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Sadhana: The effervescent fashion icon of Bollywood


Mumbai : One of the most charming heroines of the 1960s and early 70s, Sadhana was not just known for her versatility and effervescent beauty but she also became the first Hindi cine star to have a hairstyle famously named after her.

The 74-year-old actress passed away today at her residence in suburban Santa Cruz after brief illness. She is survived by a foster daughter.

Her prime career spanned over a decade-and-a-half but Sadhana worked with almost all the greats of the Hindi film industry of the time including Dev Anand, Joy Mukherjee, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar and Manoj Kumar.

Her memorable roles include those in “Love in Simla”, “Hum Dono”, ” Asli Naqli”, “Arzoo”, “Mere Mehboob”, “Waqt” and “Woh Kaun Thi.”

Born in a Sindhi family in Karachi, Sadhana Shivdasani was named after her father’s favourite actress-dancer Sadhona Bose. Her father was the brother of actor Hari Shivdasani, father of actress Babita.

Her mother home-schooled her till the age of eight. Sadhana aspired to be an actress since childhood and it was her father who helped her gain entry into the films.

In 1955, she had her first tryst with Bollywood playing a chorus girl in the song “Mur mur ke na dekh mur mur ke” in Raj Kapoor’s “Shree 420″. This song later went on to become a chart buster. She made her full-fledged big-screen debut with the first ever Sindhi film “Abana” in 1958.

She joined producer Sashadhar Mukherjee’s acting school along with her debutante co-star and Mukherjee’s son Joy Mukherjee.

Sadhana married “Love in Simla” director RK Nayyar in 1966.

The romantic film also introduced the actress’s iconic hairstyle, called ‘Sadhana cut’, apparently inspired from Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn.

In the film, which was declared a hit, Sadhana played the role of a simple, bespectacled girl who is transformed by her grandmother into a beautiful woman and encouraged to pursue the hero.

Following that, Sadhana played the role of a simple village girl in Bimal Roy’s multi-award-winning film “Parakh”.

Sadhana starred alongside Dev Anand in “Hum Dono”. The song “Abhi Na Jaao Chodkar” featuring the two actors remains evergreen. She also worked with him in “Asli-Naqli”.

Her other popular films include “Ek Musafir Ek Hasina” opposite Joy Mukherjee and “Mere Mehboob” with Rajendra Kumar.

Her remarkable double role in suspense thriller “Woh Kaun Thi”, opposite Manoj Kumar, earned her first Filmfare nomination as Best Actress. She later played the ‘mystery girl’ in “Mera Saaya” opposite Sunil Dutt.

Sadhana got her second Filmfare nomination as the Best Actress for Yash Chopra’s blockbuster “Waqt” (1965). She stood out in Bollywood’s first ever ensemble cast by bringing along the fashion of tight ‘churidar-kurtas’.

Sadhana suffered from a disorder of her eyes due to hyperthyroidism. After her retirement, she refused to be photographed simply as apparently she wanted to be remembered the way she was.

Sadhana, who lived in a rented apartment in Santacruz area of Mumbai, however, kept in touch with her contemporary actresses Asha Parekh, Waheeda Rehman, Nanda and Helen.

She was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the IIFA in 2002 for her contribution towards the film industry.

Sadhana underwent a surgery last year for a lesion in her mouth.

In a very rare appearance, Sadhana took to the ramp in 2014 for a fashion show by designers Shaina NC and Vikram Phadnis to support the cause of cancer and AIDS patients.

The actress was escorted by Ranbir Kapoor in what was her first experience on the ramp.

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