Joined: 16 November 2006
Mumbai: Mumbai has always had this creative energy that compels you to make its own rules as you go along. Personifying this spirit in the 50's and the 60's was actor Shammi Kapoor. He swung into our consciousness with a series of films, which were a lot like each other. His films were almost always boisterous, almost always cut off from reality and always fun.
Anuradha Sen Gupta: You just seemed as if you were not directed. I can't believe some of the expressions you had in scenes. In shorts, what you were doing with your body, what you were doing with your face… Was that what you were and that became all the characters you played?
Shammi Kapoor: Yes! I don't have any pretensions. I have never had any pretensions at saying that I am a damn good actor. But I gave wonderful expressions to songs, to music. I lived with the music. Music was totally mine. Those expressions were mine. There is no director behind it or no choreography behind it. I did not know how to dance.
Anuradha Sen Gupta: You were just doing your own thing?
Shammi Kapoor: All that Yahooo! and all that stuff that came out was mine. I did some wonderful songs. That is my way of expressing music. That is how I was and that came out nicely on the screen. People liked that kind of stuff I suppose.
I had never had any pretensions that I am an actor. I would not throw tantrums like walk around the block or tell my directors to wait till I get into the mood.
Anuradha Sen Gupta: Your movie career…Was it work for you, was it a way of earning your livelihood? What was it for you?
Shammi Kapoor: For me work was being happy and to be able to create something that becomes a source of happiness for others as well. Joy, good vibrations, that is what you get from all my movies. We had a lot of energy and lovely music. It had the finest music in that period. Shankar Jai Kishan, OP Nayyar, RD in Teesri Manzil, they all gave brilliant music.
Anuradha Sen Gupta: An entire generation of people may not be familiar with the films that you have made. Though I have grown up with that kind of music. If I were to describe to them what Shammi Kapoor and his movies were like, would you agree if I said that he was like Twenty-Twenty cricket?
Shammi Kapoor: That is very popular these days (laughs). Isn't it?
Anuradha Sen Gupta: And it created a mix of glamour, skill, instinct, which is such a cocktail that did not exist before?
Shammi Kapoor: I don't know. I suppose. There is a period in my life starting from Tumsa Nahi Dekha, then I was very sure of myself. I knew what I wanted to do. And I knew that I'd do it. And I couldn't care less of who was the director, or who was starring opposite me. I got new girls as a matter of fact. It didn't make any difference to me as long as they acted well with me. I was so sure of myself.
Anuradha Sen Gupta: And you had the music.
Shammi Kapoor: Music was always there with me. Without music I could not move. Everyone was nice to me. For Kashmir Ki Kali, Shakti Sawant, Sharmila, and myself we all went to Nayyar's office in Mahalakshmi. Asha Bhonsle and Nayar's writer were also there. We opened our bottle and Shakti, Nayar and me had a drink. And then he opened his harmonium and he said that I am going to give you your music for Kashmir Ki Kali and I selected 12 songs in one sitting. That was it. He gave me 52 tunes, he played Diwana Hua Badal, and Tareef Karoon, all songs in one sitting at 12 in the night. We finished the bottle. We finished the music session and the music for Kashmir Ki Kali was decided.
My association with music was there from the inception of the situation that was created in the film. When the song was created, when the music was created, when the situation was decided as to which song comes when and when Rafi ji has to sing it at the recording hall, Shammi Kapoor was sitting all throughout. And I tell him what I want. That was the equation I had with Rafi ji. He knew what I wanted. And he sang it that way. So, right from the beginning till the song is recorded, I am there. The song is within me. I don't need to hear it.
As a matter of fact, in Evening in Paris, I did a song from the helicopter.
Anuradha Sen Gupta: Helicopter and a bathrobe.
Shammi Kapoor: Yes and a bathrobe. I look like Marilyn Monroe. There was no music available because I was up there. Music is down there. You can't hear anything because of the chopper. So Shakti babu was doing hand movements with a handkerchief, and he was giving me the beat. And I sang the song Aasman Se Aaya Farishta in sync without any music. Why? It is because I had the song within me. And I used to spend nights listening to the same song and giving it expressions. And, it came out well.
Anuradha Sen Gupta: And when the song sequence was done, you were not interested?
Shammi Kapoor: No, I was there. I was interested, but that was part of the group and needed joining up.
Anuradha Sen Gupta: Lets go back little bit to bathrobe, chopper, what were you doing Mr Kapoor in your movie?
Shammi Kapoor: I think that was superb. It is basically a character. That guy was a swimming instructor in the movie. He has to teach Sharmila Tagore how to swim. And it was nice. I had a nice time shooting for the song.
Anuradha Sen Gupta: You brought us a lot of joy and you still do every time we watch the movies...
Shammi Kapoor: No one knows. I was so frightened going up on that chopper. I was joking when I told Shakti babu that in the song, the guy should come down from the helicopter. I thought it was a joke and he would forget about it. But when we landed up in Beirut to shoot the number, he said that tomorrow morning the chopper would be here. I swear I could not sleep the whole night.
Anuradha Sen Gupta: But you were a macho man. You went hunting and all of that?
Shammi Kapoor: Hunting is different from hanging from a helicopter. This is suicidal.
Anuradha Sen Gupta: But , you did it...
Shammi Kapoor: Yes, had to. And I enjoyed doing it.
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