The Kanpur girl turned yester-year diva Sharmila Tagore was the dream girl for almost every cine-enthusiast of the classic era.
Born into an aristocratic Bengali family on December 9, 1944, Sharmila rose to fame after her first appearance in film director Satyajit Ray’s Bengali movie ‘Apur Sansar’ in 1959.
Sharmila played the titular role of an unfortunate bride in the movie and gained nationwide recognition after the film won the National Award for Best Feature Film in 1959, along with many international awards which included a nomination for the prestigious BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) in 1962.
The actress soon gained eminence for her versatile roles in challenging movies. Whether it was romance or family drama, Sharmila was the first choice amongst top directors of the 60s and 70s.
From playing an ill-fated bride in her first movie to emergence as the sex-symbol of India, Sharmila posed in a bikini for the Filmfare magazine’s 1966 edition which was considered the boldest attempt by any Indian actress of her time.
She wore a bikini for the first time in Shakti Samanta-directed movie “An Evening in Paris, 1967” which starred veteran actor Shammi Kapoor as her co-star.
Sharmila’s safar, starring alongside Rajesh Khanna:
Bollywood saw its booming phase in the early 70s with the emergence of India’s first superstar Rajesh Khanna who wooed the Indian audience like no one else before.
Khanna's instant stardom and charm paired with Sharmila Tagore’s bold and graceful appearance gave the Indian film industry seven super-hits, out of which two were directed by Samanta such as Aradhana (1969), and Amar Prem (1972). The other movies were Safar, Raja-Rani, Chotti Bahu, Daag, and, Aviskaar.
Aradhana helped Sharmila bag her first Film Fare Award in the Best Actress category.
Here is her famous song, Mere Sapno Ki Rani from the movie Aradhana, 1969: