Friday Flashback: Shammi Kapoor and Geeta Bali's Romance Was a Bitter-Sweet Fairy Tale
Those who are familiar with the glorious past of Hindi cinema will surely agree that in the 1960’s Shammi Kapoor had managed to find firm footing in the industry thanks to his suave looks, stylish demeanor, and of course gripping personality. Moreover, his onscreen mannerisms had kind of made him a trendsetter in every sense of the word. Interestingly, his personal life was just as heartwarming as his numerous onscreen avatars. And the main reason behind this was his passionate affair and subsequent marriage with Geeta Bali. Today, let us relive how Geeta touched the life and heart of the man who made the world go ‘Yahoo’.
This passionate yet untold romantic saga began in 1955 when Shammi and Geeta worked together in a film titled Rangeen Raatein. While shooting for it in Ranikhet ( a hill station) the two spent a lot of time together and soon fell in love. One of the main reasons they were able to hit it off instantly was the strong similarity in their natures.
”I loved hill stations and the folk music goes on with it . So did Geeta. We had a lot in common. We got to share these mutual admirations of nature. Soon I fell in love with her and she fell in love with me,” Shammi once stated in an interview. Shortly after returning to Mumbai, Shammi asked Geeta to tie the knot with him. However, much to his surprise, she turned down the proposal. Her reluctance to tie the knot can be attributed to the fact that she was the sole bread earner of her family. Moreover, she was extremely close to her father. Luckily, for the ‘Brahmachari’ star , Geeta changed her mind a few months after their first meeting and agreed to marry him. However, she had one condition. And that was that the marriage had to happen almost immediately.
On the suggestion of his friend Johnny Walker, Shammi decided to get married at a temple. The lovebirds reached a temple at night. However, the priest told them that the ceremonies would be performed only after four in the morning. After the temple reopened, the two became man and wife. Interestingly, the marriage too had a nice filmy touch to it. According to their son Aditya Raj Kapoor, Shammi put red lipstick rather than sindoor in her maang. And hence, began what Shammi once called the best phase of his life. Nearly a year later their son Aditya was born. His birth added a new dimension to this relationship and strengthened it even further. Just a few years later, Shammi received some good news on the professional front when Junglee became a runaway hit, making him a star. In some ways, it can be said that Geeta’s strong personality had affected Shammi’s onscreen image and revived his career.
“She contributed a lot to the making of Shammi Kapoor. She gave him his confidence and his personality. If you see the way Shammiji danced... that was Geeta Bali's personality,” Aditya stated in an interview given to Rediff. Besides being a pillar of support, she was also a very caring mother. As such, she pushed her children to strive for excellence. “She was very pushy; she wanted me to learn singing and fine arts because she did not have that kind of background,” Aditya recalled in an interview.
Interestingly, her personal commitments did not affect her career. She continued acting even after marriage. And ironically it was during one of her professional commitments that she contracted small pox. “I was with my mother in the last month of her life, when she was shooting in Punjab for Ek Chadar Maili Si, directed by Rajinder Bedi,” Aditya stated in an interview. Unfortunately, she died on January 21,1965 merely 15 days after picking up the disease. As expected, her untimely death left Shammi heartbroken. “At that time, I was on top of the world. I had Teesri Manzil on the floor, great wonderful success behind me, good pictures on hand. And then this happened. It was like a mooring cut off from me. I went haywire. Those four years were very bad years for me, despite the fact that I had success. I went…berserk is the right word,” Shammi once said while recalling the loss.
All in all, we can safely say that they were truly made for each other. Even though Shammi and Geeta were together for merely 10 years, his passion for her was so strong that it remained undiminished even years after her death. Perhaps that is why, shortly after Shammi’s death in 2011, their son said that he would have been happy to be with her again. Maybe true love does indeed last forever.