Sharmila Tagore

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Sharmila Tagore
Sharmila T Lux-Award 2016.jpg Sharmila T Lux-Award 2016.jpg
Tagore in 2016.
BornSharmila Tagore
(1944-12-08) 8 December 1944 (age 77)
Hyderabad, Hyderabad State, British India
(present-day Telangana, India)[1]
💼 Occupation
📆 Years active  1959–1984
  • Rajmata of Pataudi and Bhopal (pretender: 2011-present)
  • Begum of Pataudi (titular: 1969-1971; pretender: 1995-2011)
  • Begum of Bhopal (pretender: 1995-2011)
👩 Spouse(s)
Mansoor Ali Khan
(m. 1969; died 2011)
👶 ChildrenSaif, Saba, Soha
👪 RelativesTagore family (by birth)
Pataudi family (by marriage)
Jnanadabhiram Barua (Grandfather)
🏅 AwardsPadma Bhushan (2013)

Sharmila Tagore (also known as Begum Ayesha Sultana Khan following conversion to Islam and marriage[2]; born 8 December 1944) is a former Indian film actress known for her works in Hindi cinema as well as Bengali cinema. She has received two National Film Awards and two Filmfare Awards for her performances.

She led the Indian Film Censor Board from October 2004 till March 2011. In December 2005 she was chosen as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.[3] She 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.[4]

Early life[edit]

Sharmila was born in Hyderabad, India, the daughter of Gitindranath Tagore, a general manager in the British India Corporation, by his wife Ira Tagore (née Barua).[5] While Sharmila Tagore's father belonged to a Bengali Hindu family, her mother came from an Assamese Hindu family, and both of them were distantly related to the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.[6][7] Gitindranath was the grandson of the noted painter Gaganendranath Tagore, whose own father Gunendranath had been a first cousin of the laureate.[5] In fact, Sharmila Tagore is more closely related to Rabindranath Tagore through her mother: her maternal grandmother Latika Barua (née Tagore) was the granddaughter of Rabindranath Tagore's brother Dwijendranath Tagore.[5] Tagore's maternal grandfather (husband of Latika Barua née Tagore) was Jnanadabhiram Barua, the first Principal of Earl Law College in Guwahati (now known as Government Law College), himself the son of the noted social worker Gunabhiram Barua.[8][9] As a member of the Tagore family, Sharmila Tagore is also a distant relative of the actress Devika Rani and the painter Abanindranath Tagore (brother of Gaganendranath Tagore)

Sharmila Tagore was the eldest of three children and 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 Tapan Sinha's film Kabuliwala (1957).[5][10] In adulthood, she became an international bridge player. The other sister, Romila Sen, is the wife of Nikhil Sen, a corporate honcho who served as Chief Operating Officer of Britannia Industries for many years.

Sharmila Tagore attended St. John's Diocesan Girls' Higher Secondary School and Loreto Convent, Asansol.[11] She 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 very bad, her attendance levels were very low, 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.[12] 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.[12] She did as her father advised, and credits her parents for having supported her at every point in her life.


Sharmila Tagore was one of the International Competition's Jury Member at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival

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 later appeared in Shakti Samanta's Kashmir Ki Kali in 1964. Samanta cast her in many more films, including An Evening in Paris (1967), in which she became the first Indian actress to appear in a bikini,[13][14][15][16][17][18] which established Sharmila Tagore as somewhat of a sex symbol in Hindi films.[19][20] She also posed in a bikini for the glossy Filmfare magazine in 1966[21].[16][22][23][24] But, when Begum Ayesha Sultana was the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification 36 years later, she expressed concerns about the increased use of bikinis in Indian films.[25]

Samanta later teamed up Sharmila with Rajesh Khanna for movies such as Aradhana (1969) and Amar Prem (1972). Other directors paired them together in Safar (1970), Daag (1973), and Maalik (1972). The pair of Khanna-Sharmila gave 7 box office hits[26]Aradhana, Safar, Amar Prem, Chhoti Bahu, Daag, "Raja Rani" and Avishkaar. As per the review of the film Raja Rani made in 2014 by the Hindu newspaper, the film did well at the box office and taking into consideration, the inflation as of 2014, the film would have grossed more than 1 billion.[27] She starred in Gulzar's 1975 film, Mausam and won the National Film Award for Best Actress. She also played a supporting role in Mira Nair's 1991 film Mississippi Masala. She was the highest paid Bollywood actress from 1970 to 1976 along with Mumtaz. She had a very successful pairing opposite Dharmendra, along with whom she starred in seven movies - Devar (1966), Anupama (1966), Mere Hamdam Mere Dost (1968), Satyakam (1969), Yakeen (1969), Chupke Chupke (1975), Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka (1975) and Sunny (1984). Her filmography also include Faraar (1975) opposite Amitabh Bachchan; Besharam (1975) and Mausam (1978) opposite Sanjeev Kumar; and Bengali film Mangaldeep (1991) opposite Naseeruddin Shah. In 2017, she walked as a showstopper for Designer Rohini Gugnani at India Runway Week.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Begum Ayesha Sultana with her daughter Soha at the premiere of Khoya Khoya Chand

Sharmila Tagore married Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, the Nawab of Pataudi and former captain of the Indian cricket team, in a Nikah ceremony held on 27 December 1969. She converted to Islam upon marriage and changed her name to Begum Ayesha Sultana Khan. They had three children: Saif Ali Khan (b. 1970), a Bollywood actor, Saba Ali Khan (b. 1976),[29] 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.[30] 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.[31]


Civilian honors
  • 2013 – Padma Bhushan[32]
National Film Awards
  • 1975 – National Film Award for Best Actress — Mausam[33]
  • 2003 – National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress — Abar Aranye[33]
Filmfare Awards
  • 1970 – Filmfare Award for Best Actress — Aradhana[33]
  • 1998 – Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award[33]
Anandalok Awards
  • 2010 - Lifetime Achievement Award
Screen Awards
  • 2002 - Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2014 - Sanskriti Kalashree Award, Lifetime Achievement

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Film Director Role Language
1959 Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) Satyajit Ray Aparna Bengali
1960 Devi (The Goddess) Satyajit Ray Doyamoyee Bengali
1963 Shes Anko Haridas Bhattacharya Mala Bengali
1963 Nirjan Saikate Tapan Sinha Renu Bengali
1963 Barnali Ajoy Kar Aloka Choudhury Bengali
1963 Chhaya Shurjo Partha Pratim Chowdhury Ghentoo Bengali
1964 Kashmir Ki Kali Shakti Samanta Champa Hindi
1965 Waqt Yash Chopra Renu Khanna Hindi
1965 Dak Ghar Zul Vellani guest appearance Hindi
1966 Anupama Hrishikesh Mukherjee Uma Sharma Hindi
1966 Devar Mohan Sehgal Madhumati / Banwariya Hindi
1966 Sawan Ki Ghata Shakti Samanta Seema Hindi
1966 Nayak Satyajit Ray Aditi Bengali
1966 Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi Brij Kiran / Kiranmai Hindi
1967 Milan Ki Raat R.Bhattacharya Hindi
1967 An Evening in Paris Shakti Samanta Deepa Malik/Roopa Malik (Suzy) Hindi
1967 Aamne Saamne Suraj Prakash Sapna Mathur / Sapna G. Mittal Hindi
1968 Mere Hamdam Mere Dost Amar Kumar Anita Hindi
1968 Humsaya Joy Mukherjee Leena Sen Hindi
1969 Yakeen Brij Rita Hindi
1969 Satyakam Hrishikesh Mukherjee Ranjana Hindi
1969 Talash O. P. Ralhan Madhu / Gauri Hindi
1969 Aradhana Shakti Samanta Vandhana Tripathi Hindi
1970 Aranyer Din Ratri (Days and Nights in the Forest) Satyajit Ray Aparna Bengali
1970 Suhana Safar Vijay Sapna Hindi
1970 Mere Humsafar Dulal Guha Taruna/Meenakshi Hindi
1970 My Love S. Sukhdev Sangeeta Thakur Hindi
1970 Safar Asit Sen Neela Kapoor Hindi
1971 Seemabaddha Satyajit Ray Tutul Bengali
1971 Chhoti Bahu K.B. Tilak Radha Hindi
1972 Amar Prem Shakti Samanta Pushpa Hindi
1972 Dastaan B.R.Chopra Meena Hindi
1972 Yeh Gulistan Hamara Atma Ram Soo Reni Hindi
1973 Raja Rani Sachin Bhowmick Nirmala / Rani Hindi
1973 Daag Yash Chopra Sonia Kohli Hindi
1973 Aa Gale Lag Jaa Manmohan Desai Preeti Hindi
1974 Shaandaar Hindi
1974 Avishkaar Basu Bhattacharya Mansi Hindi
1975 Mausam Gulzar Chanda/Kajli Hindi
1975 Chupke Chupke Hrishikesh Mukherjee Sulekha Chaturvedi Hindi
1975 Faraar Shanker Mukherjee Mala/Asha Hindi
1975 Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka Devendra Goel Aruna Hindi
1975 Amanush Shakti Samanta Lekha Bengali
1976 Ek Se Badhkar Ek Brij Rekha Hindi
1977 Anand Ashram Shakti Samanta Asha Bengali
1978 Besharam Deven Verma Rinku/Monica Hindi
1979 Chuvanna Chirakukal Jayan Malayalam
1979 Dooriyaan Bhimsain Khurana Hindi
1981 Kalankini Kankabati Uttam Kumar Aparna/Kanka Bengali
1982 Namkeen Gulzar Nimki Hindi
1982 Desh Premee Manmohan Desai Bharti Hindi
1983 Protidan Prabhat Roy Gouri


1983 Gehri Chot - Urf: Durdesh Ambrish Sangal (India), Ehtesham (Bangladesh) Shobha Bengali
1984 Sunny Raj Khosla Sitara Hindi
1988 Anurodh Jayanta Bhattarcharya Jaya/Maya Bengali
1991 Mississippi Masala Mira Nair Kinnu English
1993 Aashiq Awara Umesh Mehra Mrs. Singh Hindi
1999 Mann Indra Kumar Dev's grandmother Hindi
2000 Dhadkan Dharmesh Darshan Dev's mother Hindi
2002 Abar Aranye Goutam Ghose Ashim's wife - Aprana Bengali
2003 Shubho Mahurat Rituparno Ghosh Padmini Chowdhury Bengali
2005 Viruddh... Family Comes First Mahesh Manjrekar Sumitra Patwardhan Hindi
2006 Eklavya: The Royal Guard Vidhu Vinod Chopra Suhasinidevi Hindi
2007 Fool and Final Ahmed Khan Bhabi Hindi
2008 Tasveer 8*10 Nagesh Kukunoor Savithri Puri Hindi
2009 Antaheen Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury Pishima Bengali
2009 Morning Walk Arup Dutta Neelima Hindi
2009 Samaantar Amol Palekar Shama Vaze Marathi
2010 Break Ke Baad Danish Aslam Ayesha Khan Hindi

See also[edit]

  • List of Indian film actresses


  1. "Birthday special: Things you may not know about Sharmila Tagore". Mid Day. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  2. Baljit Rai (1990). Muslim fundamentalism in the Indian subcontinent. B.S. Publishers. Search this book on Logo.png
  3. "Sharmila Tagore, for UNICEF". 8 December 2005.
  4. "Sharmila Tagore, India's emblem at Cannes – Times of India".
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "TAGORE".
  6. "The Tagore connection!". The Times of India.
  7. Van Gelder, Lawrence (9 November 1990). "At the Movies". The New York Times.
  8. "President confers top honours Pranab urges people to reset moral compass". Telegraph India.
  9. Anurag, K. "Assam: ULFA opposes award to Sharmila Tagore". Rediff.
  10. "The telegraph" (PDF). 1 December 1991.
  11. Zaman, Rana Siddiqui (7 August 2009). "My First Break – Sharmila Tagore". Friday Review Delhi. The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Was considered a bad influence on girls: Sharmila Tagore". Indian Expres6 May 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  13. "Soha Ali Khan wears a bikini for 'Mr Joe B Carvalho'". 16 November 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  14. Stuff Reporter, "Being Sharmila, all through life", The Hindu, 2006-04-03
  15. Lalit Mohan Joshi & Gulzar, Derek Malcolm, Bollywood, page 20, Lucky Dissanayake, 2002, ISBN 0-9537032-2-3 Search this book on Logo.png.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Various writers, Rashtriya Sahara, page 28, Sahara India Mass Communication, 2002
  17. Manjima Bhattacharjya, "Why the bikini is badnaam", Times of India, 2007-11-25
  18. Avijit Ghosh, "Bollywood's unfinished revolution", The Times of India, 2006-07-02
  19. Subhash K Jha, "Bollywood's 10 hottest actresses of all time, Times of India, 2003-01-19
  20. B. K. Karanjia, Blundering in Wonderland, page 18, Vikas Publishing House, 1990, ISBN 0-7069-4961-7 Search this book on Logo.png.
  21. "The first bikini cover". Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  22. "Like mom Sharmila Tagore, Soha Ali Khan dons a bikini in Mr Joe B Carvalho". India Today. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  23. B. K. Karanjia, Blundering in Wonderland, page 18, Vikas Publishing House, 1990, ISBN 0-7069-4961-7 Search this book on Logo.png.
  24. Sumita S. Chakravarty, National Identity in Indian Popular Cinema, 1947–1987, page 321, University of Texas Press, 1993, ISBN 0-292-75551-1 Search this book on Logo.png.
  25. Preeti Mudliar, "Without Cuts Archived 13 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine", Pune Newsline, 2005-04-11
  26. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2012. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  27. Malhotra, A. P. S. (8 August 2013). "Raja Rani (1973)" – via
  28. "India Runway Week 2016: Mother-daughter duo Sharmila -Soha to walk the ramp". 13 September 2016.
  29. "To Saif with love: Soha & Saba".
  30. "India's legendary cricketer Tiger Pataudi passes away at 70". Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  31. ESPNcricinfo staff (6 November 2012). "Recognise India-England series as Pataudi Trophy". Cricinfo. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  32. "Padma Awards Announced". Government of India. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 Sharmila Tagore on IMDb

External links[edit]