Sanjeev Kumar Birth Anniversary: Sharmila Tagore Remembers Her Favourite Co-Star; Says ‘Haribhai Was Very Protective And Fond Of Her'

On the occasion of Sanjeev Kumar’s birth anniversary, Sharmila Tagore recalls working with the late actor.

2192 Reads |  

Sanjeev Kumar Birth Anniversary: Sharmila Tagore Remembers Her Favourite Co-Star; Says ‘Haribhai Was Very Protective And Fond Of Her'
If the great most effortless Hindi actor Sanjeev Kumar 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 films 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. Also read: Angoor Remake: Rohit Shetty Keen On Roping Jacqueline Fernandez Opposite Ranveer Singh As He Slips In Sanjeev Kumar’s Shoes – Reports

“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 Waheedaji, Shabana, Kiran 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 Namkeen, Mausam and Aandhi where the actresses had the more prominent roles.”

During Namkeen, Sharmila ji 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 (Bachchan) 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.”

Image source: Youtube/Ultramovies