Published By: Shrishti Negi

Last Updated: April 27, 2023, 10:24 IST

Shammi Kapoor’s wife Neila Devi recalls his romance with first wife Geeta Bali.

Shammi Kapoor and Geeta Bali’s marriage saw an unfortunate end when the latter passed away at the age of 35 due to smallpox.

Renowned actor Shammi Kapoor was known for his lavish lifestyle and his affection for Geeta Bali, whom he eventually married in 1955. However, their happiness was short-lived, as Geeta passed away in 1965 due to smallpox, which left the actor shattered and took him a considerable amount of time to recover from the tragedy. Later, on June 27, 1969, Shammi married Neila Devi secretly at his residence on Nepean Sea Road. In a recent interview, Neila shared details of Shammi’s bond with Geeta and how he coped with her demise.

During an interview with ETimes, Neila revealed that her initial memory of Shammi and Geeta as a pair was when she would witness them racing their convertible cars, and she was fond of them as a couple. Before Shammi proposed to Neila, he disclosed everything about Geeta to her. Neila recollected that Geeta and Shammi’s marriage lasted only 8-9 years, and her sudden death was a significant shock to him. She recalled that Shammi stayed with Raj Kapoor and was taken care of by Krishna Kapoor for six months.

Neila Devi described Geeta Bali as a “very mature person” who comprehended Shammi Kapoor’s needs and encouraged him to succeed. Neila reminisced about Geeta and Shammi’s first meeting in Mumbai, which occurred after Shammi’s split with Nutan. The meeting took place in Mumbai, possibly during Shammi’s recovery from the breakup with Nutan. According to Neila, both Geeta and Shammi were fond of singing, which helped them bond, and they also shared a great sense of humour.

Neila also recounted a story that Shammi had told her. “He was shooting for Rangeen Raatein in Ranikhet. She (Geeta Bali) didn’t have any role there but to be with him, she said I’ll play a boy’s role in the film. The heroine was Mala Sinha and that’s where they fell in love. For a while it went on, till she said yes to him,” she shared. Eventually, after Shammi proposed to Geeta, they tied the knot in the middle of the night.

Neila Devi shared that Shammi Kapoor abstained from consuming alcohol for 21 days every year, from January 1 to January 21, in memory of Geeta Bali. Geeta Bali became sick on the 1st of January and died on the 21st of the same month.

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