Rumours of Vyjantimala Bali's Affair With Raj Kapoor Were His Creation

Gossip about her alleged romance with Raj Kapoor made her quite unhappy as, while the showman enjoyed the subsequent publicity, the media never sought her opinion, says the yesteryears actress Vyjantimala Bali.

"...During and after the release of Sangam, the fact of the matter was that RK was far too enamoured of getting publicity and grab the headlines. And the included the rumours that I was romantically involved with him.

"It was all the manipulative doing of RK banner`s pr drive and unnecessarily this nonsense spread like a wild fire...," she shares in her autobiography, `Bonding...A Memoir`.

"No body from the media bothered to seek my point of view. This was absolutely baseless and made me angry," she writes.

"It hurt him and me in equal measures as like others even his family thought it to be true. But as far as my clean image and reputation was concerned, it remained untouched."

Recalling another such instance she says, as far as publicity of a film was concerned RK was "very self centred". "He would go out of the way to hype it to the hilt, which was good for the film but not for me. The RK bandwagon even went to the extent of saying that I was somehow related to the Maharaja of Mysore. What nonsense!"

Talking of RK`s reputation of being a lady`s man was an outcome his publicity stunt only. "I had observed during those four years of the making Sangam that RK was not obsessed about women, like he was made out to be.

"Of course he had this creative compulsion to depict passionate scenes. But this bit about catering to his image and show that he was always involved with the leading lady of his films was definitely generated by RK Studios` publicity wing.

"A rumour here and there made for juicy stories, which boosted both his image and the prospect of his films." Though she does add, "maybe he did flirt a bit, but that was part of his personality," Vyjantimala says.

In the book she says that at times rumours were spread thinking she belong to a particular camp.

Like one happened when she was shooting for Sangam with RK and leader with Dilip Kumar simultaneously.

"The genesis of this entire scandal (that she belonged to Maharaja of Mysore) was owing to the misconception that I was the Dilip Kumar camp (having worked with him in a series of remarkable films).

"I was oblivious of what the undercurrents between Dilip saab and RK were, but I was told it all got down to dates and led to this battle of wits between the two titans. It was more of an ego tussle."

The actress while talking about women in cinema, says that women today have made great stride by taking more liberties, with such openness, permissiveness and aggressiveness which is being labelled as professionalism.

But, she says there`s no self-restrain and the rare good movies can be counted on the finger tips. "The danger of extreme exposure is being overlooked."

The acclaimed Bharatnatyam exponent strongly criticises indecent gesture in the today`s dances. "I abhor the manner in which male and female actors stoop to crude gestures. It`s appalling. Why don`t our heroines put their foot down? I did so in my time."

Talking of her times, she says that actress in her time commanded huge respected. "We (actresses) had certain amount of discretion, certain dignity in the way we performed and conducted ourself in public. That`s why there`s so much nostalgia for yesteryears," she says.

"Now that respect has been replaced by this syndrome of fifteen minutes of fame, which seems to be most common affliction. So there is a very thin line between fame and infamy," she added.

She says today the industry is male dominated. "The gender bias is so obvious with barely any film being women oriented. Even the Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman has pleaded to script-writers to give actress greater scope to display their histrionics."

The actress-turned-politician, in her book, has talked a range of political issue she took great interest in. Like river interlinking, Cauvery water dispute, demanding status of an industry for films, bidding goodbye to Congress after a long and successful association, etc.

Interestingly, she opposes women`s reservation bill. " If we`re talking of equality of genders, then how can we seek reservation of seat fro women in the parliament? Isn`t that self-contradictory?"

An artiste to the core she justifies objection posed to "a popular and well-known painter" painting where he had painted Goddess Saraswati in nude. "It would obviously hurt the sentiments of a section of society; how can you show the goddess of learning, worshipped by millions in such an obscene manner?" she says adding, "How do you qualify to be a painter if you are so insensitive?"

The actress quit Bollywood at the peak of her career. And despite offers termed as "lifetime" - which included for films like `Deewar` and `Kranti` - she never wanted to beat the retreat.

"There were no regrets," she says. (about the book: "Bonding...A memoir" by Vyjantimala Bali with Jyoti Sabharwal, Stellar Pusblishers, pages 410, price Rs 695)


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