Bollywood marriage going strong at 72 years - and counting

March 4th, 2008 - 10:16 am ICT by admin  

Mumbai, March 4 (IANS) In the make-believe world of fickle love, a Bollywood producer-director has scripted the longest-running family love story. Chandrashekhar, of the 1959 “Cha Cha Cha” fame, and his wife Pushpa Devi, have just celebrated their 72nd marriage anniversary. Chandrashekhar, who popularised the ‘cha cha cha’ dance in the film he produced and also starred in along with Helen, married Pushpa Devi when he was 14 and she 11. Though it was a child marriage, the union has lasted for seven decades and more.

But then veteran actor, producer, writer, director, trade unionist and social activist Chandrashekhar has always been an unusual man, who literally grew up in the film industry, starting his career in movies in 1941 as a teenager from Hyderabad.

In the last 67 years, he has seen the industry grow from a small cluster of studios to the massive Bollywood that it has become today.

Following the movie’s release, Chandrashekhar, who had been trained in western dance, became a craze in India.

His popularity is still intact.

Four generations of the family celebrated the anniversary on March 1 at their Andheri home in northwest Mumbai.

The occasion was unique because the invitees this year included only staff members of Bollywood’s different craft associations in which Chandrashekhar has been involved in some capacity or the other since he pioneered the film industry’s first association of artistes in 1953.

On the occasion of their marriage anniversary, Chandrashekhar and his wife offered indigent members of the staff an unspecified amount as “chandla” (money given as gift) to spend on their daughters’ weddings.

The couple’s gesture touched the staff members. Some of them accepted the ‘gift’ with tears in their eyes.

Besides acting in movies and producing a few like “Street Singer”, Chandrashekhar assisted legendary Bollywood directors like V. Shantaram, Hemant Gupte, B.K. Sagar and Pandit Bharat Vyas.

At 85, he is still busy as bee, though not in movies any more.

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