Petite, beautiful and with dimples to die for, Sharmila Tagore had a great career in Indian cinema.
She started as a glamour girl and then turned to serious roles later on in her career and became one of the highest paid actors in the 1970s.
Sharmila began her career with Satyajit Ray’s Apur Sansar (1959) before Shakti Samanta cast her in Kashmir Ki Kali (1964) where she became an instant hit. Her appearance in a bikini in An Evening In Paris made her into a sex symbol and this was followed by many glamorous roles.
She came into her own with landmark films like Aradhana, Amanush, Amar Prem and Mausam among others. She married Indian cricket captain Mansoor Al Khan Pataudi and her offspring Saif and Soha followed her into cinema. She gave a string of hits with Rajesh Khanna.
Here are some of her best works:
An Evening In Paris (1967)
Director: Shakti Samanta
A rich girl Deepa (Sharmila) fails to find love in India and departs to Paris in hope. She lives with her father’s secretary whose son Shekhar (Pran) is in severe debt and hopes to marry Deepa to pay off his debts.
Enter debonair Shyam (Shammi) and his sidekick Makhan Singh (Rajendra Nath) and things begins to change. Shyam falls in love with Deepa and follows her everywhere. Deepa finally relents. The plot thickens when Deepa lookalike Suzy, a dancer, appears. There are kidnappings, fights etc before the lovers are united.
Director: Shakti Samanta
An Indian Air Force pilot falls in love with a woman and marries her secretly but tragedy befalls the couple when the former is killed in an air crash. Arun’s (Khanna) death leaves Vandana (Sharmila) heartbroken but she is pregnant with his child.
This causes more misery to her as her family thinks that the child is born outside marriage. Suraj (Khanna) grows up without knowing who his mother is as he is brought up by a couple. He falls in love with Renu (Farida) who later finds out that Vandana is Suraj’s mother.
Director: Asit Sen
A love triangle between a doctor, her poor terminally ill artist lover and a businessman ends in tragedy as one of them commits suicide due to a misunderstanding. Dr Neela (Sharmila), who works under Dr Chandra (Ashok Kumar), falls for Avinash (Khanna) during her medical college days. However, businessman Shekhar (Khan) also falls for Neela.
He seeks Avinash’s approval to win Neela’s hand and gets the go-ahead. Neela marries Shekhar but the latter is always suspicious about her and Avinash. A prank letter written by Avinash to Neela ends in Shekhar committing suicide. And Neela knows that Avinash will die any time as he has terminal cancer.
A doctor falls in love with the local healer’s daughter in Darjeeling but does not come back after going to Kolkata for higher studies. Dr Amarnath (Sanjeev Kumar) later returns to Darjeeling to find the healer dead and his love Chanda (Sharmila) married to an old man. She dies after going insane.
They have a daughter Kajli (Sharmila again) whom Dr Amarnath searches for tyo make up for what he did to her mother. He eventually finds her in a brothel, sold by a relative who raped her. The doctor buys off Kajli from the brothel and takes her home to make her into a lady.
Chupke Chupke (1975)
Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
A professor disguises as a driver to gain entry into the house of his wife and sets of a comedy of errors. This involves his know-all brother-in-law, his friend and sister-in-law.
The marital drama gets complex as characters are swapped and infidelity is suspected. The plot thickens and gets complex before someone will have to let the cat out of the bag.