“When my name accidentally appeared in the credits of Ek Duuje Ke Liye as Shobha instead of Shubha, I told LV Prasad the film was flopping and he immediately remembered the title cards and changed the name to Shubha in all of the films.” SHUBHA KHOTE yells JYOTHI VENKATESH
Shubha Khote is 85 years old and has a sharp memory and a witty tongue. When I land in her spacious, four-story bungalow in Juhu at the beginning, she tells me: “I’m not tired yet or I’m retired. I didn’t die either. I am now ready to stage my next play Kitne Admi. You, I don’t want to be called a legend or to be awarded a lifetime achievement award because I’m alive and still working around the clock. “
Today we wish the legendary actress a happy 85th birthday. Shubha Khote began her illustrious and long journey 66 years ago, on December 8, 1955, with Ameya Chakravorty’s film Seema. “My role in Seema was extremely popular and overnight I became a star to reckon with and touched Katha,” she giggles and offers me hot coffee, which she made on a coffee machine installed in her house.
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Did you get the break as an actress very easily or did you have to fight for it? I ask them. Pat replies: “I was cycling world champion back then and when my pictures were published in the newspapers I got my break on a plate and I wasn’t asked to audition at all. In any case, I was a child star from the age of 5 on the marathi stage. My father Nandu Khote was both an actor and a director during the silent film era and had played on stage with followers like David and Jagirdar. I was already confident on stage and in films it helped that I had actors like Balraj Sahani and Nutan, who became good friends to me. The only downside is that I couldn’t continue my education and get my BA because I was very busy with my film engagements. “
It’s interesting to note that at a time when every other actress wanted to be a heroine in movies, Shubha didn’t really want to be a heroine, just wanted to be a character artist and specialize in comedy roles. “I didn’t want to play the glamorous heroine because I didn’t just want to look beautiful and run around the trees with the hero. Even today there are no female comedians in films. Ametya Sir always told me that my timing was always perfect and that I should only play comedy roles. “
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Shubha admits she played the vampire in both Paying Guest and Ek Duuje Ke Liye. “I didn’t want to play the vampire in Paying Guest, where I played a girl who was both rich and glamorous. I hated myself for being a part of the movie with Dev Anand as the vampire I didn’t even do to see the movie in almost two years. I had no alternative but to star in this film as it was produced by Filmistan, who signed me on a two-film deal. I played with them in both Paying Guest and Champakali.
Interestingly, although Shubha Khote was born a Maharashtrian and baptized Shubhangi, Ameya Chakravorty introduced her at Seema when Shubha Khote and the Marathi film producers felt that Shubha Khote, as a star from Bollywood, was going to have tantrums and therefore not herself approached to work in Marathi films. “Not many are aware of the fact that I haven’t only starred in four Marathi films, including Shubh Mangal, directed by Anant Mane, in which I played the real suffering helpless heroine I played in college before I broke with Seema but also produced and directed a film in Marathi called Chimukale Pahune. It didn’t get released properly and flopped when it was released but I was blown away to receive many phone calls the day it aired on Mumbai Doordarshan. Ramesh Deo, my younger brother Viju Khote, and I starred in the 1968 film. It was in black and white and, believe it or not, only cost me a couple of rupees. “
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According to Shubha, her ten best films to date are Seema, Gharana, Bharosa, Ek Duuje Ke Liye, Dekh Kabeera Roya, Paying Guest, Grahasti, Barkha and Toilet Ek Prem Katha. Shobha admires Nandlal Jaswantlal, Mahesh Kaul, Hemen Gupta, Ameya Chakravorty and K Balachander in the directors’ previous lots and Rajkumar Hirani, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Anurag Basu among the current lots, and says she hadn’t worked with any of the current lots to date she would be happy to be a part of her films.
Shubha Khote was appalled when Ek Duuje Ke Liye’s credit titles read her name as Shobha Khote instead of Shubha Khote, despite starring with LV Prasad’s banner in three films – Sasural, Beti Bete and Choti Behen. Shubha wasn’t a word-hacking person, Prasad said the film was guaranteed to flop if her name was mistakenly shown as Shobha instead of Shubha in the credit titles. Overnight, LV Prasad recalled the title cards and changed them to all prints by Ek Duuje Ke Liye. “If someone calls me and asks for Shobhaji instead of Shubhaji, I angrily say that Shobha is not in the house. Shubha sighs: “I wish I had kept my original name Shubhangi instead of having Ameyaji change my name from Shubhangi to Shubha”.
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If you enjoyed Shubha’s role as the possessive mother of Rati Agnihotri trying everything possible to prevent her daughter Kamal Haasan from marrying, you must attribute it to Shubha’s real mother. Shubha shyly and hesitantly remembered the days when her mother disliked her getting married and tried her best to keep her daughter from marrying the man of her choice. Today Shubha Khote and her husband Dinesh Balsaver, who is interested in organic farming, are the happy parents of two sons Nandu Balsaver and Ashwin Balsaver and an actress daughter like Bhavana Balsaver and son-in-law actor Karan Shah, who made his debut with Jawani and co-produced films like Baby, Rustom, Naam Shabana and also toilet Ek Prem Katha.
Although Shubha admits that she is always ready when it comes to work, she is not ready to work in TV series as they are filmed on Mira Road, Naigaon or Vasai Road and she feels that traveling wears her out. At the moment she has just finished filming two commercials (“I find modeling very easy because they don’t expect expressions from models”) and is busy directing her play Kitne Aadmi They and has no film or TV series on hand . The reason she hasn’t seen in films these days is because she doesn’t want to play small roles in films, especially when “my age my roles are not easy to come by”.
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Shubha recalls that she and Mehmood had great camaraderie and called each other bhai. “Most of the time, Dhumal, Mehmood and I were shooting for our separate comedy track that ran parallel to the story of the film. Although the situations were funnily similar and stereotypical and we spoke the same lines as parrots, we wore different costumes for the scenes. I got on well with both of them because we got along and were able to improvise. It is thanks to Bhai that I had the chance to work with the man I still adore today – Dilip Kumar, who I shot a pass shot with for Sadhu Aur Shaitan while sitting in a taxi with a corpse, and Dilip Kumar and Mumtaz were seen walking on the street. “