Simple Kapadia

Simple Kapadia – Interview

“Anurodh” is complete and awaiting release. And Simple Kapadia is keeping her fingers crossed — “like a student who has worked hard for his exams and is awaiting results, expect­ant, confident, yet nervous.” When the film is released Sim­ple’s performance is bound to be compared with that of her sister Dimple in “Bobby.” Dimple had the definite advantage of her good looks. Simple seems con­fident of her talent and “beyond a point it wouldn’t bother me.”

Luckily for her, her career be­gan on an enviable note, with Shakti Samanta as her first director, and Rajesh Khanna as her leading man. “I owe my career to Shaktida,” Simple ac­knowledged with gratitude, “I was so raw when I started shooting for him, that I am sure after the first schedule any other director would have check­ed me off the cast. But Shaktida helped me a lot—never once did he let me feel that I wasn’t upto the mark. He avoided telling me frequently, lest I lost my con­fidence.”

“She isn’t very beautiful,” – Shakti Samanta said about his new leading lady. “But I am sure she will make it up with her acting ability.” Three years ago—much before Rajesh Khan­na and Dimple were married – ­Shakti spotted Simple at a party chatting and giggling away with her friends. “There was something about her,” the director said, “And I felt she suited the role I had in mind for a film.” He asked her if she was interested in a film career but Simple hadn’t made up her mind, then. Shakti has decided to cast Simple in his forthcoming film also.

Never having faced a movie camera — she did have a long drawn out training programme in acting under FTII graduate Asha Chandra, who has trained several other newcomers including Dimple and Rishi Kapoor. Simple had to face problems initially. “I was quite tensed up,” she said, “And after a few shots I realized I was frowning in close-ups”.

How was it working with brother-in-law Rajesh? “Before I started actual shooting with him I had thought it would be a great moral support to have somebody known to you,” Simple smiled. “But
then I found I was quite nervous, probably with the thought that I was acting opposite a far more experienced actor. Kaka was very helpful, but then I sensed he too wasn’t feeling comfortable coming and telling me how to do the scene if I made a mistake.”

In the film, she plays an ill- tempered daughter of a rich man—”some places it was very much like me in real  life. It isn’t easy to portray yourself.”

By contrast, playing a doctor’s role in “Chakravyuh” didn’t pose any problems. Simple again co-stars with Rajesh and is directed by Basu Chatterji. Another interesting role Simple has is in “Bin Baap ka Beta,” in which she is teamed with Palekar. It’s a light comedy role. In “Yaari Ho Gayi Yaar Se”, Simple’s leading man is Shashi Kapoor; in “Shaaka” she has Jeetendra playing the title role, while she herself plays the role from “Girl on a Motorbike”.

As a kid, Simple recalled, she hated to see films. The first film she saw was “Man ka Meet” and she had been “literally dragged” there and Simple had howled throughout the film. But for Dimple’s sudden popularity after “Bobby” she wouldn’t have thought of coming into films, Simple said.

She didn’t have much of an education, father Chunibhai Kapadia said. They had to recall her from school in Kodaikanal because she was creating problems and the school authorities had written to the parents. In any case Simple wasn’t a bright student, nor was she keen on continuing her schooling. Dimple had already made a name for herself and he allowed Simple to do a film just to keep her occupied. “She still has a little bachpana” the father said, “otherwise she’s not bad. If she only takes her career seriously, she will be miles ahead of other newcomers.”

Getting a break in Shakti Sa­inanta’s films had initially pro­voked snide remarks from many: “It’s all a ghar ka mamla. Imagine, with her ordinary looks, when better looking, more talented girls are slogging.” Simple insists Shakti Samanta offered her a role much before Rajesh became her brother-in-law. She did have edge over the other newcomers and as forher looks, Simple isn’t the only girl with “ordinary” looks. Sha­bana isn’t exactly a beauty queen, but she is one of the most sought after actresses. There are already encouraging reports about Simple’s acting in “Anurodh”, and directors of her forthcoming films like Mukul Dutt find her “an extremely good artiste.”

What was her ambition as an actress? we asked. Simple thought it over and said, “I would love to be able to repeat the success of Dimple. But then it’s not now in my hands. All that I would like is to be known as a good actress, and not as Dimple’s sister or Rajesh Khanna’s sis-in-law.”

And what if you flop as an actress? we asked. “As I have already said, I wouldn’t be bothered beyond a point. I can always get married and settle down.” (Simple Kapadia interviewed by A. A. Khatib in 1977).