Nargis Rabadi (24 April 1929–6 March 2018), better known by her stage name Shammi, was a film actress who appeared in over two hundred Hindi films.
A stellar actress who began her career in the 1950s, the actress starred in films like Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965), Aamne Samne (1967) and even transitioned to television through serials like Dekh Bhai Dekh (1993), Zabaan Sambhal Ke (1993) and Shriman Shrimati (1997).
Born Nargis Rabadi in 1931 to a Parsi family, she was first cast in Shaikh Mukhtar’s Ustad Pedro (1951) as the second lead alongside Sheikh Mukhtar and Begum Para. It was the beginning of a career that would span across 5 decades.
Shammi was close friends with the late Nargis, with whom she shared the first name. It was because of Nargis that she picked Shammi as her stage name.
The actress shared screenspace with some of the leading stars of the time including Madhubala, Nargis and Dilip Kumar. Her performances in films like Azaad (1955), Halaku (1956), Raj Tilak (1958) and Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai (1960) earned her critical and commercial success. One of her much praised roles was as the nosy neighbour in Yash Chopra’s Ittefaq (1969).
By the 1970 and 1980s, Shammi had evolved into a character actor and soon played maternal roles. She won the Bengal Film Journalist Association award for her performance in Samaaj Ko Badal Dalo (1970).
Though relegated to character roles, the actress revamped her career through television.
In the popular show, Dekh Bhai Dekh (1993), she played the genial grandmother alongside actors like Sushma Seth, Farida Jalal, and Navin Nischol. The series also saw her reunited with Daisy Irani, who made her debut as a child actor alongside Shammi in Bandish (1955). She also played Karisma Kapoor’s grandmother in the Sooraj Barjatya family entertainer, Hum Saath Saath Hain (1999).
The actress was last seen on screen in the film Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi (2012) where she played grandmother to Boman Irani’s Farhad Pastakia.
Shammi was married to producer-director Sultan Ahmed. They divorced in 1980.
Her extensive and inspiring contribution to Indian cinema will always be remembered.