Updated January 13th, 2024 at 00:57 IST
When Sharmila Tagore's bikini shoot created controversy in the 60s
Sharmila Tagore was one of the leading stars of her times, and also considered very bold for her times both in terms of film choices and life outsides movies.
January 13th marks the 98th birth anniversary of legendary Hindi filmmaker Shakti Samanta. Samanta, who made his debut in the 50s, became one of the leading directors in the following decade with films like China Town, Kashmir Ki Kali and Aradhana. The director was known for his urban sensibilities, stylish execution as well as soft, sensitive portrayal of romance and relationships. However, in 1966, one of his movies A Evening In Paris landed up in a major controversy, for a reason that arguably remains relevant to date.
Sharmila Tagore did a bikini shoot for a film magazine
An Evening In Paris was largely shot abroad, so the film’s lead couple Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore naturally donned many western outfits for the film as well. So when the film was in its promotional stage, Sharmila Tagore decided to do a photo shoot for a magazine in a bikini, which was similar to the two-piece she had worn for one of the songs in the film. However, the film-going public and people in general didn’t take well to the photo shoot. It was labelled as obscene and attention-seeking.
As Sharmila Tagore recalled in an interview years later how the bikini photo shoot became such a big deal back then, adding how even the photographer was apprehensive at first. “Nobody else wanted it to happen. Even the photographer had some anxiety issues about doing that. Yes, the photographer was slightly worried and I just thought I looked very nice.”
When Shakti Samanta asked Sharmila to return to India
Tagore recalled the controversy further, “It really hurt me later because everybody interpreted it in such a way that I was upwardly mobile, I was trying to catch eyeballs. I didn't feel like that.”
When the magazine came out, Sharmila Tagore was in London. However, she received a call from her director Shakti Samanta who told her, “There are terrible things happening here. He said if you want to be in the public eye, this is not the way to go,” requesting her to return to India on an immediate basis.
Published January 12th, 2024 at 23:53 IST