Silloo Manekshaw (1911-2001) was an Indian artist and painter, known for being the wife of the late Indian Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw.
Silloo Bode was born in 1911 (age 90 years; at the time of death) in Amritsar, Punjab. She obtained her graduate degree at Elphinstone College in Mumbai. She then pursued higher education at Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai. Mumbai Mirror
Height (approx.): 5′ 5″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Not much is known about her parents. Silloo Bode had a sister who used to live in Lahore, Pakistan, and her brother-in-law was a doctor in the British Indian Army.
Husband & Children
On 22 April 1939, Silloo Bode got married to Sam Manekshaw, the first Army Chief to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. Sam died in 2008.
Her granddaughter, Brandy Batliwala, lives in New York and works in the hospitality sector.
In 1937, during a social event in Lahore, Sam Manekshaw met Silloo Bode, and they developed a romantic relationship and tied the knot in 1939.
As an Army officer’s wife, Silloo Manekshaw prioritized the welfare of Coonoor’s local community in Tamil Nadu. She notably founded a charitable clinic for the underprivileged and directed plays at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. Silloo used Sam’s reputation to attain financial support from across India for community well-being and also sold her paintings to raise funds.
- During the 1950s, Silloo and Sam Manekshaw were often seen attending Bollywood parties.
- According to Sam Manekshaw, Silloo was both his ardent supporter and his harshest critic. In a media interview, Sam’s elder daughter, Sherry Batliwala, narrated that her mother, Silloo, was a strict wife. She said,
She would remind him that he came from a middle-class family in Amritsar. ‘They would venerate you today, but tomorrow when you are no longer the field marshal or the director of a company, you would be a nobody,’ she would warn him. I think that kept him a little focused also.”
- Silloo Manekshaw was an avid reader, a talented painter, and an intelligent conversationalist, as per her daughters.
- Sherry Batliwala once narrated about Silloo’s room and wardrobe at their bungalow ‘Stavka’ in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. Silloo’s room at ‘Stavka’ had beautiful pink and blue decorations. She had the largest wardrobe and dressing room, extending from wall to wall and floor to ceiling.
- According to her granddaughter, Brandy Batliwala, Silloo was the one who designed their house. She also created paintings that decorated various parts of it.
- She loved music and used to listen to Western classical music every morning.
- The Hindi-language biographical war drama film, ‘SAMबहादुर,’ based on the life of India’s first field marshal, Sam Manekshaw, was released on 1 December 2023. Silloo Manekshaw, portrayed by Indian actress Sanya Malhotra, is a significant character in the film.