Lyricist Manoj Muntashir confidently strode on to the set of Indian Idol 12 to speak on the legendary Shammi Kapoor. Muntashir proclaimed that after the death of wife Geeta Bali, Shammi Kapoor never married again. This is factually incorrect. Shammi Kapoor’s second wife Neila Devi was married to the superstar for 42 years. They married in 1969, after Geeta Bali’s sudden death , and she remained by his side till his death in 2011. Neila Devi was most visible in the media, accompanying her husband everywhere especially during his later years when he was unwell.
To obliterate her from a discussion on Shammi Kapoor is inexcusable but Manoj Muntashir did issue an apology on social media for making wrong claims. When I asked Shammiji’s son Aditya Raj Kapoor about the error the music composer made, he said, “Ignore ignorance. These are Covid times.” In an earlier interview Aditya was all praise for his stepmom Neila Devi. “It was my second mother Neila Devi who made space for me in our home. She devoted her life to my father, decided not to have any kids of her own because my sister and me were already there. No Hindu woman would do this. From boarding school I used to write threatening letters to my father. I used to tell him that I'd run away from school. I told him he could marry any woman he wanted. But I had to have a mother. Neila Devi filled that gap. She turned me from a wounded anguished rebellious howling animal to a human being. Just goes to show, that a mother makes the family.”
This is not the first time that such an error is made on Indian Idol 12. In January this year, composer Vishal Dadlani was heard proclaiming that Lataji sang her immortal Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon for Pandit Nehru in 1947. The timeless patriotic song was actually composed and rendered in 1963.
Aditya Narayan who hosts Indian Idol has this to say about the recent goof-ups on historical facts by celebrity entertainers: “Sir, I can only talk about my personal approach and I generally refrain from stating trivia unless I have had it verified first-hand. I realize that as the host for the premier music reality show on TV I have a certain responsibility.”
Image source: Instagram/manojmuntashir/ adityanarayanofficial
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