Sharmila Tagore

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Sharmila Tagore
Sharmila Tagore in 2011
Born Sharmila Tagore
(1944-12-08) 8 December 1944 (age 69)
Hyderabad, Hyderabad State, British India
(now in Telangana, India)
Other names Begum Ayesha Sultana
Ethnicity Bengali
Occupation Model, Actress
Years active 1959–1984
Religion Islam
Spouse(s) Mansoor Ali Khan (1969–2011, his death)
Children Saif Ali Khan
Saba Ali Khan
Soha Ali Khan

Sharmila Tagore (now Begum Ayesha Sultana) (born 8 December 1944) is an Indian film actress. She has won National Film Awards and Filmfare Awards for her performances. She has led the Indian Film Censor Board from October 2004 till March 2011. In December 2005 she was chosen as an UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.[1] In 2013, she was awarded Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.

Early life[edit]

Tagore was born in a Bengali family in Hyderabad State to Gitindranath Tagore, who was then deputy general manager of the East India Company owner of Elgin Mills. Her father was the son of Kanakendranath Tagore, who was the son of noted painter Gaganendranath Tagore and a relative of another painter Abanindranath Tagore, and more distantly, the poet and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore.[2][3] Her mother, Ira Baruah, was of Assamese descent. In regards to her Assamese roots, she stated—“Half of me is from Assam since my mother was an Assamese. Ira Barua, my mother, was the daughter of J. Barua, founder principal of Earl Law College in Guwahati.” [4] [5] Tagore attended St. John's Diocesan Girls' Higher Secondary School and Loreto Convent, Asansol.[6]

Gaganendranath and Abanindranath Tagore were brothers and Poet Rabindranath was their uncle- father Gunendranath Tagore's cousin.


Sharmila Tagore began her career as an actress in Satyajit Ray's 1959 Bengali film Apur Sansar (The World of Apu), as the ill-fated bride of the title character. She appeared in a number of Ray films, often co-starring with Soumitra Chatterjee. She established herself as a popular Hindi film actress with Shakti Samanta's Kashmir Ki Kali with Shammi Kapoor in 1964. Samanta again cast her in many more hit films, notably An Evening in Paris (1967), again with Shammi, the first appearance in a bikini of an Indian actress,[7][8][9] (Sadhana had appeared in one-piece bathing suit in earlier films) which not only shocked conservative Indian audiences[10][11] but also set off a wave of bikini-clad actresses carried forward by Dimple Kapadia (in Bobby, 1973[12]), Zeenat Aman (in Heera Panna, 1973; Qurbani, 1980[12]) and Parveen Babi (in Yeh Nazdeekiyan, 1982[12]) and established Tagore as somewhat of a sex symbol in Hindi films.[13][14] She also posed in a bikini for the glossy Filmfare magazine in 1968.[15][16][10][17] But, when Tagore was the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification, she expressed concerns about the increased use of the bikini in Indian films.[18]

Samanta later teamed up Tagore with Rajesh Khanna for movies such as Aradhana (1969) and Amar Prem (1972). Other directors paired them together in Safar (1970), Daag (1973), Maalik (1972). The pair of Khanna- Sharmila gave 6 box office hits[19] – Aradhana, Safar, Amar Prem, Chhoti Bahu, Daag and Avishkaar and films like Raja Rani, Tyaag, Maalik were critically acclaimed but box office flops. She starred in Gulzar's 1975 film, Mausam and won the National Film Award for Best Actress. She also played a supporting role as heroine Sarita Choudhury's mother in Mira Nair's 1991 film Mississippi Masala.

She also appeared in Marathi film Samaantar by Amol Palekar. Her earlier release was Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Eklavya: The Royal Guard, which brought together real-life mother and son, Sharmila Tagore and Saif Ali Khan. They shared screen space for the first time since Aashiq Awara (1993).

Personal life[edit]

Sharmila with her daughter Soha at the premiere of Khoya Khoya Chand

She married Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, the Nawab of Pataudi and former captain of the Indian cricket team, in a Nikkah ceremony held on 27 December 1969. She converted to Islam and took on the name Ayesha Sultana. They had three children: Saif Ali Khan (b. 1970), Saba Ali Khan (b. 1976),[20] a jewellery designer, and Soha Ali Khan (b. 1978), a Bollywood actress and TV personality. Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi died, at age 70, on 22 September 2011.[21] In November 2012 she wrote to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) asking for the upcoming series between India and England to be recognised as the Pataudi Trophy which was commissioned by the MCC in 2007. The Indian board responded saying that England's Test series in India are contested for the Anthony de Mello Trophy, in honour of the cricket administrator and co-founder of the BCCI.[22]

Awards and recognitions[edit]


Full list of Sharmila Tagore's film career is available at

Year Film Director Role Other notes
1959 Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) Satyajit Ray Aparna Bengali
1960 Devi / The Goddess Satyajit Ray Doyamoyee Bengali
1963 Nirjan Saikate Tapan Sinha Renu Bengali
1963 Chaya Shurjo Partha Pratim Chowdhury Ghentoo Bengali
1964 Kashmir Ki Kali Shakti Samanta Champa
1965 Waqt Yash Chopra Renu Khanna
1966 Anupama Hrishikesh Mukherjee Uma Sharma
Devar Mohan Sehgal Madhumati / Banwariya
Nayak Satyajit Ray Aditi
Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi Brij Kiran / Kiranmai
1967 An Evening in Paris Shakti Samanta Deepa Malik/Roopa Malik (Suzy)
Aamne Saamne Suraj Prakash Sapna Mathur / Sapna G. Mittal
1969 Yakeen Brij Rita
Satyakam Hrishikesh Mukherjee Ranjana
Talash O. P. Ralhan Madhu / Gauri
Aradhana Shakti Samanta Vandhana Tripathi Winner, Filmfare Best Actress Award
1970 Aranyer Din Ratri (Days and Nights in the Forest) Satyajit Ray Aparna
1970 Safar Asit Sen Neela Kapoor Nominated, Filmfare Best Actress Award
1971 Seemabaddha Satyajit Ray Tutul
Chhoti Bahu K.B. Tilak Radha
1972 Amar Prem Shakti Samanta Pushpa
Dastaan B.R.Chopra Meena
Yeh Gulistan Hamara Atma Ram Soo Reni
Raja Rani Sachin Bhowmick Nirmala / Rani
1973 Daag Yash Chopra Sonia Kohli
Aa Gale Lag Jaa Manmohan Desai Preeti
1975 Mausam Gulzar Chanda/Kajli Winner, National Film Award for Best Actress
Chupke Chupke Hrishikesh Mukherjee Sulekha Chaturvedi
Faraar Shanker Mukherjee Mala/Asha
1977 Amanush Shakti Samanta Rekha
1978 Besharam Deven Verma Rinku/Monica
1979 Dooriyaan Bhimsain Khurana
1982 Namkeen Gulzar Nimki
Desh Premee Manmohan Desai Bharti
1984 Sunny Raj Khosla Sunny's mother
1991 Mississippi Masala Mira Nair Kinnu
1993 Aashiq Awara Umesh Mehra Mrs. Singh
1999 Mann Indra Kumar Dev's grandmother
2000 Dhadkan Dharmesh Darshan Dev's mother
2003 Shubho Mahurat Rituparno Ghosh Padmini Chowdhury Bengali
2005 Viruddh... Family Comes First Mahesh Manjrekar Sumitra Patwardhan Nominated, Filmfare Best Actress Award
2006 Eklavya: The Royal Guard Vidhu Vinod Chopra Suhasinidevi
2007 Fool and Final Ahmed Khan Bhabi
2008 Tasveer 8*10 Nagesh Kukunoor Savithri Puri
2009 Antaheen Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury Pishima Bengali
2009 Morning Walk Arup Dutta Neelima
Samaantar Amol Palekar Shama Vaze Marathi
2010 Break Ke Baad Danish Aslam Ayesha Khan

See also[edit]


  1. ^ webpage
  2. ^
  3. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (9 November 1990). "At the Movies". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ "President confers top honours Pranab urges people to reset moral compass.". Telegraph India. 
  5. ^ Anurag, K. "Assam: ULFA opposes award to Sharmila Tagore". Rediff. 
  6. ^ Zaman, Rana Siddiqui (7 August 2009). "My First Break – Sharmila Tagore". Friday Review Delhi (Chennai, India: The Hindu). Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  7. ^ "Soha Ali Khan wears a bikini for 'Mr Joe B Carvalho'". November 16, 2013. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  8. ^ Stuff Reporter, "Being Sharmila, all through life", The Hindu, 2006-04-03
  9. ^ Lalit Mohan Joshi & Gulzar, Derek Malcolm, Bollywood, page 20, Lucky Dissanayake, 2002, ISBN 0-9537032-2-3
  10. ^ a b Various writers, Rashtriya Sahara, page 28, Sahara India Mass Communication, 2002
  11. ^ Manjima Bhattacharjya, "Why the bikini is badnaam", Times of India, 2007-11-25
  12. ^ a b c Avijit Ghosh, "Bollywood's unfinished revolution", The Times of India, 2006-07-02
  13. ^ Subhash K Jha, "Bollywood's 10 hottest actresses of all time, Times of India, 2003-01-19
  14. ^ B. K. Karanjia, Blundering in Wonderland, page 18, Vikas Publishing House, 1990, ISBN 0-7069-4961-7
  15. ^ "Like mom Sharmila Tagore, Soha Ali Khan dons a bikini in Mr Joe B Carvalho". India Today. November 19, 2013. Retrieved November 19, 2013. 
  16. ^ B. K. Karanjia, Blundering in Wonderland, page 18, Vikas Publishing House, 1990, ISBN 0-7069-4961-7
  17. ^ Sumita S. Chakravarty, National Identity in Indian Popular Cinema, 1947–1987, page 321, University of Texas Press, 1993, ISBN 0-292-75551-1
  18. ^ Preeti Mudliar, "Without Cuts", Pune Newsline, 2005-04-11
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ "India's legendary cricketer Tiger Pataudi passes away at 70". Retrieved 2011-09-22. 
  22. ^ ESPNcricinfo staff (November 6, 2012). "'Recognise India-England series as Pataudi Trophy'". Cricinfo. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 

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