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My Most Embarrassing Moment – by Motilal (1962)

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I have often been embarrassed; mostly on the sets of films I have worked in. One such embarrassing moment which I particularly recall involved Nargis and myself.

It was on the set of “Taqdeer,” which, incidentally, was Nargis’s first film. I, who was older than her, played the romantic lead with her. I remember the day Nargis came to the shooting of the film wearing high-heeled sandals (she could hardly manage to reach my shoulder), with proper make-up and costume.

It was a romantic scene and I had put myself in the right mood to enact it to the best of my ability. And I must say that Nargis, looking pretty as a picture, was inspiration enough. I imagined her as my ‘beloved’ and rehearsed the dialogue with her before facing the camera. We had one rehearsal; then another and still another till the director was satisfied.

Just before the final ‘take’ Nargis came up to me and asked: “Moti ‘Bhaiya’ (brother), am I doing all right?” She was doing fine. But poor me, I found my inspiration had vanished. That “bhaiya” put me off-color. I just couldn’t enact the scene. I had prepared myself as a lover would. I still tried to whisper the lover’s sweet nothings into her ears as required by the script, but the word “bhaiya” kept ringing in my ears and for quite some time I couldn’t face the camera.

No doubt, Nargis is like my sister. But I’d much rather she hadn’t called me her brother, particularly when I had to act her lover.

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