Sadhana Shivdasani aka Sadhana was among those heroines who saw the Mumbai-based film industry transforming from black and white to Technicolour.
She was just 14 when she caught the attention of Raj Kapoor, who put her in the chorus during the filming of the song ‘Mud mud ke na dekh’ in Shree 420 (1955). It’s difficult to spot her during the song, but you’ll never forget that face once you zero in on it.
When she signed up for the Sindhi film Abaana (1958), she had no clue what the future had in store for her, but destiny catches up with talent in unusual ways.
Sadhana – who was born in Karachi, now the capital of Pakistan’s Sindh province – was spotted by producer Sashadhar Mukherjee in a film magazine that had her photograph promoting Abaana. Mukherjee planned a grand entry for Sadhana in Hindi films alongside hero Joy Mukherjee, a pair that would become style icons in later years.
Watch: Sadhana, Joy Mukherjee in Gaal gulaabi kiske hain from Love In Shimla
This film was Love In Shimla (1960) and two stars were born. Also a hairstyle came into fashion. Is there anyone who hasn’t heard the term “Sadhana Cut”? In case you’re wondering about the inspiration behind the Sadhana Cut, it was none other than Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn.
Most of Sadhana’s films showed her as someone whose feet are firmly rooted. A damsel in distress on the outside but with an Indian touch, which means there would be vulnerability wrapped in a tough exterior.
Remember her role in Mera Saaya. What Raj Khosla expected Sadhana to do in 1966 was difficult by any standard. She had to show shades of grey without being completely hated. It wasn’t a time when protagonists were comfortable with dark roles, but she did it and that too with envious aplomb and panache.
Watch: Sadhana in Naina barse rimjhim rimjhim
Sadhana was the perfect actress to be featured in melodies like ‘Lag jaa gale’ and ‘Naina barse rimjhim rimjhim’. What a combination – Sadhana’s mysterious smile and Lata Mangehskar’s haunting voice. No wonder we still cherish those songs.
And we haven’t even talked about ‘Jhumka gira re’ yet. She was the one for Raj Khosla, who again featured her in a double role in Anita (1967).
Now when we’re talking about songs, how can we overlook the 1969 film Ek Phool Do Maali. ‘Ye parda hata do’, ‘O nanhe se farishtey’, ‘Saiyaan le gayi jiya’, ‘Aulad walon phoolo falo’ and ‘Mera naam karega roshan’– Sadhana made these songs even more memorable.
Sadhana was so fascinated with the idea of a double role that she decided to direct herself in Geeta Mera Naam (1973). Needless to say, she played Kavita, Neeta and Geeta in it.
However, by then, she was being pushed aside by a younger crop of actors led by Hema Malini. Sadhana’s career didn’t last long after Chote Sarkar in 1974. Shammi Kapoor was her hero and they both bowed down to the competition soon after.
But it was a career which made her immortal because there isn’t any other word to describe her better.
Recall Rajendra Kumar’s star-struck expression in Mere Mehboob on seeing Sadhana. Kumar wasn’t alone - millions of others lost their hearts to her right at that moment.
Follow @htshowbiz for more.