Legendary Bollywood heartthrob Shammi Kapoor, whose acting and dancing style heavily influenced modern-day Indian film stars, died on Sunday aged 79.
“Shammi Kapoor ji passed away this morning at 5:15 am,” Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan wrote on Twitter, using the Hindi honorific, saying Kapoor brought had “flamboyance and joie de vivre” to the screen.
Nikhil Gangavane, a family friend who headed the official Shammi Kapoor fan club, said the actor was admitted to the private Breach Candy Hospital in south Mumbai earlier this week.
“He was on a ventilator for three or four days. He was having some chest infection, which he had had for the last one or two years. He died of renal failure this morning,” Gangavane told AFP.
“He had been undergoing dialysis for the last six or seven years but developed complications.”
Kapoor’s dance performances in romantic hits like Tumsa Nahin Dekha” (You’re One of a Kind, 1957), “Dil Deke Dekho” (Give Your Heart and See, 1959) and “Junglee” (Wild, 1961) earned him comparisons with US singer Elvis Presley.
Key to his success was his avid interest in music. Kapoor personally selected the songs he would dance and mime to, mindful that they needed to fit his exuberant on-screen style.
In doing so, he and singers like Mohammed Rafi provided some of the industry’s most popular and memorable tunes.
In later years, as he withdrew from acting and direction, Kapoor became a champion of the Internet and was the founder-chairman of the Internet Users Community of India, maintaining a Facebook page and a Twitter account.
His own web site www.junglee.org.in profiled his famous family, the Kapoors, who have dominated Hindi-language cinema virtually since its inception.
He described himself on his Twitter account profile as a “Renaissance man, retired actor, computer buff”.