Criticism never bothered me: Sharmila Tagore

Sharmila TagoreTanvir Ahmed

A shawl draped over her black attire, actress Sharmila Tagore arrived at Dhaka Club right on time. With her sweet smile, she took to the stage after greeting everyone Friday afternoon.

This is the first time the acclaimed actress met the press during her 10-day visit in Dhaka. She came to Dhaka this time as a jury member for the Asian Cinema Section competition of 22nd Dhaka International Film Festival.

Sharmila answered questions on various topics including her debut in acting, her Bollywood career, criticism, marriage and stardom. The event was hosted by prominent Bangladeshi actor and member of the parliament, Asaduzzaman Noor.

Asaduzzaman Noor with Sharmila Tagore
Tanvir Ahmed

‘Didn’t have to struggle’

After the film ‘Apur Sansar’ was released, the character ‘Aparna’ had become very famous. The name ‘Aparna’ had spread to people’s homes. That’s why I didn’t have to struggle much to enter the field of acting.

Neither my family nor I ever thought that I would be acting. If I hadn’t got the chance to work with Manikda (Satyajit Ray), I might have been studying at Shantiniketan.

Bollywood and Tollywood

No matter if it was a Bangla film or Hindi, I poured my heart into it. I have simultaneously worked in both industries.

When I used to work in Bangla films, everyone used to say, “This is not your Hindi film, take some time to think and then react before the camera.”

Then again when I would go to work in a Hindi film, they would say, “This is not a Satyajit Ray film. Deliver the dialogue t a fast pace.”

Mansoor Ali Khan and Sharmila Tagore

Marriage and stardom

When I was about to wedTiger (Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi) many told me that it wasn’t the right time to get married and that I wouldn’t be popular anymore after getting married.

But, I believe it’s important to get married at the right time. I felt that I should get married and I didn’t listen to others. We were very happy after we were married.

Criticism didn’t bother me

Criticism didn’t bother me at all. A lot of things would be written about me and I used to feel really low at that time. Then I thought to myself, why am I reading all this? And I cancelled the subscription of the magazines. I didn’t have a headache about it. There will always be criticism.

When Sara started doing films, she used to cry whenever someone said something to her. I told her, “Whatever people are saying accept that. If it’s something positive you can learn from it, if not just ignore it.”

Sharmila Tagore
Tanvir Ahmed

Female centric films have increased

There are more female-centric films now compared to before. For example if I talk about the film ‘Piku’, back in the days nobody would even believe the concept of a single woman earning and taking care of her father. But now they do believe it.

Many actresses including Vidya Balan are doing such projects. Currently, heroine-centric films are not only being made people are also going to the theaters to see them.

Looking for comic roles

I have never had many comic roles. There was only some comedy in my role from the film ‘Chupke Chupke’. Nobody actually offered me a comic role. I do want to do a comic role. Everyone would just offer me melodramatic roles with me crying.

Sharmila Tagore
Suvra Kanti Das

List of favourite films

I have three children and it’s really tough to choose a favourite among them. The same goes for cinema also. I have been working for almost sixty years.

Apart from the films of Satyajit Ray, there a film named ‘Barnali’ that’s very good. Then there are ‘Nirjan Saikate’ and ‘Namkeen’.

Earlier, I used to name ‘Safar’ as my most favourite film. Meanwhile, I re-watched several other films of mine during the pandemic. And for the time being ‘Namkeen’ is my favourite.

‘I’m free of cancer’

I was diagnosed with cancer in 2018. It was detected quite early. That’s why I didn’t have to go through chemotherapy. I’m cancer-free now.

Sharmila Tagore
Prothom Alo

About OTT

Many good projects are being made on the OTT platforms now. Plus, the new actors and actresses are getting the opportunity to work.

Projects are being made on a variety of topics. Issues that couldn’t be talked about before are being discussed now. A lot can be said on the OTT.

Bangla film and literature

Among the contemporary Bangla films, I have watched ‘Fereshte’ and ‘Mighty Afrin’. I haven’t had the chance to watch any other films other than those.

I do want to read modern Bangla poetry and literature and I’ll collect some books from Dhaka. One other thing, the ‘Dhakai jamdani’ is extremely popular there and the jJamdani made here is available there.

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