At 18, she had started her career in 1949's Ustad Pedro, which starred Sheikh Mukhtar and Begum Para. She changed her name to Shammi at the behest of director Tara Harish, because Nargis was already a hugely popular actor at the time.
She appeared over 200 Hindi films, usually as the second female lead or vamp or as a comic actor. She had, however, played lead roles in films such as Malhar and Sangdil.
From 1970's she mainly played mother to various heroes in films such as Purab Aur Paschim, Dharam Kanta, Adhikar, Samaj Ko Badal Dalo, Coolie No 1, Hum, Mardon Wali Baat, Gurudev and Gopi Kishan.
Later, she was seen in (mostly comic) television programmes, such as Dekh Bhai Dekh, Zabaan Sambhal Ke, Shriman Shrimati and Filmi Chakkar, which cemented her place as one Indian television's most popular grannies. Her last film role was in 2013's Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi, which starred Farah Khan and Boman Irani.
Amitabh Bachchan, in a tweet, wrote, "Shammi Aunty .. prolific actress, years of contribution to the Industry, dear family friend .. passes away ..!! A long suffered illness, age ..Sad .. slowly slowly they all go away ..."
Sunil Dutt’s daughter and Congress leader Priya Dutt tweeted: "Shammi aunty to me and a great actor of yester years passed away today. She was my mother’s dear friend and someone we all loved very much. May her soul rest in peace and her laughter and contagious smile rock the heavens. Be In peace with your friends."(UNI)