As Tanuja turns 78 on Thursday, age has failed to fade the sparkle in her eyes and her characteristic blunt intellect, those two symptoms Daughter Kajol seems to have inherited. This witty actor has worked in various film industries in India, starred in various films like Jewel Thief and Teen Bhuvaner Pare and has yet to take her career as a competitive exercise … Your Rat Race. For her she is connecting with her colleagues on a genius and human level and having fun doing it. Perhaps she was listening to a lot of fun describing her experiences — Vinod Khanna, not ‘Altu-Fault’, ‘Besharam’ Dharmendra eventually became her Rakhi brother and met Amitabh Bachchan while dancing at a club with his then girlfriend.
Recalling her life and co-stars in her own style, Tanuja remembered How she befriended Dharmendra and also met his wife Prakash Kaur. But, the day the actor tried to flirt with her, she first slapped him and then, at his insistence, tied Rakhi to his wrist and made him his brother. “We are shooting for Dulal Guha’s Chand Sura Suraj. Me and Dharam’s friends are drinking and having a lot of fun. He also introduced me to his wife Prakash. Sunny (Deol) was only five years old at the time, his daughter Lali was six months old,” he said. Explained to Filmfare in his previous interview.
She said, “One day he tried to flirt with me. Avakkai, I slapped him and said, ‘Besharam! I know your wife and you have the courage to flirt with me ‘. Ashamed, ‘He, Mary Ma, sorry Bolta Hoon! Please make me your brother ‘After much persuasion, she “took a black thread and tied it around his wrist.”
Along with Dharmendra, Tanuja shared a friendly relationship with actors Vinod Khanna, Sanjeev Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan. With Khanna, she shared the screen in the 1974 film Intihan and praised his intelligence. She shared, “He’s not Altu Fault, he didn’t speak the worst. Conversing with a co-star who is emotionally equal to you is satisfying. Khanna, who had been battling cancer for many years, died in 2017.
For Tanuja, her Anubhav (1971) co-star Sanjeev Kumar was “Sita-Sadhana, Sensitive Soul” and “Wonderful Actor”. Recalling how she tries to match his acting, the veteran star said, “If he scores 20 in a scene I’ll try and get to 21.”
Tanuja was Amitabh Bachchan ‘s first heroine in Ravikant Nagaich’s Pyar Ki Kahani (1971), and she first met his first girlfriend and model Sheila Jones at a club in Taj. In her first meeting, she asked, “Why don’t you join the movies?” He replied, ‘I came here to join the movies’.
Tanuja, the daughter of former actor Shobhana Samarth, sister of actor Nutan and wife of filmmaker Shomu Mukherjee, has a fantastic career not only in Hindi cinema but also in Bengali and Marathi films. Now, her daughter Kajol is carrying her mother’s legacy forward in film.