Mumbai, Aug 18 (IANS) Late legend Shammi Kapoor’s son Aditya Raj Kapoor says his father
“wrote the manual for our future generations” but yet he would like to be compared to his mother Geeta Bali for his acting.
“At the age of 76 he played my career guide and mentor. My father allowed me to go where I wanted away from home and do whatever I wished. Today, I’ve allowed both my children the same freedom. My father wrote the manual for our future generations,” said Aditya.
“Nothing can compare with my father. I recently told my dad I look, walk and talk like him. But for my acting I want to be compared with my mother. I can only try to be a good human being. Besides that I want to build a memorial for my parents. My first mother grew up in penury and died before she could enjoy a good life. Today my parents are united.”
Shammi Kapoor, known for hits like “Dil Deke Dekho” and “Teesri Manzil”, died Monday after kidney failure.
Aditya fondly remembers his father as someone who allowed him to chart out his own life and says that he followed his dad’s footsteps by letting his children chase their dreams.
“There’s a black-and-white photograph we put up for the chautha. That’s the first picture I remember of my dad taken when we moved into the house where I now live. We moved in when I was three years old after his first flush of success with the release of ‘Tumsa Nahin Dekha’. Looking at that photograph, I remembered how much fun I had going for the shooting with him,” said Aditya.
“When I was driving down to the cremation ground with his body, people had put his songs on loudspeakers. ‘Chahe mujhe koi junglee kahe’ was being played for the final send-off.
“People peeped into the ambulance, threw flowers inside and said, ‘Yahoo.’ I realised my father’s mantra only after he died. Shammiji ka mantra Yahoo tha. At that moment I had the full and complete realization of what it meant to be Shammi Kapoor’s son,” he added.
Aditya was sent to Lawrence School in Sanawar when he was only six-year-old.
“Dad came every year for the Founders Day. Pran saab and Sunil Dutt saab also came because their children were also there. Sanju and Pran saab’s daughter Pinky in fact came to meet me yesterday. Pinky was my local guardian-sister in Sanawar. When I wanted more money, I had to take her permission.
“My mother Geeta Bali, an almost-uneducated woman, came to see me at boarding school more often than my father. My mother had given up her career and my father’s had just started. So she had more time to visit me. My mother was the original Sridevi. She passed away when I was 9.”
Those were not easy years for Aditya.
“Mom was gone. Dad had become so successful he had no time for me. Superstars today have organised lives. In my father’s time, fans used to barge into our home at any time. I was left with no space that I could call my own with my father,” said Aditya who gives credit to his step mom Neela Devi for putting his life on track.
“She (Neela Devi) devoted her life to my father, decided not to have any children of her own because me and my sister were already there. Neela Devi was the best bandage on my tender wounds. She turned me from a wounded anguished rebellious howling animal to a human being.”
Aditya never stopped missing Geeta Bali, though.
“My first and second mothers were different persons. Do you know, my second mother was a fan of Shammi Kapoor and Geeta Bali. She once went for an autograph. Geetaji wrote, ‘Remember ‘M’ remember ‘E’, put them together and remember ‘Me’. Geetaji almost blessed Neela Devi as though she knew what was going to happen.
“Geetaji was very adventurous. She was the only woman in the word who could punch my dad and get away with it. She is the one who made Shammi Kapoor into a star. Before Geetaji, Shammi Kapoor was under the shadows of his father Prithiviraj Kapoor and his brother Raj Kapoor.”
Geeta Bali’s end came all of a sudden.
“My mother was gone in just 15 days. She had gone on location in rural Punjab where she contracted smallpox. It was for a film called ‘Rano’, which was later made with Rishi Kapoor and Hema Malini as ‘Ek Chadar Mali Si’. At that time Dharmendra was playing Rishi’s role and Mummy was playing Hema’s role. Then she fell ill. My father left his shooting and picked both of us up. She got worse and died. Dad was doing ‘Teesri Manzil’ when she died.”
The death of his mother scarred Aditya for life.
“It took my second mother a good 10 years to heal me of that loss. By the time I was 17. I was a rebel without a cause. I was going to make my film debut. Then I found my spiritual guru and he told me – Leave The Film Industry’. I left. My father questioned my decision over and over again. But I was adamant.
He worked with shipping magnate Yogendra Madhav Lal and then Rajan Nanda.
“Then I started my own company. For 25 years, I never looked at cinema, stopped seeing films… After my Guruji’s death too I didn’t look at the film industry. Only after I migrated to Dubai did I return to movies. Circumstances forced me to direct 300 episodes of a TV serial. I directed my first English-language film, followed by two other films. Then I returned to Mumbai at the age of 52, I became an actor…finally.”