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Sharmila Tagore

Sharmila Tagore in 2009
Born Sharmila Tagore
December 8, 1946 (1946-12-08) (age 63)
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Other name(s) Ayesha Sultana
Ayesha Sultana Khan
Sharmila Tagore Khan
Sharmila Khan
Ayesha Khan
Occupation Actress
Years active 1959–present
Spouse(s) Mansoor Ali Khan (1969 – present)

Sharmila Tagore (Bengali: শর্মিলা ঠাকুর Shormila Ṭhakur; 8 December 1946) is a Indian film actress from Bengal. She has won several National Film Awards and Filmfare Awards for her performances.

She has led the Indian Film Censor Board. In December 2005 she was chosen as an UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador[1].


Early life

Sharmila Tagore was born in a Bengali family in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India to Gitindranath Tagore who was then Dy. General Manager of the British India Company owner of Elgin Mills.


Sharmila Tagore in one of her memorable roles, Pushpa in Amar Prem, 1972.

Tagore began her career as an actress in the 1959 Satyajit Ray film Apur Sansar (The World of Apu), as the ill-fated bride of the title character. As noted on the official website for Ray, "She was just a fourteen-year-old then, with no previous acting experience. As the shooting began, Ray had to shout instructions to Sharmila during the takes. None of this, however, is reflected on the screen. Ray cast her in his next film Devi too."[2] She appeared in a number of Ray films, often co-starring with Soumitra Chatterjee.

She established herself as a popular Hindi film actress with Shakti Samanta's Kashmir Ki Kali in 1964. Samanta again cast her in many more hit films, notably An Evening in Paris (1967), the first appearance on a bikini on an Indian actress,[3][4] which not only shocked conservative Indian audiences[5][6] but also set off a wave of bikini-clad actresses carried forward by Parveen Babi (in Yeh Nazdeekiyan, 1982[7]), Zeenat Aman (in Heera Panna 1973; Qurbani, 1980[7]) and Dimple Kapadia (in Bobby, 1973[7], but established Tagore's role as somewhat of a sex symbol in Bollywood.[8][9][10] Wearing a bikini put her name in the Indian press as one of Bollywood's ten hottest actresses of all time, and was a transgression of female identity through a reversal of the state of modesty, which functions as a signifier of femininity in Bombay films.[11] But, when Tagore was the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification, she expressed concerns about the rise of the bikini in Indian films.[12]

Samanta later teamed up Tagore with Rajesh Khanna for movies such as Aradhana (1969) and Amar Prem (1972), where played her one of her memorable roles of Pushpa, the courtesan in city of Kolkata, again opposite Rajesh Khanna, who himself gave his often quoted dialogue in the film, "Pushpa I hate tears..". Other directors paired them together in Daag (1973), Maalik (1972) and Safar (1970). She starred in Gulzar's 1975 film, Mausam, and she played a supporting role as heroine Sarita Choudary's mother in Mira Nair's 1991 film Mississippi Masala.

Her latest release is a Marathi film Samaantar by Amol Palekar. Her earlier releases were Vidhu Vinod Chopra film, Eklavya: The Royal Guard, brings together real life mother and son, Sharmila Tagore and Saif Ali Khan. They share screen space for the first time since Aashiq Awara (1993).

Personal life

Tagore married Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, Nawab of Pataudi. They have three children: Saif Ali Khan (b. 1970), Saba Ali Khan and Soha Ali Khan (b. 1978).


Select filmography

Year Film Role Other notes
1959 Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) Aparna
1960 Devi / The Goddess Doyamoyee
1963 Nirjan Saikatey Renu
1963 Chhaya Shurjo Ghentoo
1964 Kashmir Ki Kali Champa
1965 Waqt Renu Khanna
1966 Anupama Uma Sharma
Nayak Aditi
1967 An Evening in Paris Deepa Malik/Roopa Malik (Suzy)
Aamne Saamne
1968 Mere Hamdam Mere Dost Anita
1969 Yakeen Rita
Satyakam Ranjana
Aradhana Vandhana Tripathi Winner, Filmfare Best Actress Award
1970 Aranyer Din Ratri (Days and Nights in the Forest) Aparna
1971 Seemabaddha Tutul
Chhoti Bahu
1972 Amar Prem Pushpa
1973 Daag Sonia Kohli
Aa Gale Lag Jaa Preeti
1975 Mausam Chanda/Kajli Winner, National Film Award for Best Actress
Chupke Chupke Sulekha Chaturvedi
Faraar Mala / Asha
1977 Amanush Rekha
1982 Namkeen Nimki
Desh Premee Bharti
1984 Sunny Sunny's mother
1991 Mississippi Masala Kinnu
1993 Aashiq Awara Mrs. Singh
1999 Mann Dev's grandmother
2000 Dhadkan Dev's mother
2005 Viruddh... Family Comes First Sumitra Patwardhan Nominated, Filmfare Best Actress Award
2006 Eklavya: The Royal Guard Suhasinidevi
2007 Fool and Final Bhabi
2008 Tasveer 8*10 Savithri Puri
2009 Morning Walk Neelima
Samaantar Shama Vaze Marathi

See also

Filmfare Award
Preceded by
Waheeda Rehman
for Neel Kamal
Best Actress
for Aradhana

Succeeded by
for Khilona
Preceded by
Lifetime Achievement
Succeeded by
Manoj Kumar
National Film Award
Preceded by
Shabana Azmi
for Ankur
Best Actress
for Mausam

Succeeded by
for Sila Nerangalil Sila Manithargal
Preceded by
Raakhee Gulzar
for Shubho Mahurat
Best Supporting Actress
for Abar Aranye

Succeeded by
for Akale


  1. ^ webpage
  2. ^
  3. ^ Stuff Reporter, "Being Sharmila, all through life", The Hindu, 2006-04-03
  4. ^ Lalit Mohan Joshi & Gulzar, Derek Malcolm, Bollywood, page 20, Lucky Dissanayake, 2002, ISBN 0953703223
  5. ^ Various writers, Rashtriya Sahara, page 28, Sahara India Mass Communication, 2002
  6. ^ Manjima Bhattacharjya, "Why the bikini is badnaam", Times of India, 2007-11-25
  7. ^ a b c Avijit Ghosh, "Bollywood's unfinished revolution", The Times of India, 2006-07-02
  8. ^ Subhash K Jha, "Bollywood's 10 hottest actresses of all time, Times of India, 2003-01-19
  9. ^ B. K. Karanjia, Blundering in Wonderland‎, page 18, Vikas Publishing House, 1990, ISBN 0706949617
  10. ^ Sharmila Tagore, Showbiz Legends, SantaBanta
  11. ^ Sumita S. Chakravarty, National Identity in Indian Popular Cinema, 1947-1987‎, page 321, University of Texas Press, 1993, ISBN 0292755511
  12. ^ Preeti Mudliar, "Without Cuts", Pune Newsline, 2005-04-11

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