He has turned 98 today and is going to celebrate his birthday by throwing a virtual party today at night. The most senior person alive in the Indian film industry and definitely kicking by the grace of God. Yes, senior then the thespian Dilip Kumar… Wanna know who is this gentleman having such incredible zest for life and is ruled by goodness of love, hope and positivity?!!
Meet the actor, dancer, filmmaker and activist Chandrashekhar who rings his 98th birthday today amidst this Corona Covid 19 scare and lockdown with all the excitement and fun.
At 98 but still enthusiastic like a kid, Chandrashekhar is one of those rare breed of a dancer, actor, filmmaker and reader. The man who started as a junior artiste became a filmmaker, gave break to a diva like Helen as a heroine and continued to serve the industry in his position as the president of Cine Artiste Association ( CINTAA) for record number of years and remained in important positions in other important trade bodies of the industry.
Chandrashekar is instrumental in bringing the legendary Helen into limelight. Helen made her debut as a lead heroine in the 1964 musical drama CHA CHA CHA produced, directed & acted by Chandrashekhar. Oldies still remember the number Ek Chameli Ke Mandve Tale sung by Asha Bhosle and Mohammad Rafi from the movie.
Born in Hyderabad in 1923, Chandrashekhar popularly known as Chandrashekhar sahab, his fluency in Urdu and Hindi surprised many and due to this, he was advised to try his luck in Hindi cinema as his Telugu was not as per expectations. Starting as a junior artist for around four years, Chandrashekhar did chorus singing for a song sung by Shamshad Begum and the legendary singer’s recommendation made Chandrashekhar get a job in Shalimar Studio, Pune. Fame came when he featured in Bhagwan Hajeley’s ‘Bebus’(1950) that had the first chocolate hero Bharat Bhushan. From here the proximity Between Bharat Bhushan and Chandrashekhar developed. Chandrashekhar established himself as an actor with movies like KAVI (1954), MASTANA (1954), KAALI TOPI LAAL RUMAAL (1959), BARSAAT KI RAAT (1960), BAAT EK RAAT KI (1961), etc.
But the best came in 1664 when he made CHA CHA CHA and Helen got a break as a heroine, Helen was appearing as a dancer till then. Chandrashekhar also made a movie STREET SINGER (1966). But CHA CHA CHA remains unique for its music, dance and melodies by Iqbal Qureshi like ‘Ek Chameli ke Madve Tale’ and ‘Who Hum Na Thein, Who Tum Na Thein’. Later Chandrashekhar mellowed down and did significant character roles in movies like KATI PATANG, MEHBOOBA, NAMAK HALAAL, COOLIE, SHARAABI etc.
Last year when he turned 97, Chandrashekhar had a family affair where four generations of family members gathered to make it a memorable occasion for the legend.
Today due to the lockdown in Mumbai, it is going to be a virtual birthday celebration another historic event in the legend’s life.
The author spoke with his son Ashok Shekhar a known film and television personality involved in production for around four decades who proudly said that “Dad is fine, no heart alignment, no diabetes and the 98-year-old Birthday boy still enjoys a proper seven course meal that starts with soup and ends with a sweet dish.”
The prolific veteran Chandrashekhar who once was very active socially and very much aware of the political situation, today is not able to write those letters which he wrote frequently before (Chandrashekhar use to write to PM, CM, superstars, newcomers, relatives, their children etc, etc). Today, he is very much concerned about the Corona scare and the tremendous loss due to the pandemic especially in the film industry. But he is pinned with hope and very much sure that things will be normal soon if people start understanding their responsibility and take precautions.
Chandrashekhar is concerned about Dilip Kumar and very much sad about the loss of Rishi Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Sushant Singh Rajput, Saroj Khan etc.
A visit to Chandrashekhar’s household beams with nostalgia – you will find trophies, memorials of the golden era and the veteran himself ready to share.
Veterans who frequently visit Chandrashekhar’s house have found memories of those delicious seven course meals and parties, Chandrashekhar sahab is very fond of socialising.
The legacy of Chandrashekhar is carried by his son Ashok and grandsons Shakti Arora (Pavitra Rishta fame TV artiste) and Vishal Shekhar – renowned ad film maker.
His son Ashok dreams of having a gala one-hundred-year celebration of his legendary father, dancer, actor, filmmaker and a gem of a person.
Its 98 today… 2 more to go.. Laagi Chhute Na.. go on cha cha cha!! Chandrashekhar Sahab!!.