Ever since some alarming reports appeared about Sharmila Tagore not keeping good health, the legendary diva has been inundated with calls from anxious friends, relatives, and fans.
Putting to rest all concerns about her health, Sharmila Tagore ji says, “By God’s grace I am in fine health. There is absolutely no reason to be concerned. Though I’m 76, I keep myself very busy reading, gardening, social engagements, and of course attending to my obligations at home. There is no time to brood .”
The past year’s lockdown also gave the highly versatile critically acclaimed actress an opportunity to watch all her films chronologically. “Many of my own films, I had never seen before. And I must say some of my old films like Choti Bahu and Badnaam Farishtay have withstood the test of time. I like Asit Sen’s Safar and Bhimsain’s Dooriyaan because I played a proper professional. This was so different from the conventional roles for heroines during those days. I like Anupama, Safar, Amar Prem, Talaash and Aradhana. Apur Sansar was a milestone and so was Devi. I got to work with Satyajit Ray in both.”
Sharmilaji’s own personal favourite performance remains the one she gave in the great Satyajit Ray’s Devi when she was just 14. “It is my own favourite film and performance. My life changed when I was introduced to Satyajit Ray. It was acting for me thereafter. But I kept telling myself I’d quit after every film. I saw myself in my first Hindi film Kashmir Ki Kali and I didn’t like myself. I said, one more film and I’m done. But it continued. But I left so many films: Khilona, Tere Mere Sapne, Roti Kapda Aur Makaan, Aadmi Aur Insaan…. You have to appreciate the fact that acting is not the be-all end-all of my life. There is so much more to life. In any case, unlike Jaya (Bachchan) or Shabana (Azmi), who went to acting school, I was an accidental actress. I remember seeing Jaya at age 13 with her father, the distinguished journalist Tarun Kumar Bhaduri. Even at that age she was decked up, a rose in her hair and so on. She was very enamoured of the camera. She was destined to be an actress. I had no such aspirations. I actually wanted to go to Shanti Niketan. I wanted to be a dancer.”