Birthday Girl Babita Is Much More Than Karisma & Kareena’s Mother

I met Babita Shivdasani-Kapoor once over lunch when she  accompanied  her daughter  Kareena to meet me at a  posh restaurant  in suburban Mumbai. She  was  warm and  outspoken and  seemed  interested in  only talking about her daughters. When I would  bring up  the  topic of  her career she  brushed it off, “It was  just a  phase in my life. I wasn’t really career-driven. I wouldn’t say I  was  not serious. I  worked hard for  6 years from 1966 to  1972. Then I  gave it up to marry Daboo(Randhir Kapoor) and had my two daughters Lolo(Karisma) and Bebo(Kareena) and I  never looked back.”

Critics unfairly compared  Babita to her  legendary cousin Sadhana Shivdasani. They were were not  similar  in their personality  or aspirations.

Maybe Babita  should look back a bit to see  her achievements. The fact is, cinema  history has been  unfair to Babita.  Not much of an actress, I know. But  out of the 19 films that she did between 1966 and 72, MOST  OF HER  FILMS WERE HITS!!! In fact  Babita’s success ratio is  higher than that  of any other leading lady of  the  1960s, and yet she  is  not even mentioned  in any  evaluation of  Hindi cinema of  the decade.

 Babita’s first release Dus Lakh in 1966 with Sanjay Khan as  her co-star was a big hit.It immediately stamped her as a lucky heroine. And heroes were falling over each  other to work with her. In 1967 she was Jeetendra’s leading lady in  the  biggest hit of his career  Farz .They paired  up again in Aulad Bikhre Moti  ,Anmol Moti,Banphool  all hits.

She was also Rajesh Khanna’s first heroine  in Raaz which flopped.  But their second  film together  Doli  was a hit. In 1968 she  teamed up with her future  uncle-in-law Shashi Kapoor in Haseena Maan Jayegi which was a  massive hit one  of  the biggest hits of  his career unmatched  by any of the innumerable films he did with Babita’s Samdhan Sharmila Tagore.

 Fun trivia:  Babita’s daughter Karisma  also did a film entitled Haseena Maan Jayegi.  During the same  year she  was paired opposite Biswajeet in one of  his last successful films  Kismat, remembered  for its hit song  Kajra mohabbat wala to this day.She also starred opposite the fast-fading Rajendra  Kumar in Anjana in 1969, one of his last hits, and with  her  future  father-in-law Raj Kapoor’s brother Shammi  Kapoor  in one of his last successful films as a leading man  Tumse Achcha  Kaun Hai.

In 1971 she was paired  with her soon-to-be-husband Randhir Kapoor in his family film Kal Aaj Aur Kal  which starred Babita  with three  generations  of  the Kapoor clan Prithviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor and Randhir Kapoor.

Besides these  blockbusters she  also sang many timeless chartbusters  on screen : Bekhudi mein sanam(Haseena Maan Jayegi),  Aao huzoor tumko sitaron pe le chalun(Kismat), Kab tak huzoor roothe rahoge(Aulad),  Jeevan path pe pyar ne chedi madhur madhur sargam(Ek Shriman Ek Shrimati), Sajna saath  nibhana(Doli), Rimjhim ke geet sawan gaye(Anjana),  Ho gayee teri ho gayee(Kab Kyun Aur Kahan), Aap yahan aaye kis liye(Kal Aaj Aur Kal),  Yeh jo ladki hai(Bikhre Moti), Aahen na bhar thandi(Banphool),  Sheeshi bhari  gulab ki(Jeet) and  Do qadam tum  bhi  chalo(Ek Haseena Do Diwane).

Babita  Shivdasani-Kapoor  is  not counted  among the legends. She  is  not  one of them. But she gave  the  1960s some of  its  biggest hits.And that counts.

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