Failing health and difficulty in hearing hasn't taken away the spirit of veteran actress Shammi, popularly known as Shammi Aunty. At 83, she is still eager to work and feels being workless is like being worthless.
The actress was recently seen in Bela Sehgal's Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi as Boman Irani's doting grandmother and is basking in the attention she is getting after the release of the film.
"I want to continue acting. It's the only thing I know how to do. But movie offers had stopped coming for a while. I was doing television. But that too dwindled lately. So I was sitting idle," said Ms Shammi.
"At my age to be workless is to be worthless. Lekin main aaj tak kabhi kissi se kaam maangne nahin gayi (I never went to anyone to ask for work). Why should I do so now? I am happy getting what comes to me. And I am grateful to god that I still get work. It isn't a major role in Shirin Farhad..., but it was great fun shooting the film," she said.
Shammi Aunty feels Sehgal's offer was godsent and she instantly grabbed it.
"One day I got a call from Bela. She said she was doing a film about the Parsi community with Parsi actors, and if I would play Boman Irani's grandmother? She said, 'Please don't say no'. Why would I say no to such an offer? I greedily grabbed it," she recalls.
The actress says she had a lot of fun shooting for the film, especially with Boman.
"He is relatively new in movies, so I had never worked with him. He was so wonderful. He kept saying he was happy to work with me. Most of my scenes in the film were with Boman. We had great fun shooting together," she said.
"I didn't have too many scenes with Farah Khan. But I've known her from her childhood. As for Daisy Irani, who plays my daughter-in-law, I was in her first film Bandish in 1955, when she played Meena Kumari's little son. I remember she would come running into Meena's lap after every shot at R.K. Studios," she added.
However, that's not all, Shammi Aunty has already finished working in another film directed by Pavan Kaul. She says she considers herself lucky to be working at this age.
"It's God's work. He has been very kind to me. Otherwise why would I still be getting work? It is unimaginable for me to be not working. Boman asked me how many films I had done. I had no clue! Recently someone googled on me and found out I had done nearly 200 films. I was amazed. When did I do all these films?! Time just flew by!"
Nowadays, Shammi Aunty stays with her best friend and yesteryear actress Asha Parekh as the former has no domestic help in her own house. "But no complaints. I am happy to be still healthy and doing what I love."