In Tribute: Sadhana (1941-2015)

A strange series of Sadhana-centric coincidences happened over the past fortnight or so. A new reader—a die-hard Sadhana fan—suddenly arrived on my blog, and commented enthusiastically on just about each of the Sadhana film reviews I’d posted. Then in an e-mail exchange with blog reader Neeru, I mentioned to her that my mother used to look astonishingly like Sadhana in her younger days. Sufficiently like Sadhana, in fact, to invite the complete unwelcome attentions of neighbourhood loiterers who would call out, “Sadhana! Sadhana!” when my mother would emerge from her home in Calcutta. Enough, too, for my father (then only my mum’s fiancé, not her husband yet) to be asked by a cousin—who had never seen my mother but saw her photo on my father’s desk—to remark, “I didn’t know you were such a fan of Sadhana’s.

Then Anu reviewed Aarzoo, and I couldn’t help but recount an incident related to that film and to my mother’s resemblance to the actress.

So much Sadhana. And I thought: I really must do a list of Sadhana songs someday. After all, she’s one of my absolute favourite actresses. This is long overdue.

Instead, on Christmas morning, I heard the news that Sadhana had passed away.

Sadhana in Aarzoo

I have never been one of those fans who get completely carried away. I can really like someone’s work, even appreciate them as individuals in the rare case when I’ve heard or read or seen things that show a personal (and likeable) side of them, but that’s usually the extent to which it goes. Admiration, not blind fanaticism. Rarely does someone have the effect on me that their passing actually shakes me up. That was how it had happened with me when Shammi Kapoor died, and that repeated this last week. I found myself inexplicably and extremely saddened by the news of her death. So much that it took me a while to gather up the strength to write a tribute to her. (Yes, there’s also the fact that I haven’t been too well this past week, but that’s another story).

Why? I don’t know. Perhaps, at some subliminal level, it’s got something to do with the resemblance between my mother and Sadhana. Equally, though, I think it’s because there has always been something about Sadhana that has appealed to me. From my very first memory of her—as the mysterious and so absolutely alluring woman singing Lag jaa gale in Woh Kaun Thi?—Sadhana has been a special favourite.

Lag jaa gale ke phir yeh, from Woh kaun thi?

A favourite for varied reasons. Her acting. Her voice, never screechy or shrill. Her beauty, of course. Her stylishness.

I won’t go on about the ‘Sadhana cut’ or the churidar-kurtas, or the wearing of mojris, but one thing I will point out when it comes to Sadhana’s style is the effortless way in which she seemed to fit just about any look. On previous occasions on this blog, I’ve talked about other actresses not seeming comfortable in a certain style: Waheeda Rehman (another favourite), for instance, not seeming absolutely at home in Western dresses; the same with Nanda. Or several other actresses who seemed at ease only in a particular type of look—Mumtaz, I thought, didn’t make a convincing village girl; neither did Saira Banu.

But Sadhana seemed to be able to carry off just about any look that was required of her. From the slacks-and-sweater of Aarzoo,

Sadhana in Aarzoo

To the sharaaras and demure dupattas of Mere Mehboob,

Sadhana in Mere Mehboob

All the way to the super-glamorous stylishness of Waqt, with those fabulous embroidered chiffons and heavy jewellery and the flower tucked into the hair…

Sadhana in Waqt

… and, at the opposite end of the spectrum, the fresh-faced, un-made up look of Parakh, the very embodiment of the simplicity of a village girl.

Sadhana in Parakh

And in between. The Sadhana of Prem Patra or Hum Dono, for instance, is neither exceptionally glamorous, nor completely devoid of ornamentation: somewhere in the middle, her sarees not always cotton, her earrings not simple gold hoops, her lips coloured, her eyes highlighted, her hair done interestingly.

Dev Anand and Sadhana in Hum Dono

(Interestingly, while Sharmila Tagore’s swimsuit stint in An Evening in Paris invariably draws comment, people tend to forget that Sadhana had, two years earlier in Waqt, also worn a swimsuit for a fairly long—and actually pretty sensuous—scene).

With that versatility in style came a versatility in acting as well. People rave about the acting of greats like Meena Kumari and Waheeda Rehman and Nutan; I think Sadhana was underrated as an actress. Perhaps it was a result of her having appeared in so many films that were similar in tone. Waqt, Ek Musaafir Ek Haseena, Aarzoo and Budtameez, for example, could all have been done with just about any other leading lady of the period. But contrast that with somewhat unusual films—the Bimal Roy films, for example: Parakh and Prem Patra—and you see how different Sadhana could be.

Sadhana and Shashi Kapoor in Prem Patra

Over the past few years, as I’ve watched and rewatched several of Sadhana’s films, one thing that’s struck me is the dual nature of so many of the characters she’s played. In at least two films, of course—Mera Saaya and Woh Kaun Thi?—she’s played double roles (not that Mera Saaya is much of an example of a double role, since her role as the dacoit’s wife is fairly short). In the third of the suspense thriller films she did with Raj Khosla, Anita, while there’s no double role, the plot is such—and her character’s actions such—that it seems as if this is not the same woman, just someone who looks like her…

Sadhana in Anita

And that happens in other films too. Her debut film in Hindi, Love in Simla, for example, which begins with a clumsy, tomboyish Sadhana without a glamorous bone in her body. Plus low esteem and a tendency to make threats she will probably never be able to do anything about. But halfway through the film, and she’s transformed into a beautiful, chic young miss who’s oozing self-confidence and allure.

Sadhana in Love in Simla

Or, less than a decade later, a film that marked one of Sadhana’s last major appearances as a heroine: Intequam. A story of a woman out to seek vengeance, this one had Sadhana starting off as a chawl-dwelling woman, not dirt-poor but pretty close. Innocent, even naïve—and finding herself unable to do anything to stem the tide as she’s nearly molested, then accused of being a thief and sent to jail for a year.

Sadhana in Aarzoo

Her stint in jail transforms her, and when, with the help of a wealthy (and also wronged, therefore also thirsting for revenge) benefactor, she sets about implementing the plan to wreck a few lives, it’s as a glamorous but mysterious woman. Singing as she wanders through the valleys of Kashmir, ensnaring the gullible son of the man who sent her to jail and, indirectly, caused the death of her mother. And then, in another twist of character, another layer peeling away—once she’s managed to get married to the young man, she tells him all: that she hates him, and that she is now out to ruin his family. A cold, bitter woman, seemingly without a shred of humanity left in her.

Sadhana in Intequam

So who will I remember Sadhana as? The sweet, gentle girl who wanders quietly through her village home, carrying a lit diya and urging her heart to go on burning, no matter what? The sultry siren, clinging to a very puzzled man and telling him that this may well be the very last time they will be together? The beautiful young bride who, no matter how hard she tries, cannot understand why her husband, from the moment he has seen her face, seems to be repulsed by her?

The schemer? The victim? The innocent soul? The glamour girl? The girl next door?

Each of those. And more. Bless you, Sadhana. You were one of the best, and you will be missed.

69 thoughts on “In Tribute: Sadhana (1941-2015)

  1. Excellent tribute to one of the most beautiful, elegant and graceful heroines of Hindi cinema. Please post her top 10 songs also! To me Sadhana epitomises the 60s – an era in which Hindi movies acquired gloss and sophistication – no better example than a movie which was one of Sadhana’s best, Waqt. Sadhana made a very smooth transition from Black & White films to Colour and acted in successful movies opposite all the leading heroes of the time except Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor (to the best of my knowledge) – there is even an unreleased (incomplete?) movie of hers with Guru Dutt called Picnic.

    • I agree completely – Sadhana does epitomise the style, the sophistication and the gloss of the 60s. In all its myriad forms, from the Muslim social to the crime thriller, to the lost-and-found masala film, to the out-and-out romance. She fitted easily into all of them.

      Talking about her starring with Raj Kapoor – yes (as others have also mentioned in their comments), she did act opposite him in Dulha Dulhan. Not a favourite movie of mine (mostly because I don’t really like RK), but it does have Humne tujhko pyaar kiya hai jitna, which is good. And Sadhana does look lovely in it (incidentally, that too is one of those ‘dual personality’ sort of roles – she plays a wealthy young woman who loses her memory, thinks she’s a poor and friendless orphan, ends up marrying a poor man, then regains her memory – only to forget all about him.

      Anu has already done a nice Sadhana songs post (and I have to admit that almost all those songs, barring a couple of exceptions, would probably be on my list as well)… so maybe I’ll do something different. Let’s see.

    • even a strange incident happend with me ! 0n 24th i made my dp of sadhna ji from wohkaun thi and made a status rightly bestowed the tittle of mystery girl of hindi cinema. woh kaun thi , mera saya, anita ! and next day she passed away ! my fav movie of her is mera saya and asli naqli. she was fab in waqt. and as she said she was most comfortable with rajendra kumar and sunil dutt. one can see last scene of aarzu n the song aji rooth kar phir khaa jayega.. i think rajendra kumar n she were very comfortable. working scenes with ease. my fav movie of this pair is mere mehboob. but pan cake makeup of rajender kumar dejects me. he looked so handsome in the sherwanis. and sadhna ji looked so beautiful. my fav dialogue is mohbhat ek ibaadat hai ibaadat ki jaati hain. na kharidi jaati hai na bechi jati hain. byfirst rajendra kumar and then amita. on songs i loved the gentle looks in tera mera pyaar amar. and i think so many beautiful songs were filmed on her. mera saya hard to choose between mera saya and naino mai badra chahiye.

      • Yes, she did have good onscreen chemistry with Rajendra Kumar and Sunil Dutt – Shammi Kapoor, too, I thought. And Joy Mukherjee. And, now that I think of it, Manoj Kumar… :-) I know I’m probably getting carried away, but I do think she fitted in well with most of these leading men. Oh, and Shashi Kapoor in Prem Patra. Somehow I always find it a little hard to reconcile her I>Waqt role (where she plays Shashi Kapoor’s bhabhi-to-be, with her Prem Patra, where she’s paired with him, and does such a commendable job as his sweetheart.

        • i have watched rajkumaar and remember aaja aayi bhaar dil hai bekraar. but i remember shammi kappor character only. she had said shammi kapoor, suni dutt n rajender kumar were her favourite. manoj ji fondly remembered her that she was a grounded personality and was fit for every role and he remembers most is food of her home. and woh kaun thi tittle was suggested by manoj ji and he is d writer too. if we ignore d flaws at d end no logical explanation n skipping important things the movie is fine. as he said he is to write den when he was writing next scenes they used to shoot whatever he has written. shooting writing, writing shooting. he has also suggested d designs of the posters of this movie. as you said would be bhabhi was difficult. i think in flim lines this things were not noticed much by viewers. an example is praveen babi pairing with sumtimes amitabh bachan sum times with shashi kapoor n vinod khanna. and even seeing them in multiple flims . people hardly remember this. in indian serials it can’t be imagined at atll ! people associate with them n are deeply attached to the onscreen couples.

        • she had great chemistry with dev anand also. in hum dono and asli naqli ! i love the pair. abhi na jayo chodhkar. tujhey jivan ki dor sey, tera mera pyaar amar n lovely interactions in hum dono in asli naqli. a funny i got remembered like to 2 hain. do du hain. toh NO nu hain.

            • there is a scene in asli naqli sadhna who works in office shorthand typist. she teaches in evening. she asks basic questions of maths n english. when she aks dev anand he replies yes sir then she says not yes sir but yes miss. then he asks miss kya hota ahi. she replies jiski shadi nahi hui hoti then dev sahe character says eska matlub mai bhi miss hua . then sadhna ji says maloom hota hai aap angrezi mai bahut kamzor hain. then she gives him a translation mai ek ladka hu then this question turns joke. aap ladka kaisey ho sakti hain. then she tells aapko abcd bhi koi vaasta nahi .she asks her students TO kya hota hain , DO kya hota hain . she gets correct replies then she ask dev anand ki ap btaaye N O kya hota hain he replies Nu. and further more fun happens. as dev saheb start debating on pronounciation by giving examples of to, do and hindi words. . sadhna ji gets frustrated.

        • Though he was much older than her, Sadhana made a good pair with Dev Anand too … very watchable in Asli Naqli as well as Hum Dono

  2. I loved this tribute. When I was a young girl, my older cousin had a HUGE crush on Sadhana. His cupboard was lined with cutouts of Sadhana in various poses. He would rush out and see her movies First Day First Show. His sisters wore the punishingly tight churidars and kurtis. Their churidars were so tight they needed a greased paper (there were no plastic bags then) on their foot to slip them on.

    Watching Sadhana’s movies always takes me back to those days of watching my older cousins and their ‘heroine-like-airs.’ It brings a happy smile on my face.

    I agree with you that Sadhana seemed to fit right into every role. She was so dainty. And you are right. She was a very good actress.

    • “Their churidars were so tight they needed a greased paper (there were no plastic bags then) on their foot to slip them on.

      Wow! That is tight, indeed.

      I remember, my mother used to have a pair of beautiful silk kurtas – the churidars had worn out long back, but the kurtas were still there, and we inherited them as teenagers. Made of Chinese brocade, one was cream-and-pale pink floral patterns, the other pale mauve with embroidered floral motifs. The clingy, sheath-type kurta that looked as if you had to be poured into it. Total Sadhana style!

    • I have to admit I’ve watched too little of Robin William for his death to affect me much, but yes, I can understand how somebody, even if you’ve never met them personally, can create such an impression on you. So many actors from the 50s and 60s have passed away recently, but just a couple of them – Shammi Kapoor, to some extent Dev Anand, and now Sadhana – have really shaken me.

  3. I love your tribute to her, Madhu, so much what I wanted to say myself, but couldn’t find the words to do so. You’ve really brought out the variations in her professional life – both in looks and in characterisations. Sadhana was special. The only other deaths that affected me so deeply were those of Shammi and Dev.

  4. A small addition. Sadhna was paired with Raj Kapoor in DULHA DULHAN, a mederately successful film with good, popular songs by Kalyanji Anandji.

  5. At last, Madhulika ! I was really looking forward to this! You’d previously written about other stars but not about Sadhana , such a tragedy that it had to be a tribute. But you’ve expressed everything about this beautiful star which I’ve always to do so myself. It’s a beautiful piece. Though there were many actresses (I refuse to use the word actors, it appears so masculine) some even more beautiful, in my opinion Sadhana was the classiest, she underplayed her roles, she never jumped about unnecessarily or shrieked at the top of her lungs, a mystery that, because during her reign almost all the other actresses overacted. One huge reason why I liked Sadhana was because , like me , she was a big dog-lover as was evident in her films like “Love in Simla” , “Inteqaam” & “Dil daulat aur duniya” & the reports of the numerous dogs she owned. In contrast I disliked Saira Banu throwing stones at Rajendra Kumar’s dog in “Aayee milan ki bela” and Asha Parekh letting off Nazima’s pomeranian in a helium balloon in “Ziddi”. To my childish mind that was a cruel thing to do, the poor dog must have died. These actresses could have put their foot down & refused to do these scenes. Anyway, Sadhana had everything I adored, subtlety , class, beauty, charm , good English, Westerness etc. and something I learned over the internet, much later, from various sources – a stunning dress-sense. Rest in peace, Sadhana, Goodbye forever…..

    • Thank you. Glad you liked my post. :-)

      I’m not a dog lover (or a pet lover of any kind, for that matter – though I am all for animals, otherwise), but I can see why something like that would endear Sadhana even more to a fan. I have begun liking Balraj Sahni and Nasir Hussain even more ever since I discovered that both of them were passionately fond of PG Wodehouse.

      Oh, and please don’t say “Goodbye forever” to Sadhana. She may have gone, but she will live on through her films.

      • She sure will . I think I overdid the Sadhana adoration bit. Unhe meri nazar lag gayi, and she died. Shammi Kapoor was my favourite too but at least he and Dev Anand lived a full life. Sadhana was only 74, not old by today’s standards. I was surprised to see so many young fans posting tributes to her on the internet. They weren’t even born during her time. One young fan said “Zameen ki khoobsoorti falak ne chura li.” So lovely that.

  6. What a beautiful tribute you have written, I find myself very moved by it. I was so saddened to hear of Sadhana’s passing, on Christmas Day too. Honestly it put a damper on the holiday for me.

    She was one of my favourite actresses–she was so versatile and malleable–she truly could play just about any role she was given. But I absolutely adore her mysterious femme fatale roles. “Woh KaunThi” “Anita” and “Mera Saaya” –I loved her in those Raj Khosla thrillers. I think she did a great job bringing playing enigmatic beauties.

    The upside of being a film star is that she will never be forgotten, her films shall carry on her legacy, she will be missed, but never forgotten. Rest in Peace Sadhana.

    • Thank you. Yes, the news of her death certainly put a damper on Christmas for me too.

      And oh, I agree completely about her really doing those femme fatale roles brilliantly. While I do concede that she’s very good in those ‘girl next door’ roles, where she really leaves the competition way> behind is when she’s doing the roles you’ve mentioned. You know, I just have to think of the way she turns and stretches out an arm, singing Phir aapke naseeb mein yeh baat ho na ho… and I swoon. How simply irresistible.

  7. A moving tribute, Madhulikaji. You have the putting into words what many of feel but struggle to express.
    Your point about her being comfortable in any getup, unlike Waheeda Rehman is well-taken. (While on the subject, Zeenat Aman always seemed claustrophobic in Indian feminine attire.)
    While I liked her in Parakh, Asli Naqli, Mere Mehboob, Waqt, & Ek Musafir Ek Hasina, I would hesitate to call myself a great fan of hers. After the thyroid affliction struck her, and her looks began to deteriorate, her roles seemed to become somewhat aggressive, her acting a trifle loud, whether unconsciously or in order to draw attention away from the creeping disfigurement, it’s hard to say. Her transformation in Love in Simla was a little too much to swallow.

    A commenter,Shri Vinay Hegde, has mentioned about her not working with Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor. In fact, she starred opposite Raj Kapoor in Dulha Dulhan (1964)

    • The second sentence in my comment above should read, “You have the knack of putting into words what many of us feel but struggle to express.”

    • Thank you for the appreciation. I do agree with you about her getting shrill and a little loud in her later roles. I see a similar sort of thing happening with Nutan, actually – started off beautifully, and then, towards the end of her stint as a lead actress, started doing a lot of awfully melodramatic roles which were simply painful to watch.

  8. Very nice article, I feel most of her fans have a strong attachment to her, she was considered the most beautiful girl in the world, but here’s a story of mine, there’s this girl that’s I’m going to marry in a few years and every since my mom has seen her she keep telling me how the girl looks like sadhana, for the last 3 years she always tell me this, my mom is a big fan of sadhana as well, so everytime she watches her song she would call me and tell me ‘look its sadhana’ and we’ll both just sit and watch her, she became a part of my life, so her leaving will always made me feel bad and it will be hard to get over her, yesterday I was on YouTube watching all her videos for hours, its been crazy last few days.

    • Oh, Sunny, that is such a sweet little thing to share. I can empathise because – as I’ve mentioned – someone very dear to me also bears (or bore, rather) a striking resemblance to Sadhana.

  9. Sadhna ‘s cut is as famous as Dev’s Buff in sixties . She belongs to golden era of Indian cinema .Like Dev she was style icon of those days but her acting is under rated even though she was excellent in movies like Parakha wohkownthi rajkumar
    Humdono aslinakili waqt merasaya etc. thanks Madu for the excellent tribute. RIP Sadhna

    • Thank you, Epstein, for the appreciation.

      Talking of Dev Anand’s puff and the Sadhana cut, I was reminded of a long-ago visit to the Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur. Our guide mentioned to us that the local rickshaw wallahs (who have picked up some dodgy rudiments of birding) refer to bank mynahs as ‘Sunil Dutt mynahs’, because the little thatch of black feathers on their heads resembles Sunil Dutt’s haircut!

  10. Thank you Madhulika, for this wonderful post..a great tribute indeed!
    As a die hard Sadhna fan I myself wanted to do something like this but couldn’t :(
    Never mind, YOUR post makes up for my regrets..the purpose is well served.
    Ah..the very beautiful and talented Sadhna!!

  11. this is a beautiful tribute given to Sadhana. All other enewspaper and articles only praised her fringe, few songs and about disease. This tribute is great indepth look on her films. Thanks a lot.

    (and I am waiting for review of tamil film thillana mohanamval :) )

    • Thank you for the appreciation. I’m glad you liked the post. And I am still waiting for that bit of sudden good luck when I will finally find a subtitled version of Thillana Mohanamval! ;-) Fingers crossed… let’s hope it happens soon, because I too am curious.

  12. What a lovely tribute, Madhu! :-)

    Sadhana was a highly underrated actress. I have always felt that there was something soft and reassuring about her onscreen persona. And after reading your post, it struck me that it is due to her voice – gentle and not shrilly – that I felt that.

    • Thank you, Harini! Glad you liked the post.

      Yes, Sadhana was vastly underrated, wasn’t she? Possibly not among the film makers, though, because I think some of the most respected directors – Bimal Roy and Hrishikesh Mukherjee among them – gave her roles in their films. She straddled the worlds of offbeat cinema and mainstream masala with seemingly effortless ease.

  13. While Sadhana was not in my list of favs, she did act well in many of her movies– Anita ,Waqt, mere mehboob, Geeta mera naam . Especially the lastmovie, I saw without expectations butturned out to be quite good..
    In other movies like Arzoo, Ek Phool do mali she wasn’t all that impressive.
    But what was impressive was that she continued to act even after losing vision in one eye ( MAK Pataudi of movies perhaps)
    Yes you are right people –yours truly included— bracketed and labelled her more for the “cut” but she did get her name immortalised at least north of the vindhyas for the very reason! Her acting chops were not given the due.

    • I must admit I’ve never got around to watching Geeta Mera Naam – like you, my expectations of it have never been good, so I’ve not been able to summon up the courage to see it! But now that you say it’s good, I’ll give it a try.

  14. she was a beauty, she had grace and she was one of the most glamorous actress of her time with her fringe which started a trend of sorts, even her tight fitting churidas and her lovely sarees..she was very slim as well..a classic actress of the late 50’s and thru the 60’s she reigned until thyroid took the toll on her, and even after the operation she had in Boston, she managed to come back and give a few hits before she called it quits..Unforgettable actress she will always be remembered as one of the classic actresses we ever had. Her song ‘Tera Mera Pyar Amar” from Asli Naqli will always be a classic. RIP Sadhana-ji

    • Very true. She was an icon – so stylish and lovely, as well as a good actress. You hit the nail on the head when you referred to her as a ‘classic actress’. That she certainly was.

  15. I am perhaps one of those younger admirers of hers at 31.

    I was drawn towards her in my childhood. At that age, I neither did understand what was good acting, what was style or what was glamour. I was simply mesmerised by her charm and beauty. And she was the only actress among all older as well as contemporary actresses who had this effect on me. I had even decided that once I grow up I will go and meet her.

    However, once grown up, I got pre-occupied by other things and abandoned the idea of meeting her, rather unfortunately. I keep coming to Mumbai & even stayed there for 2 years during my post-grad. But never once did I think of meeting her. This inspite of the fact that she was embroiled in court cases and was troubled.

    And now the news of her death has come. It has now made me pause and think about her all over again. I have since read more about her travails in life and pondered over them. She was such a beautiful lady but her thyroid problems ruined it. She never had a child and her husband had also passed away 2 decades back. She was living a lonely life with no family. As if that was not enough she was harassed for her residence and had to go to court for it in old age. Inspite of all this, I hear that she was a gentle lady who lived with dignity. I am a firm believer in the afterlife and I fervently hope, seeing how her life was a difficult one, that God will grant her bliss and happiness in the next life. She will hopefully be restored to her young beautiful angelic self which was progressively taken away from her by hyper-thyroidism.

    My great regret is not as much over her passing away, though it certainly saddens me. Instead my great regret is that I did not go and meet her while she was alive and tried my bit to help her. Unfortunately we only realise the worth of people once they pass away and now that she’s passed away I am feeling very affectionate towards her.

    I pray that she is blessed by Parameshwar & finds eternal happiness.

  16. Sadhanaji was quite versatile, which i guess was her best quality. Also i think she had the rare knack of making a good pair with any actor be it Rajendra Kumar, Joy Mukherjee, Dev Anand or Sunil Dutt, which is quite a tough thing to do in my opinion. For most , Sadhana is remembered more for her fringe cuts, churidars and those glam roles in Waqt and Arzoo, but as far as i am concerned , Sadhana is at her best in films like Prempatra, Parakh, Asli naqli and Raj khosla’s films barring Anita. Not many films as a lead actress, 32 to be precise, but 16 of them hits i.e. 50 % shows how big an impact she had on the audience.. The number of hits could have been more hadn’t it been for those unfortunate health issues :(

    • I hadn’t actually noticed the stats, but yes, that’s really impressive – just goes to show how very bankable Sadhana was. And I agree with you completely about how well she teamed up with just about any actor. She had great onscreen chemistry with almost anyone she was paired with.

  17. On the 24th of December,I had a strange urge to re watch “Woh Kaun Thi?”..Watched it that night and the song “Lag ja gale” caught my fancy in such a way that I watched it multiple times…don’t know why :( Woke up the next day and saw the news of her demise over the internet….Thought it was a rumour,as the same thing happened a couple of years back…..But that was not to be…..When the news of her demise was confirmed,something broke down inside me..My eyes were getting misty every now and then….Her angelic and beautiful visage kept flashing in my thoughts….Still couldn’t bring myself to believe that she is no more :( Its very hard to forget her golden contribution towards Hindi cinema…..She was the best actress for me and will always be…….Thank you for your beautiful and moving tribute on my favorite Sadhana!
    Sadhana you shall always be cherished in memories and thoughts of your countless fans…

  18. Hello!
    Firstly, I have become a huge fan of your blog :)
    It is so funny that when someone we love resembles a celebrity…I guess somewhere we form a connection with them…I was thinking of Leela Naidu a few days ago…and one of the reason I love her because my mother looked so much like her in her younger days. I was only 14 when Leela Naidu passed away..and since then I have read so much about her..all because of my mother’s resemblance.
    Speaking of coincidence, I was watching the song “Dil-Vil pyaar vaar mai kya jaanu re” and I turned to my mom and said-“Saira Banu doesn’t look convincing as a village belle
    ‘..and look you’ve said the same thing in this post. Haha!

    • Thank you, Tejal! Glad you’re liking my blog. :-)

      And yes, it’s true that having a loved one look like a celebrity makes you feel a little bit closer to that celebrity. (Thank goodness we don’t have mothers looking like celebrities we’d rather not have them resemble!)

  19. Oh Sadhana,how we all your fans,miss you.God was not very fair to you when you were at the peak of your career n afflicted you with Thyroid problem.How could He do this to you?And later also,so many problems she had to face single- handedly.At times like this,one wonders ,is God always just in a His ways?The answer in my opinion is NO.In Sadhana’s case,God has been sort of unkind.

    • True. But somewhere along the way, God was kind, too – in giving Sadhana such beauty and such talent that she proved a blessing and a delight to so many thousands of her fans. So I wouldn’t call God completely unkind in that sense. :-)

      • Maybe God was not completely unkind but Sadhana definitely deserved a better deal from God n her career cud have gone on for minimum 10 yrs more with more successes,rather than cut short prematurely due to thyroid eye affliction.

        • Mr. S. P. Singh, I totally agree with you. Fate seemed to be have been very unkind to Sadhana , she had more than anyone’s share of misfortune. Why was she the only actress to have lost her looks to a disfiguring disease. She was one of the most beautiful actresses ever, and so soft and graceful too. As a TV announcer said in a programme, once, on Sadhana, “Husn ki devi ko zamane ki nazar lag gayee”. One believes in the Evil Eye now. And later on in her life she had one problem after the other, while all she wanted was to be left alone & lead a peaceful life away from the limelight. I must take this opportunity to thank you for your lovely book on Sadhana, which I ordered on Flipkart. It was beautifully done with pictures I’d never seen before, and your opinion on all her movies. It was the only book on Sadhana that I found on the internet. I, and all her fans, are sharing grief with you.

          • I appreciate the sentiments of you dear Sirs towards Sadhanaji. However I humbly disagree with the statement that God is unfair or unjust.

            What we forget very often is that our scriptures time & again make us remember that this human life is temporary while our existence as a person is eternal. Let us not think that this human life is the be all and end all of everything.

            In this human life if one suffers, it is sometimes or often due to his misdeeds. When a person is often inflicted by misfortune, as in the case of Sadhanaji, without any seeming evil done by that person, it signals the fact that God considers that person close to Him. Please remember, this human life is not meant to be a bed of roses for us. Everyone will suffer in one way or another. However, God puts through greater suffering as a test for those who are closer to Him. The reward may come in this life but if not, a much greater reward awaits in the next life.

            Hence, I am pretty hopeful that the Just & Kind Almighty Creator of us All, will bless Sadhanaji with eternal happiness and bliss. Let us pray to Ishwar for Sadhanaji with hope in His Unfailing Justice.

            • Who has seen After-life?These are all conjectures to mentally console ourselves that better things are in store for us after we die?Heaven hell are all in this life we live.Why must a person suffer in this life for some wrong act he did in earlier life?Why this “carry-forward” policy of Almighty?If we do wrong,let us be punished in this life only, to teach us a lesson.I maybe wrong but at times I definitely feel so.Why did poor Sadhana undergo agony due to Thyroid while her contemporaries carried on with their careers for 10 yrs more?Can one imagine what Sadhana must have undergone looking at her marred facial beauty,would she be thinking of”earlier- life” or “after-life” acts of hers?She definitely deserved a better deal but we humans cannot change the cards we are dealt

              • Dear Sir,

                I appreciate your sentiments. I am sorry for the late reply. Perhaps this forum is not the appropriate place to carry on this discussion so this is my last post on this topic here. If you agree, we may carry this discussion through emails. Mine is

                My reason for believing in the afterlife is simple. I cannot accept that my existence is just limited to the duration of my limited human life. That sounds just absurd. If it were so, life with so many of its vagaries & absurdities would seem hopeless and meaningless.

                Also, think about our loved ones. There is no one who does not suffer the agony of a loss of a loved one through death. I cannot accept that the ones whom we love so deeply and intensely can just cease to exist forever and that we cannot meet them ever again. And this longing and affection for the those who have departed is supported by scriptures of all religions. There is not a single religion on this earth which says that there is no afterlife. Why is that if afterlife is merely a fiction ? Are all religions trying to fool us ?

                Lastly, if one can believe in God why can’t we believe in afterlife ? Infact, believing in afterlife can be a source of strength because it helps us make self-sacrifices which otherwise we may not.


                I agree that dearest Sadhanaji had a difficult life. Infact not having a child and then after losing her husband, having no family member must have been a far more painful experience than mere loss of career. But I cannot fathom the mind of the Almighty. We are too insignificant before Him and cannot decipher His ways. The right thing to do is trust in His fairness & justice. Sometimes, with time, things that make no sense now start making sense later. Let us also not forget, all our great heroes, Shri Ram or Raja Harishchandra or the Pandavs, all suffered in their lives. But we remember them and celebrate their sacrifice. Do we remember those who lived comfortable and lavish lives ?

  20. What should I write ..I am speechless ! I always liked her because of her girl next door look.For me, the moment she used to flash her toothy smile ,she was a carefree and sweet girl .. Irrespective of her playing a glam or de-glam part . from all pretensions, acting skills , the layers of makeup and ornaments , her smile fascinated me!
    Waheeda rehman my another favourite for being the embodiment of natural grace , elegance and intellect lacked there being that spontaneous … And Madhubala always seemed to underplay the reserved and dignified aspect of herself.
    So, sadhna was the sangam of my two favorites from seemingly opposite poles !
    She was awesome ! So is your post :)

    • That’s an interesting thing you point out – I hadn’t realized it, but yes, so true. Waheeda Rehman does have this seemingly never-failing dignity (even in films where she’s playing girlish and bubbly characters, like Ek Phool Chaar Kaante), and Madhubala – apart from some of her rather more sombre roles (Mahal is an example), is always frothy and cheery. And Sadhana manages, seemingly effortlessly and always convincingly, to achieve both opposites.

      Thank you so much for the appreciation! :-)

  21. Anita was not directed by her husband RK Nayyar. It was directed by Raj Khosla. Sadhana is my all time favourite actress. Thanks for this write up.

    • That was a typo, sorry; I’ve corrected it. Yes, of course – along with Woh Kaun Thi? and Mera Saaya, Anita was one of the three suspense films she did with Raj Khosla. God knows where my mind was wandering when I wrote that, because I did know it.

      Glad you liked this post. Thank you.

    • Sir please right a book on Sadhana ji. I think she is the only iconic actress who doesn’t have an authorized book or autobiography written on her. Please consider writing it. I am a huge fan of her.

    • Dinesh sir, please consider writing a book, something like an autobiography on the life and times of this iconic lady. She may be underrated, but for me she is always one of the most iconic actresses to have graced the Indian silver screen. Please write a book on her, I am telling you this because I know that you were a close friend of her and a great fan of her. There is no famous books written on her. I request you to make one. It will be great. I am a huge fan of her. RIP Sadhana ji.

    • Dinesh sir, please write a book on her. An autobiography or a tribute like book. She deserves it so much, atleast that. She is my favourite. An iconic great actress. Please, please consider writing it. I think she is the only one who doesn’t have a famous book on her life and times.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.