Sharmila Tagore: The actress with a perfect blend of dignity, style and glamour

A descendant of Rabindranath Tagore’s family, Sharmila Tagore is the eldest of the three daughters born to Gitindranath Tagore. She has studied in missionary schools in Asansol and Kolkata and was quite active in Children's Little Theatre. She was equally at home with the Satyajit Ray school of film making as well as Shakti Samanta’s. 

It was Satyajit Ray who selected her for an important role in Apur Sansar, a Bengali film when she was only 14 years old. It was after that incident when she started working in Bengali films like Devi with Ray before starting her Bollywood career

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Her beauty and freshness became the talk of the nation when Shakti Samanta teamed her up with Shammi Kapoor in Kashmir Ki Kali (1964). Hindi film producers lined up at her door to sign the new symbol of ‘glamour and style’

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With her dimpled smile, bouffant hairdos, modern sarees and coquettish dialogue delivery, Sharmila became the style icon of the industry. She immediately rose to greater heights with Waqt (1965), Anupama (1966), Devar (1966), Sawan Ki Ghata (1966) and Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi (1966)

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While she portrayed the silent suffering daughter in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anupama (1966) efficiently, she raised eyebrows with her two-piece bikini for a 1966 Filmfare cover and with her swimsuits in Aamne Samne (1967) and An Evening In Paris (1967)

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Her beauty and style had already bowled over the then Indian Cricket Captain Nawab Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. They met in 1965, four years before finally accepting his marriage proposal. Their marriage was termed as a marriage of Cricket and Bollywood

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Just a few months before her marriage, Sharmila achieved the biggest success of her career with Aradhana (1969). The film not only went on to become a Platinum Jubilee hit, it also established Sharmila as an actress par excellence and gave Hindi cinema its first Superstar - Rajesh Khanna

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Besides her other hits with Rajesh Khanna like Safar (1970), Amar Prem (1971), and Daag (1973), she was equally effective in Aa Gale Lag Jaa (1973),  Charitraheen (1974), and Chupke Chupke (1975). She stunned the audience and the critics alike, with her National award-winning double role in Gulzar’s Mausam (1975). It was like a never-seen-before performance from a mainstream actress

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Sharmila has 3 children with Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, namely Saif Ali Khan(1970) and the 2 daughters Saba Ali Khan(1976) and Soha Ali Khan(1978). Sharmila shifted to Delhi after her film Mausam and would occasionally return to Mumbai to do films like Dooriyan (1979), Griha Pravesh (1981), Namkeen (1982) and New Delhi Times (1986)

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She had a very successful pairing opposite Dharmendra, along with whom she starred in seven movies - Devar (1966), Anupama (1966), Mere Hamdam Mere Dost (1968), Satyakam (1969), Yakeen (1969), Chupke Chupke (1975), Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka (1975) and Sunny (1984)

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Sharmila Tagore's name became synonymous with the winged eyeliner even though there were other celebs who sported it around the same time too. But it was just not this make-up technique alone she excelled in. The beehive hairdo too became a craze among women and continued to rule the fashion charts till the late '80s

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Sharmila Tagore led the Indian Film Censor Board between 2004 and 2011 and was the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2005. Besides selected Hindi & Bengali films, she did Amol Palekar’s Samaantar (2009) in Marathi. Besides this, Sharmila was also one of the International Competition's Jury Member at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival

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