Bangalore: Dancing King Shammi Kapoor`s death early Sunday morning has shocked many Kannada film personalities who were close to the flamboyant star who changed the course of film entertainment in his heyday.
Director S.V.Rajendra Singh Babu, who helmed three Hindi films featuring Shammi Kapoor, was the first to express his shock about his favourite actor`s death.
"Yes, I know Shammi sahab was suffering from illness from a long time. And he had led a full life for 79 years and showed his individuality in his performance. But I have been quite uneasy since I heard the news of his death," Babu told IANS.
"I had known Shammi Saab intimately and through me, many of his big fans in the Kannada film industry like legendary actor Dr. Vishnuvardhan and Ambareesh became very close to the stylish actor," he added.
Stressing on Shammi`s unique style, the director called him a "fantastic actor".
"He packaged his performances with his signature style of acting with his profound talents. Teen aged girls use to like him so much that they were his biggest fans," added Babu.
Babu directed Shammi Kapoor in films like "Aaj Ka Dariya" in which Dilip Kumar and Rekha also played important roles, "Sharara" and "Ek Se Bhale Do".
"Some of these films were shot in studios in Bangalore and Ootacamund. Ater finishing his shoot, Shammi sahab would have some regular visitors that included lot of fans from the Kannada film industry," Babu recalled.
Renowned Kannada director, Puttanna Kanagal, who had directed Kannada film "Sakshathkara" with Shammi`s father Prithviraj Kapoor and Hindi film "Zahreela Insaan" with the actor`s nephew Rishi Kapoor was another great friend of Shammi Kapoor, Babu said.
In the early 1980s, Shammi had spent a whole evening in the home of Dr. Vishnuvardhan where he interacted with many of his fans in the industry.
Ambareesh, who even today is a great fan of Shammi Kapoor, remembered many occasions where he had opportunity to spend time with him.
"I would personally tell him how I sued to like his dances and style. Many times I mimicked some of his mannerisms in front of him," Ambareesh told IANS.
Even young actors like Ajay Rao said Shammi remained an all time entertainer of the Indian film industry.
"He was the real rebel in the industry who created his own style in films which became so popular that his fan base kept increasing. I had never seen Shammi Saab, but have seen many of his films. I can say that most of the young actors in our industry have been overawed by the hyperactive energy displayed by this great actor in his films," he said.