Yahooo !

Warning : Long post ahead !

I watched my first Shammi Kapoor movie two months ago on a plane. Yes, you read that right. My *first* Shammi Kapoor movie (well, at least the first movie where he plays the lead). Before that, Shammi Kapoor looked like this to me :

 

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Now, er ….

 

 

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The journey from  “isn’t he that man who dances frenziedly  to songs which seem somewhat familiar, maybe because my father hums them ?” to “dammit, why can’t I find a better print of Basant and why does everybody think Pyar kiya to darna kya refers to some Salman Khan movie!!” has been a rewarding one, the rewards being

  1. The Shammi-Rafi songs, which will lighten any weary day
  2. Watching Shammi Kapoor in black and white. (I don’t mean the early Shammi with his pencil thin mustache, but the one right after Tumsa nahin dekha)
  3. Watching Shammi Kapoor with child actors on screen. He has a beautiful rapport going with the kids. Andaz and Jawan Mohabat are cases in point.

I meant this post to be one of those “Here’s a list of ..”, but my fan-enthusiasm of course had to get ahead. But duty be duty, and we return back to the list in question. Almost every song of Shammi seems to be amazingly well-known and rightly so, of course. In some, the music is enough for the song to take flight, in some, just the magic of Rafi’s voice is enough. But the questions we must ask ourselves are ..

  1. How good/bad does Shammi Kapoor look in it ?
  2. Would you rather listen to the song without the visuals or do you pine to watch Shammi in the song ?

Sometimes the visuals limit the heights to which the song can soar otherwise. And sometimes…as much as it hurts to admit, Shammi’s style of dancing is a little too uncontrolled, too jumpy to be palatable to someone who is not already a devout fan. Anyway, so here’s the list without further ado. Songs not chosen purely because of their melodious content (though they are that too), but chosen also because Shammi makes them tick. And how !

 

 

Chupne wale saamne aa and Yun to hamne lakh haseen (Movie : Tumsa nahi dekha)

The movie that got rid of Shammi’s mustache and shot him to fame. And you can see why.  In Chupne wale saamne aa, the easy insouciance of his gait, the ruffle of his hair in the wind, the put-on affected air (he knows his girl is watching him) and his effortless movement which syncs with the song perfectly is a treat to watch. And Rafi flippantly admonishing the heroine “Daanth yun ungli na dhaba” matches well with Shammi’s impish grin.

 

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Of Yun to hamne lakh haseen, hundreds before me have sung its praises, and hundreds after me will continue to do so. So maybe all that is to be said about it has or will be said sometime somewhere. But let me add my two cents to it : Even the mustached coachman is cute. And Ameeta’s expression exactly captures the state one will be in with such a cheeky companion in a long journey on a rainy night. Btw the movie has two other gems, Jawaniaan yeh mast and Dekho Kasam se

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Tum se acha kaun hai (Movie : Jaanwar)

In which Shammi goes absolutely crazy. He wears a rough er.. dress made out of a blanket held together by some ropes and romps about in a fluffy cap with its pom-pom tip dancing gaily along. He makes faces, he jumps, he hops, he crawls, but he is in total control. Every step, every head shake, every movement is in rhythm with the song, fits it to a T and in fact, lifts the song to a whole new level that the song falls flat when I listen only to the audio.

 

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Raaste mein ek haseen (Movie : Basant)

The fluidity, the careless grace, the white dancer attire, the fluttering scarf (?), and that enchanting song ! Shammi plays a man who performs stage shows in this movie and this is the song that introduces us to him. We can almost believe he is what the movie claims him to be.

 

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The movie has the perfect first half, where it seems to be almost playing out a perfect hindi remake of “It happened one night” (or is it just the happy bits of Love affair? It’s been too long since I saw these movies. The scenes seem awfully familiar though)  The joie de vivre and the chemistry and camaraderie between Shammi and Nutan is what any director would kill for in a lead pair. Unfortunately, just around midway, the movie decides to switch tracks, speed up the romance that has just started to bud, and hastily cuts to the sob story bit of Love affair/ An affair to remember. The couple get separated, Nutan breaks her leg, Shammi is attacked by bandits in Assam and what not. The movie then eliminates the whole “Since I am an invalid and unable to walk, I shall not meet the love of my life” plot line and instead brings in a villain in the form of Nutan’s fiancee who declares Shammi dead. And then there is a pickpocket who later turns benefactor to the couple and even sings along with Nutan while searching for Shammi. I’m not making this up.

 

Dhadakne lagtaa hai (Movie : Dil tera deewana)

Though Mala Sinha is the heroine, the best song is when Shammi is romancing Mahmood (in a female attire). Don’t worry, they are only practicing for a skit. And watch out for Shammi er… barking ! Hilarious.

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This light hearted song is fast and jovial and the duo’s antics will bring a smile to anyone’s face. Except for Shammi’s screen father. He is NOT happy.

 

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Hum aur tum aur yeh samaa (Movie : Dil dekhe dekho)

 

A misty dawn, Shammi in white, and a very young Asha Parekh. As the song proclaims “Kya nashaa nashaa sa hai” indeed ! This is the song right after Asha spends a sleepless night after discovering she has fallen in love with Shammi though she is engaged to be married to someone else. [In the movie, this is not that serious an issue at all because Shammi comes over in various ridiculous disguises and muddles up everything, but in this song, Asha is clearly overwhelmed]

 

 

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But I confess, I love this song more for Asha. And how vulnerable she appears, and so young. The tears streaming in her eyes as she sits with her hands crossed across, appear so real.

 

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