There is no such thing as a doubt about Tanuja being one of many high actresses of Indian cinema within the 60s and 70s. One of many greats, she’s performed each function with the best degree of dedication, authenticity, and pleasure. However, to this era, she could be the mom of an effervescent Kajol. Little do they know that Kajol inherits her bindaas and bohemian perspective from her mom, who has by no means been a conformist. Girls of her time copied her seems to be and had been impressed by her. In contrast to her contemporaries, who had been aware about ‘duniya kya kahegi’ (what is going to folks say), Tanuja by no means pretended to be goody-two-shoes.
“I’ve by no means executed what I didn’t need to do. That is me, take it or depart it. In the event you criticise me, it’s your downside,” Tanuja informed Filmfare throughout one in all her interviews. This unrestrained behaviour shouldn’t be one thing she has developed after making it huge within the movie business. When her mom, one other legendary star of Hindi cinema, Shobna Samarth, needed her to play the function of the younger Nutan in her dwelling manufacturing, Hamari Beti (1950), the primary query that got here out of a five-year-old Tanuja was, “Does that imply no college?”
However as soon as she noticed the primary rushes of the movie, she discovered her voice to be squeaky and hated it. She informed her mom, “Abhi merko kaam nahi karna hai, meri awaaz ek dum chuhiya jaisi hai (I don’t need to work for now. Hearken to my alternative, I sound like a mouse).” So, Shobhana needed to get the remainder of her photographs executed by agreeing to her situation of giving her a lemonade. After Hamari Beti, Tanuja solely did one movie as a toddler actor, Amber (1952), the place she essayed the function of a younger Nargis.
Tanuja, regardless of having “strict” dad and mom, mom Shobna and father Kumar Singh, who by no means allowed their kids to eat sweets throughout weekdays, grew up into a whole “brat”. She mentioned that she was by no means considering research and thus spent her time in class operating round. She attended boarding college, St Joseph’s, Panchgani, the place she was hesitant to go initially, however ended up making a few of the fondest recollections and finest pals.
Her buddy from college, Shikha Vohra, revealed throughout an episode of Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai, “She was a madcap in class and nonetheless is. She was by no means a conformist in any method. She was at all times a vivid pupil and had a fantastic greedy energy. Bubbly, effervescent, shining, scintillating, all these qualities made her very talked-about in class. And she or he at all times needed to do one thing. Wherever there was a commotion in class, you’d positively discover Tanu (Tanuja) there. We had dragonflies there and he or she used to tie threads to them and fly them like kites.”
On the age of 16, Tanuja’s mom packed her off to Switzerland. However in contrast to her elder sister Nutan, she wasn’t despatched to a ending college. As an alternative, she attended an English college since she had a aptitude for languages and needed to be a communicator. However, her mom Shobna needed to name her again to India, not as a result of she was swarmed with movie provides for Tanuja, like Nutan, however as a result of, the household was below monetary stress.
Revealing the explanation behind changing into an actor, Tanuja shared throughout an previous interview shared on Wild Movies India’s YouTube channel, “After I completed college in 1960 and got here dwelling on vacation, I discovered that monetary situations had been a bit of strained within the household. My sister had already acquired married, so it might not have been truthful to form of anticipate her to take care of the household, and as I got here subsequent in line, it was on me to take care of the household. That’s why I began work. I had a youthful brother and sister, who had been nonetheless in class and my mom wasn’t properly. So, I simply got here into the career, not by alternative, however due to monetary causes.”
To launch her daughter, Shobna produced a movie for her, Chhabili in 1960, which was directed by Nutan. Nonetheless, the movie failed to present wings to Tanuja’s profession. Her subsequent, Mem Didi (1961), by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, additionally couldn’t do any wonders. And, she needed to wait till the discharge of Kidar Sharma’s Hamari Yaad Aayegi (1961) for the viewers to note her. Years later, she credited Sharma for coaching her to “communicate Hindi and face the digital camera”. However she additionally didn’t overlook being slapped by the director when she repeatedly laughed when she was presupposed to cry throughout a scene.
As per Lehren Retro, Tanuja informed Sharma, “I’m not in a temper to cry in the present day.” Her tantrum pissed the filmmaker off, and he slapped the actor. Tanuja left the set of the movie crying and complained to mom Shobna, who after listening to the complete episode, gave one other slap to Tanuja. She took her again to the set and informed Sharma, “Now she is crying. You possibly can resume the shoot.”
Although Humari Yaad Aayegi positioned Tanuja on the map, the movie didn’t be a field workplace hit. Even the movies that had been launched within the following years might hardly do something substantial for Tanuja’s profession. She was lowered to doing supporting roles in movies like Aaj Aur Kal (a 1963 movie that gave her an opportunity to showcase her vivacious persona on-screen); Benazir (1964), additionally starring Meena Kumari and Ashok Kumar; a job with Mehmood in Bhoot Bangla (1965), the place after all the comic stole the thunder, and a lead function in Chand Aur Suraj reverse Dharmendra additionally couldn’t do a lot. And, the Guru Dutt movie Baharein Phir Bhi Aayegi, which might have been her declare to fame, couldn’t be made as he died earlier than the movie could possibly be accomplished. The one movie which introduced her a bit of recognition was the 1967 movie, Jewel Thief. Who can overlook the scintillating Tanuja in a white robe making an attempt to win over Dev Anand’s consideration within the track “Raat Akeli Hai, Bujh Gaye Diye.”
In the meantime, Tanuja moved to Calcutta and delivered a success in Bengali cinema with the 1963 movie Deya Neya. “I acquired recognition as an artist after I began doing Bengali movies in 1962. I acquired a stature there, which made me really feel I’m actress, and never dangerous. Bengali movies opened the doorways for me. I acquired my true appreciation for my craft there,” Tanuja informed Prasar Bharti.
Issues modified for good with the 1969 movie, Jeene Ki Raah, the place Tanuja was solid reverse Jeetendra. And, the movie’s director LV Prasad had supplied the movie to Tanuja in 1966, when no person was casting her of their motion pictures. Cause? There have been probabilities of her going to jail.
Tanuja narrated to Prasar Bharti, “Jeene Ki Raah is a movie which could be very particular for me. In 1966, throughout an accident, a person died. Kaafi din case chala (the matter was subjudice for some time). I paid what I needed to pay at the moment. At the moment, no producer got here to me as they had been uncertain if I’d go to jail or not. That’s when LV Prasad Ji got here to me and mentioned, ‘Tanu, I need you to work in my movie.’ I’m so grateful to that man as a result of he got here at a time after I had misplaced my confidence since no filmmaker was approaching me, even the movies I had in hand weren’t taking pictures. I didn’t even know if they might be made or not. He had that confidence in me and began taking pictures for the movie instantly in 1967. In 1968, I used to be cleared from the case. For me, he was an incredible man.”
In 1971, got here Tanuja’s career-defining movie, as she led Basu Bhattacharya’s Anubhav, a story of two who rediscover their love for one another after present process a tough section. For the movie, Tanuja ditched her bubbly self to painting the function of a uncared for spouse Meeta. The Seventies proved fruitful for the actress as starred reverse Rajesh Khanna in Haathi Mere Saathi and Mere Jeewan Saathi. Do Chor with Dharmendra established her place as a profitable business artist.
However the actor by no means took credit score for her success. She informed Filmfare, “It’s all concerning the director. I by no means interfered even when I needed to give 40 retakes. I’ve by no means labored with a director who didn’t know what he was doing. And if I occurred to, then I’d find yourself doing my very own factor.” At one other second she famous, “My Hindi movie profession was by no means too sizzling.”
Recognized for not going by the foundations, Tanuja additionally didn’t suppose twice earlier than marrying filmmaker Shomu Mukherjee, whom she met on the set of Ek Baar Muskura Do, on the peak of her profession in 1973. Nonetheless, the wedding didn’t work out, and the 2 determined to separate after the start of their two daughters, Kajol and Tanisha. And, the actor felt that they had been “by no means meant” to be collectively. However the dad and mom of the 2 daughters made certain to not let the negativity of their relationship trickle all the way down to their children. Tanuja informed the Occasions of India, “Shomu and I by no means argued in entrance of them and, once they went to boarding college, we visited them as dad and mom every month.”
Nonetheless, after their separation, Tanuja slowed down on the profession entrance. And, as she aged, she began getting roles of mom, sister and sister-in-law. The actors who she as soon as romanced, both known as her ‘Maa’ (Jeetendra in Suhaagan) or ‘Bhabhi’ (Amitabh Bachchan in Khuddar). However Tanuja didn’t thoughts. She took this additionally as a problem. “I assumed now that I’m doing the function of mom, so be it Jeetendra or anybody else, how does it matter? Folks warned me in opposition to it since I used to be Jeetendra’s heroine at one level. However then I assumed, as an artist, it’s a problem for me to make folks imagine that I’m his mom,” Tanuja informed veteran actor Tabassum on her speak present.
Now, the veteran star is having fun with her time away from the limelight. She is having fun with her time as a doting grandmother to Kajol’s children, Nysa and Yug. Through the years, her equation along with her daughters has additionally modified. She isn’t any extra the “strict” mom.
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Describing her relationship with them, Tanuja informed Filmfare, “One is my mom, the opposite my grandmother. They give the impression of being after me and even scold me. They’ve taught me to be affected person. Like after I lose my mood, Kajol says, ‘Why don’t you lose it endlessly?’ My women are like me.”
Tanuja stays a revered title within the Hindi movie business. And, if in the present day, like her contemporaries, she shouldn’t be making her presence felt to this era, that’s as a result of she doesn’t need to be boxed into roles of simply grandmother. She believes if good roles could be written for the lads of her age, the identical could be executed for actresses of her age too.
So, once you have a look at her trajectory on the planet of cinema, her phrases to Filmfare, “I had no ambitions of changing into No 1. However I’ve carved my very own area of interest. I’m not run of the mill,” will ring true.