Veteran actor Sharmila Tagore, who visited Gurgaon recently as part of Bangla mela,
Sharmila, who had a culturally laden childhood, says. “I was surrounded with art. I was six when I was a part of a group that used to perform on stage. We would tour Delhi and Mumbai, sometimes we did two shows in one evening.”
Sharing anecdotes of working with filmmaker Satyajit Ray, she says, “He was my priority. When he called me, I would drop everything and go. For Apur Sansar (1959) Manik da (as Ray is fondly referred to as) was looking for a young child bride. Since Tinku (Her sister – Tinku Tagore) had worked in films before, Ray felt that my family wouldn’t have objections.”
On sashaying from regional to Bollywood films, she says lip syncing to songs was the biggest challenge.
“If you’re working in regional language films, it’s obvious that you’d want to go national stage because Hindi films have a better reach. Since Ray introduced me, it helped me a lot. But, I had no idea of the song and dance routine.”
Sharmila, who has worked in the film industry for many years, says she was once on the verge of giving up her career. She says, “Shashi Kapoor came to visit me on the sets of Kashmir Ki Kali. I had a huge crush on him. I had seen Prem Patra (1962) and couldn’t sleep for three nights. Eastman color had just come, and there was white make-up. I had said this is my last film. But then I worked for the next 30 years.”