Legendary Bollywood heartthrob Shammi Kapoor, whose energetic acting and dancing style heavily influenced modern-day Indian film stars, died yesterday aged 79.
“Shammi Kapoor ji passed away this morning at 5:15,” Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan wrote on Twitter, using the Hindi honorific, saying Kapoor had brought “flamboyance and joie de vivre” to the screen.
Nikhil Gangavane, a family friend who headed the official Shammi Kapoor fan club, said the actor had been admitted to the private Breach Candy Hospital in south Mumbai within the past 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 said. “He had been undergoing dialysis for the last six or seven years but developed complications.”
Kapoor’s dance performances in romantic hits such as 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 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 other celebrity news, pop singer Christina Aguilera and Motown legend Smokey Robinson will head the lineup for a Michael Jackson tribute concert in Britain in October, the organizers have announced.
Several of Jackson’s brothers will also perform at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in Wales, as will his nephews who form the boyband 3T, despite opposition among some of the late singer’s siblings to the concert going ahead at all.
Fans have until Aug. 16 to register for tickets to the Oct. 8 show, which will cost from US$90 for a restricted view to a top price of US$390.
After several delays, the first artists in the lineup were confirmed as Smokey Robinson, Grammy award-winning singer Aguilera, singer-songwriter Cee Lo Green, British singer Leona Lewis and pop act JLS.
The concert is the brainchild of Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine, his sister La Toya and brothers Tito, Marlon and Jackie.
But two of his brothers, Jermaine and Randy Jackson, said the family should be concentrating on the upcoming manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor, which will begin on Sept. 26 in Los Angeles.
Conrad Murray, the last doctor to treat Jackson, is on trial for involuntary homicide in the King of Pop’s death on June 25, 2009 at the age of 50 after an overdose of the anesthesia propofol, which the singer used as a sleeping aid.
Also in the US, the popular children’s program Sesame Street on Friday put to rest rumors that odd couple roommates Bert and Ernie are gay, saying the puppets are just “best friends” and would not marry.
“Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves,” the public television program said in a statement.
“Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics [as most Sesame Street Muppets do], they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”
The move came in response to a Facebook campaign launched by gay rights activist Lair Scott of the northern US state of Illinois asking that Bert and Ernie get married on the program to teach acceptance of gays and lesbians.