Ae Nargis e Mastana – Remembering Sadhana

Let me begin by wishing all the readers a merry Christmas. Whenever I think of my favourite Hindi film heroines, Sadhana Shivdasani, popularly known by her first name, Sadhana, is among the top three names. (The other names include, Madhubala, Nutan, Meena Kumari with the latter two sharing second position jointly).
There’s an interesting coincidence about Sadhna. There’s a very popular Marathi film, पाठलाग (The Chase) that has a famous song, sung by Asha Bhosle. It’s composed by Datta Dawjekar.

‘या डोळ्यांची दोन पाखरे फिरतील तुमच्या भवती
पाठलाग ही सदैव करतील असा कुठेही जगती’
(My eyes will always follow you across the world, like two birds chasing)

As a child, whenever I listened to the song, I would think of Sadhana’s beautiful eloquent eyes. It was much later that I came to know about Mera Saaya, being a remake of पाठलाग. And about the coincidence, Sadhana acted in Mera Saaya.

Sadhana 1

Born on 2nd September 1941 in a Sindhi family in Karachi, Sadhana Shivdasani migrated with her family to Mumbai after the partition. It is said that she was interested in acting and her father supported her. It’s now a well known fact that Sadhana was a chorus girl among the dancers in Raj Kapoor’s Shree 420, which was released in 1955. The song was Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh. The film acted like a catalyst and she was signed for a Sindhi film, Abaana which was released in 1958. It is said that Shashdhar Mukherjee, a famous producer and owner of the production house, Filmalaya, saw her photo in a film magazine and decided to cast her opposite his son, Joy Mukherjee, who was about to debut with a film produced under his own banner. She thus debuted in ‘Love in Simla’ in 1960. However she was also chosen by the distinguished director, Bimal Roy, for his film, Parakh which was also released in 1960. The former was a hit, while the latter was a semi hit. But Sadhana’s natural acting was acclaimed in both the films. Both the films are still remembered for amazing songs and Sadhana.

Sadhana 2

Her presence was immediately perceived by major production houses, who signed her for their forthcoming ventures and she had a very successful career in the first half of the 1960s. Prem Patra, Asli Naqli, Mere Mehboob, Rajkumar, Dulha Dulhan, Waqt, Aarzoo, and so on. She worked with all the top heroes of that era. Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Sunil Dutt, Joy Mukherjee etc. And in the majority of the movies, she played a strong female lead, not just a good looking doll. While she was a simple girl next door in Parakh, she played a modern doctor in Prem Patra. On one hand, she was playing Sangeeta (Rajkumar), a tribal princess, and on the other she was an aristocratic rich girl, Meena (Waqt). She played the contrasting sisters so convincingly in Mera Saaya, a similar role she had already played in Woh Kaun Thi. (But I didn’t like the latter film, except Sadhana and of course the immortal songs.) She was at home with the revengeful girl in Intaqam.

Sadhana 3

She was one of the most popular and highest paid actresses of the era. Her beautiful eloquent eyes were her most powerful weapon. Besides she was very beautiful and gorgeous. And to top it all, she was a good actress too.

sadhana 3b
She is also considered a fashion icon of the bygone era, where her fringe hairstyle became popular. It’s still called Sadhana cut and will always be remembered by the name. It is said that R K Nayyar suggested her fringe hairstyle to make her forehead appear small. The style was inspired by a similar haircut by Audrey Hepburn. It worked very well for her. It is said that she also started the trend of tight salwar kurta, which she wore in a number of films later.

Sadhana 4

She was very fortunate to work with Bimal Roy in the very beginning of her career, and later worked with Hrishikesh Mukherjee, H S Rawail, Raj Khosla, Yash Chopra, and many more popular film directors.

She married R K Nayyar in 1966 while she was at the top of her career. He was the one to direct her for her first film, Love in Simla. He later also directed her in Inteqam in 1969. But Nayyar died in 1996. The couple however had no children and Sadhana led a lonely life for most of her later life after retiring from the Hindi film industry.

I consider her medical problem related to hyperthyroidism, as the most unfortunate incident happened to her. It ruined her career. She underwent treatment at Boston and resumed her films. But now her face looked quite different. Her charming eyes lost their beauty. She still looked good, though less gorgeous.

Sadhana 5a

She was still getting good roles and later she produced and directed a movie, Geeta Mera Naam (1974). The film did well at the box office. But Sadhana preferred retirement. She even didn’t let any of her photographs appear anywhere in the media.

After her husband’s death, she became totally lonely and was involved in court cases. The latter made headlines in major newspapers. While she was in touch with her friends from the film industry, she severed all her ties to the glamour world. Nanda, Waheeda Rehman, Helen were among her friends.

In 2014, Sadhana made a rare public appearance walking the ramp at a fashion show with Ranbir Kapoor. The show was arranged to support the cancer and AIDS patients charities.

sadhana 2014

She died on 25th December 2015 after she was hospitalized at Hinduja Hospital.

Let’s remember the gorgeous lady on her 5th death anniversary. My favourite Hindi film songs lip synced by Sadhana.

1. Mere Man Ke Diye – Parakh (1960) Lata Mangeshkar / Salil Chowdhary – Shailendra
It was difficult to choose a song among the three solos of Lata Mangeshkar picturised on Sadhana. While the happy songs would have been an obvious choice for the position, I decided to go for the sad song. Though it would also suit on the list of best of Salil Choudhary or best of Lata Mangeshkar or even best of Shailendra, Sadhana’s acting as a sad and tense daughter is good too. As the song runs in the background, she has to show the expressions intensely. She’s trying to keep her spirits high and soothe her own burning soul. She’s ready to sacrifice everything for her family. Sadhana playing Seema, a simple village girl, is very convincing.
And how softly and soulfully Lata Mangeshkar sings it, like a bare whisper, very little instrumental support.

2. Jahan Mein Aisa Kaun Hai – Hum Dono (1961) Asha Bhosle / Jaidev – Sahir
Sadhana plays Meeta, a rich and confident girl, who has full faith in her beloved’s abilities. She has the guts to move into her boyfriend’s home when his mother needs a companion. Though her role had less footage, it was definitely memorable.
She’s coaxing her distressed beloved. Everybody in this world has to go through thick and thin in life. She makes sure that she’s there for him in his difficult times to support him. She suggests to him to feel free to share his worries with her. Problem shared is problem halved.
And what a perfect rendition by Asha Bhosle. It’s reassuring feel itself is enough to soothe your nerves. The song is like a sad version of Abhi Na Jao Chhodkar.

3. Ab Aur Na Kuchh Bhi Yaad Raha – Prem Patra (1962) Lata Mangeshkar / Salil Chowdhury – Rajendra Krishan
Sadhana plays Dr Kavita Kapoor. I’m not going to reveal the story of the movie. Kavita is slowly falling in deep love with someone she is in contact with through letters. She has been unfair with him and has a guilt about the injustice she has unknowingly committed. That’s why the word, ज़फा. But now she has forgotten everything, and only remembers her love for him. A delightful song picturised on a very pretty looking Sadhana.

4. Tera Mera Pyar Amar – Asli Naqli (1962) Lata Mangeshkar / Shankar Jaikishan – Shailendra
Sadhana, as Renu, who has a bunch of secrets buried deep within her heart, appears to be a simple girl next door on the face of it. Yet her character has a soul and Sadhana again proves herself. No wonder, Hrishikesh Mukherjee managed to get her talent out. Coming to the song, it’s one of the most popular songs picturised on Sadhana. Her simple attire with a simple hairdo, nevertheless makes her look more beautiful. Her expressions of joy and dedication are good.

5. Tere Pyar Mein Dildar Jo Hai – Mere Mehboob (1963) Lata Mangeshkar / Naushad – Shakeel Badayuni
It’s one of the films where perhaps Sadhana’s character, Husna, is not so strong and it seems Ameeta has a good role. Anyways, Sadhana does look very very beautiful. Anyone would utter Subahanallah at first दीदार. She’s experiencing love fever and shares it with her friend, Naseem. Sadhana wasn’t a trained dancer I guess, but managed to pull off the song.

6. Lag Ja Gale Ke Phir – Woh Kaun Thi (1964) Lata Mangeshkar / Madan Mohan – Raja Mehdi Ali Khan
I won’t disclose the suspense in case anyone is yet to watch the movie. The song has achieved an iconic status and the film was also a superhit at the box office. The film bestowed the tag of mystery girl upon her, which continued in a couple of films later as well. I won’t say anything more, just listen and watch the song. Sheer pleasure!

7. Kaun Aaya Ke Nigahon Mein – Waqt (1965) Asha Bhosle / Ravi – Sahir
The multistarrer prestigious Yash Chopra film had Sadhana as one of the leads, though most of the songs were offered to her. Out of the couple of solos, I chose this one. One of the wonderful and popular piano songs of Hindi cinema. Sadhana does look very pretty, though not 19, as mentioned in the film. She plays Meena, a sophisticated aristocratic girl. She is the love interest of Raj Kumar and Sunil Dutt, though she is in love with the latter. She’s not aware of being overheard by Raj Kumar, who perhaps mistakes it as her interest in him.

8. Bedardi Balma Tujhko Mera Man – Arzoo (1965) Lata Mangeshkar / Shankar Jaikishan – Hasrat Jaipuri
The Sagar Art production movie was also a superhit. Though it is highly melodramatic in the climax, the light hearted initial hours are quite enjoyable. Thanks to gorgeous Sadhana and of course excellent music score by Shankar Jaikishan duo. Though she seems to face eye problems in the later half of the movie, she looks beautiful. A soulful song of remembrance, where she misses her beloved as she visits the places they had been dating. Please follow the link to watch the song on youtube.

9. Nainon Wali Ne Hay Mera Dil Loota – Mera Saaya (1966) Lata Mangeshkar / Madan Mohan – Raja Mehdi Ali Khan
I’m very much in love with this peppy catchy song ever since I watched it in my school days. Though the film is full of melodious songs, this one’s full of energy and happiness. A cute romantic conversation between the couple. She’s narrating his way of expressing his feelings for her. There are shers in between in the interludes by Sunil Dutt and Sadhana. Madan Mohan has very few songs like this to his credit. And Sadhana looks particularly beautiful compared to other songs of the film. Her acting was very good as she plays twin sisters, a memorable double role.

10. Kaise Rahun Chup Ke Maine – Intaqam (1969) Lata Mangeshkar / Laxmikant Pyarelal – Rajendra Krishan
The song I think topped the annual Binaca Geetmala. It was Sadhana’s film after a brief period of illness when she was under treatment at Boston for her thyroid problem. She rejoined films, though her face appeared completely changed. She never looked the same though was still young to give up. Her comeback film was very successful, though it’s very painful to watch her eyes losing all their charm. She plays a revengeful daughter in law, who jumps at every opportunity to defame her father in law in public. She creates a scene at a party behaving like a drunkard. The song is still very popular, one of the rare songs Lata Mangeshkar sang in the genre.

“Sadhana, you are still a great favourite with all of the Hindi film lovers and will always be! We miss you and your films will always be remembered for your acting and your presence”

Sadhana last

I’ve chosen solos, readers please add any Sadhana song of your choice to the list.

(All the images are taken from the internet and belong to the original copyright owners)

Disclaimer –
Mehfil Mein Meri, claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. Images on this blog are posted to make the text interesting. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from YouTube, only for the listening convenience of music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.

23 Replies to “Ae Nargis e Mastana – Remembering Sadhana”

  1. Anup,
    Very nice tribute to a star who was once a fashion icon, and had to suffer an unfortunate medical condition. She was not among my top favourites, but some of my most favourite songs are picturised on her. From ‘Parakh’ my favourite is ‘O sajana, barkha bahar ayi’. I join you in paying my tribute to Sadhana


  2. Anup ji,

    Your admiration for Sadhna has resulted in a good write up. Good song selection.

    I am sure you have noticed that the lion’s share of her songs are by Lata, followed by Asha. Very few by Suman Kalyanpur.

    In BUDTAMEEZ, 1966,SJ used all these 3 on Sadhna.

    Soorat haseen hai, lagta hai deewana….Lata.

    Sirf tumhi toh ho jispe marte hain hum….Asha with Rafi.

    Ho pehla pehla pyar hai…..Suman Kalyanpur.


    1. Pradeepji,
      Thanks a lot for your appreciation.
      The situation of playback singers of the post was an obvious one, I agree with you.
      I like the songs from Budtameez. The ones by Lata and Suman are my favourites too. But I was going to include only ten songs, so skipped those songs.
      Let me add the links,
      Soorat Haseen Lagta Hai

      Sirf tumhi toh ho jispe

      Pehla Pehla Pyar Hai yeh


  3. 2 of my favorite Rafi, Lata duets:

    GABAN, 1966.
    Tum bin sajan barse nayan…
    Shailendra, SJ.

    Ye dil deewana hai…

    ( 2 beautiful Lata solos from the movie:
    O mere bairagi bhanwra..

    Tum mujhse door chale jaana na..)


    1. Oh yes!
      Lots of melodious song there Pradeepji.

      Tum Bin sajan,

      Yeh dil deewana hai

      O mere bairagi bhnwara

      Tu mujhse door chale jana na

      I’m not much familiar with the last one, though the first couple of songs are my favourites too.
      Thanks for adding the songs.


  4. Anoopji – Great. Another of your definitive biography written in your own inimitable style. Very informative about the actress and well crafted. I have seen all the movies except Intaqam and many more not on your list of ten songs. I give below a few of the songs from a few movies :

    Manmauji (1962) – Rajindra Krishan/Madan Mohan combination and Lata Mangeshkar completing the circuit
    Mein to tum sangh nain milake sadhna

    Another sweet song – Chanda ja re ja

    Ek Musafir Ek Haseena (1962) – Shevan Rizvi/O P Nayyar – Asha Bhonsle
    Meri Nazren Haseen

    A typical OPN composition with usual instruments

    Dulha Dulhan (1964) – Anand Bakshi/Kalyanji Anandji – Lata Mangeshkar

    Humne Tujh ko pyar kiya (Female Version)

    Raaj Kumar (1964) – Shailendra/Shankar Jaikishan – Lata Mangeshkar
    Aaja Aayi Bahar dil hai

    All songs from my memory.


  5. Dr. Anup,
    An excellent tribute to Sadhana, one of my all-time favorite actresses, with a nice list of her songs.
    Sadhana always stood out for her beauty, grace, style and her fashion statements. She could portray both a simple girl as well as a sophisticated rich lady effortlessly.
    I also believe that her acting style was much more natural than most of the other actresses of the 60s who were often more dramatic.

    A good number of melodious and popular songs were picturized on her, many of which are my favorites.
    I am fond of both of her solos from Waqt. You have posted one.
    Here’s the second one. – Chehre pe khushi chha jaati hai
    This, according to me, is the quintessential piano song as she is playing the piano throughout the song.


  6. Christmas celebrations yesterday made me late for this party! 🙂 Lovely selection of songs, Anupji. I love Sadhana too – she was such a fine actress, and so gorgeous. Plus, of course, she had some truly wonderful songs picturised on her, many of which you’ve already listed. I also like Mila hai kisi ka jhumka, Aji roothkar ab kahaan jaaiyega and Humne tujhko pyaar kiya hai


    1. Merry Christmas to you and your family Madhuji.
      Thank you for the appreciation.
      Sadhana really had a number of wonderful songs picturised on her. Thanks for adding beautiful songs.
      Mila Hai Kisi Ka Jhumka is my particular favourite!

      here’s Aji roothkar Ab


  7. Some lovely songs there, Anupji! My favourite is Mere Man Ke Diye from Parakh. There is a Rafi song from the film Amaanat that I love which is picturized on Sadhana and Manoj Kumar.

    I must however say that I loved her look more in the black and white films.


  8. Dr. Anup,

    Wishing you and all the readers of MMM a very Happy, healthy and Prosperous New Year!!

    Posting a Sadhana song from the mid-70s, towards the end of her career.
    Vandana 1975
    Aap ki inayaten aap ke karam – Lata – Ravi – Anjaan

    Paired with Parikshit Sahani, Sadhana still looks good, but older and her eyes showing evidence of her illness.
    Still, the song, which begins as a piano song, is a reasonably nice number.


    1. Dr Rajesh,
      Thank you for your wishes. Happy New Year to you and your family.
      Thank you for sharing the song from Vandana. I came across it while I was researching for Ravi posts. It’s a beautiful song, though I agree, Sadhana had lost her charm.
      Destiny was so cruel to her, her eyes were her strength and the thyroid problem attacked it. It was do unfortunate! I always feel very bad for her.


  9. A belated Merry Christmas and a very happy new year to you and yours, Anupji. Sadhana was one of my favourite heroines from the 60s, and I love all the songs you listed. Some of my other favourites are Main to tum sang nain milaake, Hum ne tujhko pyaar kiya hai kitna, Jo hum ne dastaan apni sunaayi and Nainon mein badra chhaaye.


    1. Thank you for your wishes Anuji. Wish you belated merry Christmas and happy new year to you and yours.

      So nice to see you Anuji after a long time.
      You have shared so beautiful songs. Thank you so much for that.


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