He was full of life, optimism: Wife Neila Devi remembers Shammi Kapoor

  • Neila Devi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 13, 2016 20:02 IST
Neila Devi talks about the life and times of late husband Shammi Kapoor on his death anniversary. (PTI)

It was in 1950. I first saw Shammi Kapoor when I was just 9 years old.

He came to Bhavnagar to perform plays for Prithvi Theatre. One of them was Ahuti. My brother and I went to see him after the performance. Shammi Kapoor affectionately ruffled my hairs. I liked his singing. I personally feel he could lip songs so well in films as he was a good singer himself.

In 1964 I took Geeta Bali to see Sangam at Apsara. She was vivacious, affectionate and told to a close associate about me, “Bari Changi Hai” in Punjabi. She was already Mrs. Shammi Kapoor. Geeta Bali attended the performance at noon. Shammi Kapor came for the evening show. By then he was a family friend.

Read: Rishi Kapoor demands government honour for Shammi Kapoor

By the early ‘60s Shammi Kapoor rose to peaks as a star. He was the rebel hero of Indian cinema. Along with him, Shashi Kapoor also became a family friend. The death of Geeta Bali in 1965 literally shocked Shammi Kapoor. He was very emotionally perturbed as she was his true anchor. We came across each other at certain events. There were normal exchanges of pleasantries. He was the ideal father taking due care of son Aditya and daughter Kanchan.

It was the personal initiative of Krishna Raj Kapoor to get us married. Ours was an arranged one. I tied the knot with Shammi Kapoor on 27th January 1969. Our marriage was a simple family occasion. The entire Kapoor khandan attended. After marriage Shammi Kapoor changed his outlook and lifestyle with proper counselling. By the early 70s he was a different person altogether, sober, thinking, mellow and mature.

Read: Shammi Kapoor’s last words revealed

We spent a little more than four decades together. Life was really kind to us. He was ill for quite some time. Even after undergoing dialysis, Shammi Kapoor was so full of life and optimism. The cruel pangs of death snatched him away from us 5 years ago. I have never-ending memories of my husband, the golden hearted Shammi Kapoor.

(As told to Ranjan Das Gupta)

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