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Sanjeev Kumar Birth Anniversary: Sharmila Tagore Remembers One Of Her Favourite Co-Stars !



Sanjeev Kumar

Sanjeev Kumar , If  the great most effortless Hindi  actor , had lived longer he would have been  83 on July 9.

“Sadly we lost him so  young. Haribhai, that’s what we called Sanjeev Kumar, left us  when he was  only 47. A heart condition that was genetical—his brothers  too died  young—could have been controlled if not cured had  he  lived longer . In those days the medical options were  limited. It is  sad we lost him to a heart attack. He wasn’t a heavy  smoker. And  I don’t think drinking damages the heart to that extent,” wonders Shamila Tagore who has done  a slew of films  with Sanjeev Kumar.

“Some  of  the  film I did with him were not good.  Others like Gulzar’s Mausam and Namkeen and Basu Bhattacharya’s Grihapravesh were  wonderful. I remember  Basuda(Bhattacharya) and I had gone to visit Haribhai  in hospital . He was cheerful and chatty. Basuda and I decided not to tell him that  one of our key sequences in Grihapravesh had been damaged in the lab.We didn’t want to distress him,” she recalls  .

“I think Haribhai was  very fond of me, and very  protective. When  we were  shooting  outdoors we’d all be  in his  hotel  room after shooting. After two drinks he would tell me  to  leave  his room as he wanted  to  relax alone. I’d dutifully march out,” recalls Sharmilaji with a  laugh.

Among the films  Sanjeev and  she did  together Sharmila singles  out Namkeen. “How beautifully he  held his  ground with all  of us actresses  WaheedajiShabanaKiran Vairale and I. It didn’t matter to  him if he was  not the focus of attention  in a  film. Haribhai was an absolute natural. Look how well he executed his parts  in  NamkeenMausam and Aandhi where  the  actresses  had the more prominent roles.”

 During Namkeen Sharmilaji  got to spend a lot of time with Haribhai. “We were shooting at Film City(Mumbai) and there were no guests on the set. During the  breaks Haribhai and I had long  conversations. Was he  lonely? I don’t think so. He  had  lots of family and he  doted  on his mother. He definitely wanted to  get  married. But he  wanted to marry  a girl  who would  look  after his home  and  treat    his  mother   like her own  mother. Most  of  the girls Haribhai met were career-oriented actresses. It is  sad that he  died  so young before  he could  find the right  life partner.”

Sharmilaji has only fond memories  of Sanjeev Kumar. “In the 1970s we shot a lot of films together.  I remember  we were shooting for Faraar and Mausam  simultaneously. We would be together  for  the  one  film  in the morning shift , and then again in  the  afternoon  for  the  other film.True, he  came in late for shooting. For  the morning shift he  would  walk in at noon.And we could shoot for only  an hour until lunch break. But these were  minor issues when compared to how  much of himself he  gave to  the camera. I loved the way he shot some of his  songs.

Bahon mein chale aao in Anamika with Jaya(Bhaduri)  is  my favourite. I  go to watch  it  all the  time. The way Haribhai shushes Jaya while she  sings creates an aura  of such subdued romance.He had so  much more to give.  He  shouldn’t have  gone so early”

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