Veteran Hindi cinema star Shammi Kapoor who died in the early hours of August 14 2011 at the age of 79, had more in common with the world of Internet, than his catchphrase ‘Yahoo’!
A fact forgotten in the ensuing decades, is that he was something of an Internet pioneer in India. What was then the government’s overseas communication agency -- Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL) -- brought Internet access to the general public, almost exactly 16 years ago on Aug 15 1995. But almost a year earlier, Shammi , an Apple computer buff, had set up an Internet café in a 5-star hotel in Mumbai using a leased TCP/IP line. He was also the founder and first chairman of the Internet Users Community of India (IUCI). He was a one of those responsible for setting up cyber organizations like the Ethical Hackers Association. But for millions of his fans ( at least those who are also Internet users), Shammi is the man who coined the cry Yahoo!
It first surfaced in the 1961 film “Junglee” in a song voiced for him by Mohammed Rafi: “Chahey koi mujhe junglee kahey…..”. But in the course of a series of You Tube interviews , Shammi Kapoor Unplugged ( rajshri.com) he reveals that the Yahooo shout was not the voice of Rafi but of a writer at the Kapoor clan- run Prithvi Theatres, Parag Raaj. At any rate it became Shammi’s signature sound and he is indelibly associated with the phrase.
The other Yahoo
In a campus trailer in 1994, two Stanford University (US) engineering students , David Filo and Jerry Yang, created an application to help people communicate with each other, find and access information and purchase things using the Internet. They called it Yahoo, an acronym for for "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”. But according to the official Yahoo history, Filo and Yang insist they ( also) selected the name because they liked the general dictionary definition of a yahoo: "rude, unsophisticated, uncouth."
In an interview with Sanjeev Srivastava for the BBC in 2006, Shammi recalls that “when Yahoo opened its office in Mumbai (Bombay) several years ago he was invited by Jerry Yang. As the launch festivities started building towards a climax, Kapoor was pleasantly surprised to hear the band playing his Yahoo song from the film Junglee (or Wild). Later, Yang told him how inspired he was by the Yahoo song and the way the actor had used the word in his inimitable style in so many of his films.
"It was all very flattering. Many of my relatives still call up and ask whether I own Yahoo," Shammi said. But what did the word Yahoo really mean to him? Why did he use it with such energy in so many of his movies? "It was an expression of joy after having won over my lady love," he explained (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6203237.stm )
Long after he gave up acting, Shammi remained a hard core computer and Internet buff. He has his own website www.junglee.org.in devoted to the life and work of Kapoor clan of actors. Twitter, Facebook – he was into everything. And he told an interviewer about one important reason for his devotion to computertech: The machine (computer) did another good to me….The moment the mouse came in my hand, the cigarette flew away…permanently (http://www.santabanta.com/cinema.asp?pid=41311) .
Watch Shammi Kapoor explain how his character in Junglee yelled Yahoo that first time 50 years ago and see that famous sequence here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1otz4NQxSP8http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1otz4NQxSP8
Aug 14 2011