Sharmila Tagore: Sex symbol image doesn't last for long

Recalling the sensational bikini shoot in the 1960s for a magazine cover, veteran actress Sharmila Tagore on Monday said she did make an effort to change her image of a sex symbol for longevity.

Sharmila Tagore
Sharmila Tagore

In the 1960s, her bikini shoot for a magazine cover, the first Indian actress to do so, created quite a stir.

Tagore's husband, late Indian cricketing legend Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi's support put her doubts to rest.

"There was a huge criticism and times were very different. Tiger was away and I told him all this is happening and he told me 'I am sure you look very nice'. That was enough support and I wasn't unsettled then," Tagore said at the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet.

She was responding to audience questions on her being nervous following the sharp reactions.

From being the sex symbol of yesteryears (bikini clad diva in "An Evening in Paris") to delivering power-packed performances in cult movies like "Aradhana", Tagore exuded confidence in the most demanding of roles that she was cast in by the masters of Indian cinema, including Satyajit Ray.

The multiple National Award winner admitted to revamping her image with a variety of roles.

"But I did make an effort change my image. After that (bikini shoot for magazine), I signed 'Aradhana' and different kind of films, because you know your sex (symbol) image doesn't last for very long. You know for longevity you must do different kind of roles that find a place in people's heart," she said.

Mother to actors Saif and Soha, the 71-year-old actress clarified that the shoot wasn't a statement.

"It wasn't a statement... I just thought I would look nice. What is the point of wearing a bikini right now... I wore it at the right time," she added.

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