Coastweek -- Rail
Ka Dibba had a silver lining for Shammi (Kapoor): The ‘exciting
experience’ of working with the ‘gorgeous’ Madhubala, ‘who was just
out of this world,’ as Shammi had gushed.
‘When I met her on
the set of Rail Ka Dibba for the first time, I could not take my
eyes off her. I was like hit by a thunderbolt,’ he had
In spite of his
overt self-confidence and cavalier disposition, he was
‘extremely nervous’ taking Madhubala in his arms for an intimate
‘I was so nervous
that I kept forgetting my lines,’ he had said.
‘And she was fully
aware of the effect she had been having on me and was relishing
He just couldn’t
stop the rhapsody: ‘She was breath-takingly beautiful... Woh jab
paani peeti thi toh aisa lagta tha jaise yahan se (runs his
finger down his neck) ek nas mein se paani guzarta hua neeche ja
raha hai... (when she drank water, it was as if I could see
water flowing down her throat). She was so delicate.’
Those days Madhu was
romantically involved with Dilip Kumar on the one side and
Premnath on the other.
I kept wondering yeh
Shammi Kapoor beech mein kaise aa gaya? (How did Shammi Kapoor
land in between?) Since I was just a nobody at that stage, no
one had bothered to associate my name with Madhu’s.’
‘She was very much
in love with Dilip Kumar, so was he with her. I remember during
the making of Naqab at Prabhat Talkies in Poona, he would often
drive to the location all the way from Bombay to see her.
If she was
shooting, he would stand at a distance outside the ‘field’
of the camera and single-mindedly watch her perform
without disturbing her.’
Madhubala and Shammi Kapoor in their last film together,
Boy Friend (1961).
PHOTOS COURTESY OF: REDIFF.COM.
‘I must admit,
in spite of knowing that Madhu was already in love, I
could not resist falling madly in love with her. No one
can blame me for it.
after meeting so many women and having had relationships
with God knows how many, I can swear that I have never
seen a more beautiful woman.
‘Add to that
her sharp intellect, maturity, poise and sensitivity. She
was awesome.’ (Shammi was speaking to Rauf Ahmed in early
2011, a few months before his demise.)
nostalgic about Madhubala, he wondered ‘why women like
Madhubala don’t happen anymore?’
After a pause,
‘When I think of her even now, after six decades, my heart
misses a beat.
‘My God, what
beauty. What presence. Today’s girls make me feel they
might have just hopped out of incubators.’
After another pause,
he had said, ‘I think life was a bit too harsh on her. She
didn’t deserve to go through all that she did.’
Saira Banu and Shammi Kapoor in Junglee (1961).
He had even
proposed marriage to Madhubala. When she had giggled it
off, he was said to have gone home and cried in front of
his mother, only to be snubbed by her.
‘Are you in
your senses? You can’t marry her, she is a Muslim. There
will be too many problems,’ she had warned him tersely.
Those were conservative days.
blissfully relishing the attention the tall, stylish,
irresistibly handsome young man was lavishing on her,
Madhubala had turned pragmatic and made him see reason.
‘To be fair to
Madhu,’ Shammi had admitted, ‘even though she kept teasing
and tantalising me, she never let me forget that she was
madly in love with Yusuf (Dilip Kumar).
never resist mentioning Yusuf at the slightest
opportunity. She seemed to feel motherly towards me.’
had signed on Jeevan Jyoti first, P N Arora’s Rail Ka
Dibba had gone on the floor ahead of it, as if it was
ordained that his career should start with Madhubala.
In fact, the first
ever film Shammi had signed was his friend Aspi Irani’s Hum Tum
Aur Woh opposite Madhubala.
Kalpana Mohan and Shammi Kapoor in Professor (1962).