Sharmila Tagore remembers Shashikala

They shared screen space in one of their best films ‘Anupama’ and Sharmila Tagore still remembers that experience with Shashikala

Photo courtesy: Twitter/ @BombayBasanti
Photo courtesy: Twitter/ @BombayBasanti

Subhash K Jha

They shared screen space in one of their best films Anupama and Sharmila Tagore still remembers that experience with Shashikala.

“Shashikalji was already a much-experienced actress whereas I was relatively new when we did Anupama  together. It was Hrishida who cast  her in a very positive role in Anupama  because Hrishida always saw the good in every character. Otherwise  Shashikalaji had been typecast as the negative  woman, so much that I once heard that during an outdoor shooting the heroine  was allowed to use the  bathroom  in a friendly local’s home, but not Shashikalaji. This is evidence of how convincingly she played  the  bad woman and how convinced the audience becomes on seeing  the on-screen image. I remember once I was shooting  on location. After the shot I unthinkingly took off my wig , and there was a collective gasp among the onlookers,” recalls Sharmilaji.

Sharmilaji is all praise for Shashikala in Anupama. “She played a warmhearted talkative extrovert. I was  the  introvert. She  complemented my character so well.”

She doesn’t remember  much interaction with Shashikala  during Anupama  or Devar.  “It’s strange. We were all together during the outdoor shootings. But I don’t have much recollection of interacting with her during the  shooting of Anupama or Devar. Shashikalaji was also a prominent part of another film  Choti Bahu  where I played the  lead.  During this film I remember  interacting a  lot with  Nirupa Royji because her son  had damaged his eye(Sharmilaji’s husband  Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi had a damaged eye). But I can’t remember similar conversations with Shashikalaji.”

What Sharmilaji remembers is Shashikala’s second phase as an actress. “She  moved to Pune  and did very successful roles and films in Marathi.  Like Bengali cinema Marathi cinema has a lot of literary resources to fall  back on.  She was offered brilliant versatile roles and I really like the work she did in Marathi. That said, I wish Hindi cinema had not typecast her. But then that’s the way it is.”

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