Sharmila Tagore in a still from An Evening in Paris
Sharmila Tagore was among the top actresses of the Hindi film industry in the 60s and 70s. The actress who made her debut with 'Apur Sansar' in 1959 was known for breaking the glass ceiling from time to time. In the 60s, the actress made headlines and became the talk of the town with her bikini appearance in the film 'An Evening In Paris'. Back then it was not as normal for women to wear bikini or skimpy clothes on screen. In a recent interview, the actress had opened up about wearing a bikini in the film and the conversation that followed.
Sharmila Tagore was in conversation with author Twinkle Khanna for her chat show 'The Icons'. When asked about shooting in a bikini for âAn Evening in Paris', Sharmila laughed about it sharing that she won't get over that ever. "It became such a big thing," she said, saying that she was amused at how a âpiece of clothing' could create so much controversy.
"I cannot say I was forced or asked to do it as it was entirely my decision. The photographer was not quite approving either. We did it spontaneously, which later created a huge uproar," the actor said. She also shared that her director Shakti Samanta scolded her as he felt that people would not take her seriously if she is projected this way.
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"Also, there were a lot of things into it. I wanted to grab eyeballs, I wanted to be commercially more viable. But I thought I looked nice," the 'Aradhana' actor said. Tagore revealed that her husband, the late cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi was in London at the time but was the only support system in the whole matter. She said that he wrote her one telegram saying that she must be looking nice and need not worry about anything.
Tagore said that there was also a learning curve to this whole incident. "I realised that.. you cannot live in a world of your own. If you are a public figure, you must understand your audience, you must understand where you are. In front of the camera, you are emoting which is landing very well with the Indian audience, because these people accepted me. But this kind of radical thing will not go down well with the Indian audience. So why do it? Because you do not really want to shock people," she said, adding that she then made a conscious decision to do films like 'Aradhana'.
Tagore further revealed that she got the posters of her in a bikini removed from the areas she was living in and the reason behind it is quite hilarious.
"Because my mother-in-law was visiting me. We (Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and her) were not married then, just engaged. There was this huge poster with Shammi Kapoor standing, and behind it, was me. My mid-riff is covered because of his body, so my bare legs and arms are outside. It was quite a titillating poster. At night, my driver and bearer went and took it out. But there must be many other posters on the way which Amma saw," she shared.
However, Tagore revealed that her mother-in-law was not bothered by the incident or the posters.