Veteran actor Shammi Kapoor, who ruled the late 1950s and 1960s with his unique style and versatile range, passed away today at the Breach Candy Hospital here, family sources said.
He was 79. He is survived by his wife Neela Devi, son Aditya Raj and daughter Kanchan Desai.
According to the sources, he was on dialysis for the last few years and was undergoing the procedure at least thrice a week. He was yesterday admitted to the ICU of the hospital.
The actor, who made his debut in Bollywood in 1953, when the film 'Jeevan Jyoti' was released, carved out a niche for himself with the superhit Junglee in 1961.
His new image took ground and his subsequent films were all in this genre later.
Kapoor, hailed as 'Elvis Presley of India', joined the silver screen at a time when his elder brother Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar were the reigning trio.
Kapoor was suffering from chronic renal failure, family sources said.
The funeral will take place tomorrow morning, they said.
Born Shamsher Raj Kapoor on October 21, 1931, Kapoor was the second son of veteran theatre and film actor Prithviraj Kapoor.
Despite his family background, Shammi's entry into Bollywood was initially not successful even though he worked with major heroines like Madhubala in 'Rail ka Dibba', Suraiya in 'Shama Parwana' and Nalini Jaywant in 'Hum Sab Chor Hai'.
His initial movies flopped at the Box Office. He reinvented hi
mself with 'Tumsa Nahi Dekha' cutting his hair in the famous duck-tail style of the 50s and never looked back since then.
With the success of Junglee in 1961, an entire decade reeled under its colourful impact.
Shammi heralded the swinging 60s and a large part of his appeal was primarily due to the immensely catchy and upbeat numbers like 'Suku Suku', 'O Haseena Zulfo Wali', 'Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyar Ke Charche', 'Aaja Aaja Main Hoon Pyar Tera' where he was at his boisterous best.
Even though success came with light weight tales like 'Kashmir Ki Kali', 'Rajkumar', 'Jaanwar' and 'An Evening in Paris', his performances in flicks like 'Junglee', 'Badtameez', 'Bluff Master', 'Pagla Kahin Ka', 'Teesri Manzil', 'Brahmachari' silenced his critics.
'Andaz', which released in 1971, was his last movie as a leading man but his character roles in 'Vidhata', 'Hero' and 'Prem Rog' were well received.