|Photo credit: Indianexpress.com|
Three years ago, I wrote an unexpected (and posthumous) tribute to Shammi Kapoor, a man who, in dark theatres and small television screens, had laughed and cried and danced and romanced various beautiful heroines across verdant hills and vales. He is the man who turned my wayward heart away from my first love, Amitabh Bachchan. (That was the slippery slope of cinematic infidelity, I'm afraid, since I fell for Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand in quick succession after that. Not to mention Cary Grant, Gregory Peck and James Stewart.) His films were filled with an innocence, a zest for life, and a sense of fun. Whatever else he was, or wasn't, he thoroughly enjoyed being on screen. And that enjoyment seeped out of the screen, both big and small, and infected the audience. He changed the face of the Hindi film hero. He was a winsome brat, a macho rebel, a debonair, and swaggering, lover.