Actress Shammi passes away at 89, Asha Parekh breaks down


Veteran actress Shammi passed away on Tuesday morning. She was 89. Asha Parekh, who shared a great rapport with Shammi was inconsolable at her funeral. Asha Parekh and Shammi were thick friends for 50 years and they shared each other’s happiness and sorrow.

“I haven’t wept so much since I lost my parents. I called her Shammi Aunty. She was much older than me. But we were best friends for years. She shared everything with me. It was a natural-born trait in her to win people’s confidence.

“She was close to many actresses who poured their heart out to her. With me, it was special. We had spent decades together. She was my closest friend, confidante and, after my parents’ death, a guardian angel. Now she’s gone”, Asha Parekh said with sombre voice.  

Rakhee who worked with Shammi in ‘Pighalta Aasman’ said, “Shammi Aunty taught me how to laugh out. To not hold back my laughter. You see, as girls we were always taught not to laugh loudly. Shammi Aunty made me realise there was nothing unwomanly about loud laughter. She made my happiness come out of my throat.”

Asha recalled: “I did Sultan Ahmed saab’s ‘Heera’ only because of Shammi Aunty. The laughter stopped when she was about 80. The last 8-9 years of Shammi Aunty’s life were miserable. Her health was failing. And she often had no domestic help. She would come and stay with me. We couldn’t share as much laughter as we did earlier since her hearing faculties were affected.”

“Mujhe comedy mein bada maza aata hai. Main hoon hi waisi,” Shammi had once told.

“I want to continue acting. It’s the only thing I know how to do. But movie offers have stopped coming for a while. I was doing television. But that too dwindled lately. So I was sitting idle. At my age, to be workless is to be worthless. Lekin main aaj tak kabhi kissi se kaam maangne nahin gayi (I never went to anyone to ask for work).

“Why should I do so now? I am happy getting what comes to me. And grateful to God I still get work. He has been very kind to me. Otherwise, why would I still be getting work? It is unimaginable for me to be not working. Boman Irani once asked me how many films I had done. I had no clue! Recently someone Googled on me and found out I had done nearly 200 films. I was amazed. When did I do all these films? Time just flew by!”, she once said.

Shammiji was very jovial on and off-screen and made people laugh. She was last seen in Bela Segal’s ‘Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi’.

Heartiest condolence. May her soul rest in peace!

shammi