“She Played Bad Women But Was An Angel,” Dharmendra On One Of His Favouite Co-stars Shashikala

When  the ever-affable  Dharmendra returned my call  on Sunday evening he was deeply  grieved.

“I just heard Shashikala  is  no more,” he mumbled  sadly before I could raise the  topic. “We have done  some of  our best work together. I can’t remember  all the films we  worked  together  in. But three  of my most favourite films Anupama, Devar  and Phool Aur Patthar had  Shashikala in  very prominent roles,”  recalls Dharamji  .

“She was  my senior, She had  done many films when I started  my career. I think the first film we  did together  was Anpadh where Mala Sinha played the title role. The movie  is remembered  to this  day  for  Madan Mohan Saab-Lataji’s  melodies. I was  a nervous  semi-newcomer, Shashikala put me  at  ease. ‘Ae  Dharam, aao  hamare  saath khana khao,’ she  would ask me  to join her  for lunch during shooting.For  a newcomer  such  warmth from a senior is  never forgotten. She taught me  to be  nice to newcomers,” Dharamji.

“She  was typecast as a vamp.  And  her most famous role as a vamp was with me in Phool Aur Patthar where her  song Zindagi mein  pyar karna seekh le became  a  big hit specially the  catchphrase ‘Phishigala phishigala’. Hrishikesh Mukherjee changed her image in Anupama  one  of my most favourite films. She was  nice in a positive  role. I  wonder  why she  didn’t play more positive  roles .She  was a gem  of  a person in real  life. Aise  hi  unhone  Pran Saab ko typecast  kar diya(they similarly typecast Pran).”
  Dharamji regrets  losing  contact with Shashikala.

“She  cut herself off completely  from the  film industry and moved to Pune with her family. Luckily she didn’t have to  die  a lonely death  like that other fine  actress Lalita Pawarji whose decomposed  body was  found in her home days after her death. Fame is  fine.  But family is  more important,” Dharamji signs off  thoughtfully.

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