayegi'. All these songs were mainly fast numbers in a happy go lucky mood so ably potrayed by Shammi Kapur,

In fact Shammi kapur's penchant for similar roles gave him the image of an eternal Rebel/Junglee/Yahoo/Janwar/Pagla which he could shake off to some extent with a series of films in the late 60s and early 70s again helped by the music of Shankar Jaikishen and the voice of Rafi. Film Brahmachari was one such film which gave him an image makeover. SJ even created a rare Rafi lullaby, 'Main gaon tum so jaaoo', for Shammi kapur. Shammi kapur got a Filmfare Award for his role in this film. In fact the film had won the Filmfare Award for the best film, best music for SJ, best male playback singer for Rafi for the song 'Dil ke jharoke mein' and the best lyricist for Shailendra for the song,'Mein gaaon tom so jaaoo'. The magic of SJ, SK and Rafi worked wonders in the Hema Malini starrer Andaz, An Evening in Paris, Prince, Pagla kahin ka , Jawan Muhabat and so on. The magic was very much evident in the song in film Prince, 'Badanpe sitare lapete hue,.........Zara paas aao', with a trace of laughter so beautifully integrated with the lines as only Rafi could do.

Some of the other Music directors also had tuned tailor made, rhythmic, foot tapping songs for Shammi Kapur using the voice of Rafi. O.P. Nayyar had given several such songs in films ,'Tumsa Nahin Dekha' and Kashmir ki Kali'. The title song and 'Chupnewale samne aa' along with 'Jawanian yeh mast mast' in the former film and 'Tarif karun kya uski' and 'Diwana hua baadal(withAsha) in the later are a few of them. In film 'China Town' (music- by Ravi) there is the song 'Bar bar dekho, hazar baar dekho' and 'Humse na poocho'(with Asha). That reminds me of the debutant music director Usha Khanna teaming with Rafi for Asha Parekh's debut film 'Dil Dekho Dekho' with Shammi Kapur. The title song and the song,'Hum aur tum aur yeh sama' were huge hits. How can I forget to mention R.D.Burman's tunes in Teesri Manzil, again an Asha Parekh-Shammi kapur film ? 'Deewana mujhsa nahin', 'Main hoon Pyar tera',and 'Tumne mujhe dekha' all by Rafi were typical numbers in the Rafi-Shammi mould.

There is one LP record in my collection containing instrumental version of eleven of the songs mentioned above. The L.P. is titled NON-STOP DISCO DANCING WITH SHAMMI KAPUR - MUSIC INDIA'S DISCO SOUND . The instrumentalist has captured the tunes in all their glory in the L.P.

Tail piece:-There is even a rare Mukesh number for Shammi Kapur in SJ's 'Singapore'. "Yeh shehar bada albela, yeh dhadak hasinon ka mela'.