When Shammi Kapoor's Wife Geeta Bali Lost the Battle To Small Pox - Blast from the Past
Geeta Bali, one of the most ebullient actresses of Bollywood in the past had met with a tragic end
Long before the Coronavirus, there was the pox. It was the killer contagious disease of the 1950s and 60s and it spared no one. Not even the ebullient Geeta Bali who was the original Sridevi…perky, ebullient, bubbly, efferevescent, Geeta lost her life at 35. “All of a sudden she was gone,” her son Aditya Roy Kapoor recalls. Aditya is the son of Shammi Kapoor and Geeta Bali.
Recalling the painful and sudden death of his mother, Aditya added, “My mother was gone in just 15 days. I 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 and titled Ek Chadar Maili Si. At that time Dharmendra was playing Rishi’s role and Mummy was playing Hema’s role. My mom had picked me up from boarding school and taken me to the location.I spent the whole month with her. Then she fell ill. My father left his own shoot and picked both of us up. Her condition got worse and finally she died. Dad was doing Teesri Manzil at that time.”
Asha Parekh who starred with Shammi Kapoor in Teesri Manzil recalls the time when Shammi came back to the shooting after his wife’s death. “The entire shooting was shrouded in a pall of gloom. We didn’t feel like shooting. But the show had to go on.The first thing we shot when Shammi Chacha came back was the soberest song of Teesri Manzil, Tumne mujhe dekha hokar meherbaan which required no dancing.”
Adds Aditya Raj Kapoor, “My mother Geeta Bali an almost-uneducated woman, came to see me at the 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.The whole boarding school wept with me. She used to mother all my friends.”