Like nearly everyone else, I love Shashi Kapoor. Apart from being good-looking with a perfect mixture of doofy bashfulness and sparkling charm, he's also a fine and versatile actor. The first movie of his I saw was Shyam Benegal's Junoon, where he gave a riveting and soulful performance, characteristic of the quality of his work in serious and artsy cinema. Later I came to adore him in his jaunty masala avatar, the Ravi, the straight-laced do-gooder who occasionally cuts loose and does the mashed potato.
Most recently, I've watched him as a child artiste in his brother's Aag (review forthcoming), in which he was the best thing about the movie by a country mile.
Awww! Cho chweet.
The internet at large knows Beth as Shashi's no. 1 fan and Chief Minister of Shashi Pradesh, and the title is not in any way undeserved. But I do take some credit for this myself, because some years back I introduced her to Shashi. At the time, I had seen Junoon and perhaps one or two other of his films, and something told me Beth would like this man, with his jouncy curls, his mile-long eyelashes, his snaggletooth, his remarkable acting chops. Something told me she would like him A Lot. So I urged her to watch, and watch she did. And the rest, as they say, is - well, you know.
So without further ado, here (in no particular order) are a handful of my favorite Shashi songs. What are yours?
This movie is somewhat flawed but nothing about this song is, from Shashi's Shammi-like shimmy in his hot white stovepipe pants (60s men's fashions are my absolute favorite), to Sharmila's pout, to Rafi's vocals. 60s perfection! My dil goes "squish" when Shashi sings "Sharmila dildaaaaar!" (Bonus: Prem Chopra doing the mashed potato.)
More or less average masala (with a few notable highlights), Fakira does offer a couple of splendid songs. This one is just deliciously naughty. Shabana's character and Shashi's are secretly married - her family doesn't know - so he must sneak into her room for a romp, which wakes her parents. They even break the bed, as the shot immediately after the song reveals ...
Clicketty for a full-size view of the naughtiness.
"Kehne ki nahin baat" -- Pyaar kiye ja (1966)
I love this song in which Shashi leads an energetic band of young men to Om Prakash's doorstep to demand work. It's everything good about the 60s, and everything good about 60s Shashi.
"Main to beghar hoon" -- Suhaag (1979)
This song epitomizes straight-laced, uptight Shashi, trying to resist the advances of a rather inebriated Parveen Babi. I always lose it when he ties her to the jeep.
"Khilte hai gul yahaan" -- Sharmilee (1971)
And this song epitomizes pretty Shashi, turning on the charm for a cabin-full of impressionable young girls. It's not really a fair fight, is it?
"Hum to jhuk kar salam karte" - Fakira (1976)
I would not have guessed that this movie would end up twice on this list, but here it is. There are a couple of songs along these lines, in which Shashi poses as a qawwal to pull off some scheme or another. But this one gets the nod here because of appearances by Iftekhar, Asrani, and Danny Denzongpa.
"Yahaan main ajnabee hoon" -- Jab jab phool khile (1965)
This movie is loved by some and despised by others. I find it mostly interesting as a reflection of a certain conflict of its time. But never mind that. There are few movies in which Shashi looks more beautiful than this one. And while any song from it offers that prettiness and deserves mention in this list, this song gets the nod because it is simply a gorgeous, sad song.
"Hands up jaani" -- Bandhan kachchey dhagon ka (1983)
Another movie I have not seen, this makes the list for its sheer WTFery. Groovy Usha Uthup disco, whild outdoor parties, and Shashi temporarily mesmerized by Zeenat Aman's rack (I mean, who wouldn't be?), at least until upstanding-Shashi takes over and his gaze turns from lustful to disapproving. Pure wackadoodle.
Honorable mention: "Dhadkan har dil ki" -- Abhinetri (1971)
Beth brought this song to my attention the other day when I was discussing this idea for the post with her. I haven't seen this movie yet either [ed: now, I have], as Beth - even as she gave me a copy - warned me that it was dire and regressive. But this song is hilarious - as if a 10-headed pantomime Raavan-horse isn't already bursting with awesome, we have dire and regressive Shashi looking vastly uncomfortable at the very idea of a cabaret show. THE VERY IDEA.
Happy Birthday, Shashi sahib. Thank you for all the years of delightful entertainment. May you live well and joyfully for many years more!