Star Of The Week - Sharmila Tagore


Also known as: Begum Ayesha Sultana
DOB: December 8, 1944
Star: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hyderabad, British India
Occupation: Hindi film actress


• Sharmila Tagore has received two National Film Awards and two Filmfare Awards for her performances among several other awards.

• She led the Indian Film Censor Board (2004-2011). In 2005, she was appointed as UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador and was one of the International Competition's Jury Members at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. In 2013, she was awarded Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.

Interesting facts:

• Sharmila Tagore was born to Gitindranath Tagore, a general manager in the British India Corporation, and Ira Tagore. While her father belonged to a Bengali family, her mother came from an Assamese family, and both of them were distantly related to the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

• Sharmila had two younger sisters, the late Oindrila Kunda (Tinku Tagore) and Romila Sen (Chinky). Oindrila was the first in the family to act in a film, and the only role she ever played was that of Mini, the child character (but a central character) in Kabuliwala (1957).

• Tagore made her film debut when she was a 13-year-old schoolgirl, after which her studies lost priority, and she never finished school. Within a short while, her results in school became unsatisfactory, her attendance dropped, she came to be regarded as a bad influence on her classmates, and was faced with a choice of either doing films or studying further. 

• At that point, her father advised her to move ahead in life, commit herself to a film career and 'give it her all' in order to become successful. She did as her father advised, and credits her parents for having supported her at every point in her life.

• Sharmila began her career as an actress in Satyajit Ray's Bengali film Apur Sansar (The World of Apu, 1959), as the ill-fated bride of the title character. She later appeared in Kashmir Ki Kali (1964). In An Evening in Paris (1967), Tagore became the first Indian actress to appear in beachwear. She also posed in a bathing suit for Filmfare the following year. But, when Tagore was the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification 36 years later, she expressed concerns about the increased use of swimsuits in Indian films.

• Tagore was teamed up with actor Rajesh Khanna in several movies, giving seven box office hits. She was the highest paid Bollywood actress from 1970 to 1976 along with Mumtaz.

• Sharmila Tagore married Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, the Nawab of Pataudi and former captain of the Indian cricket team, in a Nikah ceremony in 1969. She converted to Islam and took on the name Ayesha Sultana. They had three children: Saif Ali Khan, a Bollywood actor, Saba Ali Khan, a jewellery designer, and Soha Ali Khan, a Bollywood actress.