Sharmila Tagore steals limelight, sings along to a Tagore song

Bollywood actress Sharmila Tagore is a jury member at the Asian Cinema section competition in Dhaka International Film Festival.Tanvir Ahmed
Sharmila Tagore inaugurated the ‘10th International Women Filmmakers Conference’ by lighting a lamp while the Tagore song ‘Aguner Poroshmoni’ played in the background. She even sang along to the song.

The clock stroke 10:00am at the Samson H Lounge of Dhaka Club on Sunday. With a beaming smile on her face, Sharmila Tagore entered the auditorium and the cameras started to move keeping her in the centre. As always, she snatched the limelight there.

On the chilly winter morning, this Bengali actress arrived donning a floral print georgette sari and a black cardigan. This veteran actress, a member of the Jorashanko Tagore dynasty, exuded aristocracy in her silver hair, a watch on her wrist and rings on her fingers.

Though she had visited Dhaka thrice before, this is the first time she came to attend the Dhaka International Film Festival. She has been relied with the duty of a jury for the competition in Asian Cinema section at the festival.

Sharmila Tagore came to the inauguration of the ‘10th International Women Filmmakers Conference’, organised as a part of the film festival and became the ‘star’ of the show.

This member of the Jorashanko Tagore family inaugurated the conference by lighting up Mongol Prodeep (auspicious oil lamp) while the Tagore song ‘Aguner Poroshmoni’ played in the background.

Sharmila Tagore along with other guests inaugurates the 10th International Women Filmmakers Conference by lighting up Mongol Prodeep (auspicious oil lamp).
Tanvir Ahmed

Sharmila even sang along to the song. Sharmila is the granddaughter of Latika Tagore, the granddaughter of Rabindranath Tagore’s elder brother Dwijendranath Tagore.

Following the inauguration, the ‘Devi’ actress took her designated seat in the front row. When a volunteer working at the festival offered her a cup of coffee, Sharmila refused. After surviving cancer recently, this 79-years-old actress avoids outside food.

The filmmakers started an engaging conversation with Sharmila Tagore at the tea break. Sharmila Tagore was talking and the others were listening in silence. Even her eyes can speak.

Who didn’t fall for the charm of Sharmila’s beautuful eyes? Even Satyajit Ray engaged her as an actress because of her magical eyes. Sharmila made her debut on the silver screen as Aparna in Satyajit Ray’s film ‘Apur Sangsar’ at the age of just 13, while she was still in school.

When she turned 20 she moved from Kolkata to Mumbai. During her six-decade career, she gained stardom from acting in superhit films like ‘Kashmir Ki Kali’, ‘Anupama’, ‘An Evening in Paris’, ‘Aradhana’, ‘Daag’ and ‘Chupke Chupke’. She also appeared in web film ‘Gulmohar’ in trend recently.

Sharmila Tagore arrived donning a georgette sari featuring floral prints layered with a black cardigan over that.
Tanvir Ahmed

Belgian documentary director Phillipa Cardoso was also found in the discussion with Sharmila Tagore. Phillipa had a few black and white photographs in her hand.

Phillipa Cardoso and her husband Bo Van Der Werf made a documentary on Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray titled ‘Satyajit Ray negatives: My Life with Manikda’.

Philipa Cardoso kept the photos taken during the filming of the documentary at Delhi’s Pataudi House 25 years ago. This filmmaker is attending the Dhaka Film Festival as a guest.

When she heard that Sharmila Tagore will be there at the festival, she brought the photographs with her. Sharmila was nostalgic looking at those stills.

This Belgian filmmaker has watched all the films of Satyajit Ray starting from ‘Pather Panchali’ and ‘Apur Sansar’ to ‘Devi’. They had come to India about two decades back to make a documentary about Satyajit Ray out of their admiration for this filmmaker.

They had interviewed several people including Sharmila Tagore and cinematographer Nemai Ghosh for the documentary.

Sharmila Tagore conversing with Belgian documentary director Phillipa Cardoso
Makful Hossaion

Phillipa Cardoso told Prothom Alo that they had filmed the documentary in India for almost one and a half months. They stayed at Sharmila Tagore’s Pataudi House in Delhi for about two weeks. She never met Sharmila again in the next 25 years.

Phillipa who is thrilled to meet Sharmila after so many years said, “She is still the same as I saw her 25 years ago. She’s a wonderful human being and she’s really friendly. The experience of working with her was great.”

Sharmila Tagore still lives in Delhi’s Pataudi House. She loves to live in her own way. She never wanted to confine her life in a typical routine. She became a sensation from marrying Indian cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and doing bikini-clad photo-shoot for Filmfare magazine in the 60s.

The couple, Sharmila Tagore and Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi had three children, Saif Ali Khan, Soha Ali Khan and Saba Ali Khan. All three of them live in Mumbai. Sharmila visits Mumbai now and then to spend time with her children and grandkids.

Though Sharmila Tagore had visited Dhaka thrice before, this is the first time she came to attend the Dhaka International Film Festival.
Tanvir Ahmed

She came to Dhaka on a ten-day visit this time. She has checked into the presidential suite of a five-star hotel in the city. She will be meeting the press here on 26 January.

As the special guest this actress attended the inauguration of the film festival at the National Museum on Saturday. She’s supposed to attend the closing ceremony of the festival on 28 January and then return to Delhi on 29 January.  

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