Sharmila Tagore Rewinds on Wearing a bikini in the 60s

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Veteran actress Sharmila Tagore became one of Bollywood’s first commercial stars to pose in a bikini on a magazine cover in 1966. Nevertheless, she says people now do not allow her to forget about it.

Her roles and choices

She has been known to take up numerous film roles since she made her debut with Apur Sansar in 1959 and has never been shy away from trying things that some would not.

Sharmila opened up during a recent online session about being one of the first mainstream Bollywood stars to pose on a magazine cover in a bikini. On the cover of Filmfare magazine in 1966, Sharmila was wearing a black and white bikini.

Her Statement

Sharmila spoke about how her decisions have often been unorthodox during a session with her fans, hosted by Film Companion. “My life choices, looking back, have been unconventional. Like the bikini shot for Filmfare, that people don’t ever let me forget,” she said.

It was Sharmila’s suggestion to pose for the magazine in a bikini, as per an article in Filmfare. Talking about it, in an interview with Filmfare, she once said, “Oh! God, how conservative our society was back then! I’ve no idea why I did that shoot. It was just before I got married. I remember when I showed the two-piece bikini to the photographer, he asked me, ‘Are you sure about this?’ In some of the shots, he even asked me to cover my body. He was more worried than I was but I had no qualms doing that shoot. Only when people started reacting strongly to the cover, was I taken aback. I was puzzled as to why they didn’t like the picture. I thought I looked nice. Some called it a deliberate move to grab eyeballs; others termed me as ‘astutely uncanny’. I hated that. Maybe, there was an exhibitionist in me, as I was young and excited to do something different.”

Her discussion with Kareena Kapoor Khan

Recently, a clip of Sharmila’s performance on the radio show What Women Want by her daughter-in-law Kareena Kapoor went viral. In it, Sharmila was asked by Kareena about the difference between a daughter and a daughter-in-law.

Sharmila replied, “Well, a daughter is someone you’ve grown up with, right? So you know her temperament, you know what makes her angry and how to deal with that person. You’re meeting your daughter-in-law when she is an adult already and you don’t quite know what her temperament is like, so it takes time to gel. The new girl, your daughter-in-law, is coming to your house so you need to welcome her and make her more comfortable.”

Sharmila currently lives in Delhi while her children Saif, Soha and Saba are in Mumbai.