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India’s Shammi Kapoor dies at 79

Iconic Bollywood thesp was part of film family

LONDON — Iconic Bollywood actor Shamsher Raj Kapoor, popularly known as Shammi Kapoor, died in Mumbai Sunday following kidney failure. He was 79.

Shammi Kapoor’s father was the actor Prithviraj Kapoor. His older brother was the late multihyphenate Raj Kapoor and younger brother the actor Shashi Kapoor. Shammi Kapoor made his debut in 1953 with “Jeevan Jyoti” and went on to act in a string of hits between the late 50s to the early 70s including “Tumsa Nahin Dekha”, “Junglee” and “An Evening In Paris.”

Kapoor often played flamboyant playboys and had a unique on-screen dancing style that led the media to describe him as India’s answer to Elvis Presley during the 60s. However, Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan said recently: “Shammi Kapoor is said to be India’s answer to Elvis Presley, but I say that Elvis Presley is America’s answer to Shammi Kapoor.”

From the early 70s, Kapoor played character roles in Hindi-language films. Besides his acting, Kapoor was also a keen Internet enthusiast and set up the Internet Users Community of India in 1995.

Kapoor’s last film role was in helmer Imtiaz Ali’s under-production “Rockstar,” starring his grandnephew Ranbir Kapoor.

His wife Neela Devi, son Aditya Raj and daughter Kanchan survive Kapoor.

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