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09-02-2012, 05:13 PM #1
Frail Shammi Aunty still besieged with work
At 83, Shammi aunty, as she is lovingly known, loves people and acting. Unfailingly, she is the first to call on my birthday every year. Failing health and difficulty in hearing has not taken away this strong-willed lady’s spirit.
After a long time we have got to see Shammi aunty as Boman Irani’s doting grandmother in Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi. And, the attention she’s getting after a long gap is certainly welcome.
Basking in attention, the veteran actress says, “I want to continue acting. It’s the only thing I know to do. But movie offers had stopped coming for a while since I was doing television. But that too has dwindled lately. So I was sitting idle. At my age, to be workless is to be worthless. Lekin main aaj tak kabhi kissi se kaam maange nahin gayi (I have never gone to anyone asking for work). Why should I do so now? I am happy getting what comes my way. And am garateful to God that I still get work. It isn’t a major role in Shirin Farhad, but it was great fun working for the film.”
The offer from Bela Bhansali Sehgal was God sent. Recalls Shammi aunty, “One day, I got a call from Bela. She said that she was doing a film about the Parsi community with Parsi actors and asked me if I could play Boman Irani’s grandmother. Please don’t say no.” I thought to myself, that saying no to such an offer would be a folly and greedily grabbed it. I never knew it would be so much fun.”
Shammi aunty recounts that she didn’t know that Boman would be so entertaining. “Since, he is relatively new in movies, I never had a chance to work with him. He was so wonderful. He kept saying he was happy to work with me. Most of my scenes in the film were with Boman. We had great fun shooting together. I didn’t have too many scenes with Farah Khan. But I’ve know her from her childhood. As for Daisy Irani, who plays my daughter-in-law, I remember that I also starred in her first film Bandish in 1955 in which she played Meena Kumari’s little son. I remember, her coming running into Meena’s lap after every shot. And to be working with her after so many years was indeed a joy!”
Shammi aunty has also finished working in another film directed by Pavan Kaul. “I went to Bangkok to shoot for Pavan’s film. Bela’s and Pavan’s films happened one after another. So maybe more work will come my way soon.”
Sighs the veteran actress, “All this is God’s work. He has been very kind to me. Otherwise, why would I still be getting work? It is unaimaginable for me to be not working. Boman asked me as to how many films had I done in my career to which I had no clue. Recently, someone googled on me and found out I had done nearly 200 films. I was amazed. When did I do all these films?! Time just flows by!”
Nowadays Shammi aunty stays with her best friend Asha Parekh as the older actress has no domestic help in her own house. “But no complaints, I am happy to be still healthy and doing what I love to do the most.”