Shammi Kapoor

No one could shimmy like Shammi--no one in classical Indian cinema, at least. In the mid-'50s, Shammi Kapoor, who died at 79 in Mumbai on Aug. 14, imported Elvis Presley's rhythmic abandon and added a charismatic giddiness all his own. The middle sibling in a film-family dynasty--seven years younger than Raj Kapoor, the smoldering star-director, and seven years older than dreamboat Shashi--Shammi was the irrepressible one: half party animal, half coquette.

India in the 1950s had great films (Awara, Pyaasa, Mother India), but they were oh so serious. With his 1957 Tumsa Nahin Dekha, Shammi showed his country how to lighten...

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