|Other Name(s)||• Sadhana
• The Mystery Girl DNA
• Film producer
• Film director
|Famous for||‘Sadhana hair cut’|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters– 168 cm
in meters– 1.68 m
in feet & inches– 5’ 6”
|Debut Film||Love in Simla (as a lead actress in 1960)|
|Last Film||Ulfat Ki Nayee Manzeelein (1994)|
|Award||She received IIFA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.|
|Date of Birth||2 September 1941 (Tuesday)|
|Birthplace||Karachi, Sind, British India (present-day Sindh, Pakistan)|
|Date of Death||25 December 2015|
|Place of Death||Mumbai, Maharashtra, India|
|Age (at the time of death)||74 Years|
|Death Cause||Cancer India Times|
|School||Auxilium Convent High School, Wadala, Mumbai|
|College||Jai Hind College, Mumbai|
|Educational Qualification(s)||• She did her school studies at home till at the age of 8 yearsEnglish News and afterthat attended Auxilium Convent High School, Wadala, Mumbai
• She completed her higher education at Jai Hind College, Mumbai, Maharashtra.
|Relationships & More|
|Marital Status (at the time of death)||Widow|
|Marriage Date||7 March 1966
|Husband||R.K. Nayyar (director, producer and screenwriter)
|Children||She had no children. Urban Asian|
Some Lesser Known Facts About Sadhana Shivdasani
- Sadhana Shivdasani, popularly known as ‘Sadhana’ in the Indian film industry, was one of the most successful Bollywood actresses whose acting career spanned between 1960 and 1981. Sadhana was ranked as the highest-paid actress in the industry from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. Sadhana was popular as “The Mystery Girl” in the Indian film industry for portraying mysterious characters in films, mostly directed by Raj Khosla (one of the acclaimed directors, producers, and screenwriters in Hindi films from the 1950s to the 1980s).
- Sadhana was born in Karachi, and when she was seven-years-old, during the post-partition riots in Pakistan, Sadhana and her family migrated to Bombay, Maharashtra, India.
- In an interview, Sadhana said that Raj Khosla who directed her in the maximum number of films had become a sort of family member to her. She said that Raj Khosla knew her strengths and weaknesses as an actress, and she felt comfortable working with him. She said,
On director Raj Khosla who directed her in the maximum number of films: “He had become a sort of family friend, and he knew my strengths and weaknesses as an actress. I felt comfortable working with him. We vibed well together.”
- Reportedly, Sadhana was the only child of her parents. Sadhana was named by her father after his favourite actress-dancer Sadhana Bose (an Indian actress and a dancer). Sadhana’s father was the elder brother of actor Hari Shivdasani, father of veteran actress Babita Kapoor. Apparently, Sadhana was highly inspired to become a film actress in future; however, in childhood, Sadhana was allowed to watch as many as two films only. Some Indian producers who had seen her acting skills in a college play approached her when she was 15 years old. Sadhana played the role of Sheila Ramani’s younger sister in India’s first Sindhi film titled Abaana in 1958.
- In an interview, Sadhana remembered veteran actress Nutun and said that Nutan was her inspiration to become an actress in the Indian film industry. She declared,
If there was an actress I modelled myself in the lines of it was the versatile Nutan in ‘Seema’, ‘Sujata’ and ‘Bandini’. ‘Parakh’ was a film where I really followed Nutan.”
- Sadhana made her unnoticed appearance in the Indian movie Shree 420 as a chorus dancer girl in the song “Mur mur ke na dekh mur mur ke” in 1955. Shivdasani was guided and supported by the Indian director Sashadhar Mukherjee who enrolled her in his acting school. In 1960, Sashadhar Mukherjee provided Sadhana with her first starring role in the romantic comedy movie Love In Shimla.
- In the 1950s, Sadhana acted as a child artist in four films in the Indian film industry.
- Reportedly, in 1958, at Filmalaya Studio (an Indian acting school in Mumbai), the veteran Indian actor Dev Anand noticed a bubbling, spontaneous young girl with highly expressive eyes and a beautiful smile, Sadhana. Dev Anand met and complemented Sadhana that she would do big in her career in the future, and apparently, his prediction came true, and Sadhana became the ruling queen of Bollywood cinema in the 1960s. Dev Anand told Sadhana,
You are a very pretty girl. You will make it really big as an actress.”
- In 1955, Sadhana’s photograph appeared on an Indian movie magazine, ‘Screen,’ while publicizing the movie Shree 420. Sashadhar Mukherjee (one of Hindi cinema’s leading producers at that time), noticed her at that time. R.K. Nayyar, who directed the movie ‘Love In Shimla,’ created her trademark look with a fringe haircut. Sadhana’s distinctive hairstyle became a rage, and it came to be popularly known as “Sadhana hair cut” after her debut movie as a leading actress in Love In Simla in 1960. The ‘Sadhana hair cut’ was inspired by the British actress Audrey Hepburn.
- After the huge success of the film Love In Simla in 1960, Sadhana established herself with several hits in the Indian film industry, including the comedy films Parakh (1960) and Asli-Naqli (1962), the war film Hum Dono (1961), and the adventurous film Ek Musafir Ek Haseena (1962). She gave intense performances in the songs like ‘Naina Barse’ and ‘Lag Ja Gale,’ which became sensational globally.
- In 1960, Sadhana was signed by veteran Indian film director Bimal Roy for his film on Indian democracy. In the movie Parakh, she acted as a simple village girl. This movie was a multi-award-winning film and a semi-hit at the box office. The movie Parakh was popularly known for the song “O Sajna Barkha Bahar Aai,” which was sung by Lata Mangeshkar.
- Sadhana did one Oriya film titled “Stree,” which was released in 1968. The movie ‘Stree’ became a commercial success at the box office.
- In 1963, Sadhana did the movie Mere Mehboob with Indian veteran actor Rajendra Kumar. One of the scenes from the film where Rajendra Kumar had to see Sadhna for the first time through her burqa. This scene was considered one of the most remarkable scenes in Hindi Cinema.
- Supposedly, once, stunned Danny Denzongpa described the facial expression of Sadhana in a burqa, in the movie, Mere Mehboob, as “unforgettable!”
- In 1964, Sadhana acted with Guru Dutt in the film “Picnic.” Evidently, it was left incomplete due to Dutt’s untimely death.
- In 1964, Sadhana received the Filmfare nominations for her absolute performance in the movies, Woh Kaun Thi and Waqt. In the latter half of the 1960s, her health deteriorated due to the disease hyperthyroidism, which affected her much-admired eyes. She got treated in Boston, US. Consequently, her bad health conditions forced her to take a small break from the movies. Shivdasani resumed her acting career in 1969, and she reappeared as a leading actress in two straight hit movies – Ek Phool Do Maali and Inteqam. However, these films remained unpopular with the audience.
- Seemingly, in 1965, in an incident, during the shooting of the movie Waqt, Sadhana slipped in the water around the outdoor shower, and her co-star veteran actor Sunil Dutt helped her.
Later, after the slipping incident, they went to take the shower, and Sunil was about to enter the women’s shower, however; Sadhana interrupted and stopped Sunil Dutt by saying that he was entering the wrong door, i.e., the blue door.
- On 7 March 1966, Sadhana got married to her Love in Simla director Ram Krishna Nayyar. Their love blossomed on the film sets. Her parents opposed it because she was very young then, and her parents wanted someone who looked like Indian actor Rajendra Kumar. The couple was married for thirty years. In 1955, Ram Krishna Nayyar died from asthma. The couple had no children.
- In an interview, Sadhana said that her marriage was a hurricane and a mixture of good and bad moments. She explained,
My marriage was a hurricane, there were good and bad moments, but we didn’t part ways. If he felt that I was too dominating and I felt that he brought too many friends home, we decided to give each other space.”
- In 1974, Sadhana set up a production company along with her husband, Ram Krishna Nayyar. They mutually produced the movie ‘Geeta Mera Naam’ under her banner. It was produced by her husband, Ram Krishna Nayyar, along with the veteran Indian actors Sunil Dutt and Feroz Khan. In 1989, she produced the movie ‘Pati Parmeshwar’ starring Dimple Kapadia. As an independent dance director, it was Saroj Khan‘s first film.
- In 1974, Sadhana made the crime thriller movie ‘Geeta Mera Naam,’ and it was her directorial debut. Later on, due to her deteriorating health conditions, she withdrew from her acting career. Shivdasani’s final screen appearance was in the movie ‘Ulfat Ki Nayee Manzeelein’ in 1994.
- Evidently, Sadhana was one of the few actresses in the Indian cinema who gave 28 hit films out of the total 33 films that she did in her acting career, and only 7 were flops. Reportedly, Sadhana never won any big award, though she was one of the leading heroines of the 1960s in Bollywood. In an interview, Sadhana said that the actresses who did win the awards were her close friends, but she personally never regretted the fact and continued to be in touch with them.
- Ostensibly, Sadhana will forever be remembered for Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhosle’s duet song “Abhi Na Jaao Chodkar,” which is an evergreen song, apart from all the films that she has done.
- In an interview, Sadhana revealed her life post-retirement from films, and she jokingly narrated that she took massage in her free time and went to clubs and play cards. She remarked,
I do gardening for two hours in the morning. Then sometimes I take a massage. After lunch, I go to the club and play cards. In the evening I watch TV. I also have a group of non-filmi friends.”
- Apparently, Sadhana did not like to attend funerals because she hated them. She visited the widow of Yash Chopra privately when her Waqt (1965) director Yash Chopra died. When her film Dil Daulat Duniya (1972)’s leading actor Rajesh Khanna died, she did the same by visiting Rajesh Khanna’s widow Dimple Kapadia.
- Reportedly, Sadhana was fluent in speaking several languages, including Sindhi (her mother tongue), Hindi, and English.
- In an interview, Sadhana revealed her regrets in her life, and she stated that losing her baby was one of them. She said,
I have very few regrets — losing my baby was one of them.”
- In an interview, Sadhana said that her husband, R. K. Nayyar, told her that she had three styles of voice. She narrated the incident,
Nayyarsaab told me, ‘You have three voices. One is your natural everyday voice, another voice that you use to scream at me, and the third is the voice you have cultivated for the screen.”
- Reportedly, in 1960, Sadhana was bound by a three-year contract to the Indian Filmalaya studio for the movie Love In Shimla. It is said that for the first year, she was paid 750 rupees a month, and for the second year, 1500 rupees a month, and for the last year, 3000 rupees a month. In 1963, when the contract ended with the studio, Sadhana commanded top money for her next films.
- In an interview, Sadhana said that Rajesh Khanna, Manoj Kumar, and Dev Anand were her favourite co-stars. She stated that the actor Rajendra Kumar produced the movie ‘Aap Aaye Bahar Aayee’ with her. She said,
Rajendra Kumar , Devanad and Rajesh Khanna were my favorite co-stars. Rajendra Kumar and my pair always gave hits – Mere Mehboob, Arzoo, Aap Aaye Bahar Aayee. Raj Khosla remains my favourite director. Ek Phool Do Mali, Anita, Mera Saaya, Woh Kaun Thi…each of them blockbusters. Dev was always special – Asli Naqli and Hum Dono were blockbusters. In 1970s at peak of his career superstar Rajesh Khanna accepted comedy picture Dil Daulat Duniya which was a sleeper hit. That was very gracious of him. Lucky to have 28 blockbusters of 33 films as heroine. I thank God for giving me a good spouse R.K Nayyar.”
- Reportedly, Sadhana’s elder sister Sarla was once married to a man named Bhagwan Thadani. He wanted to become an actor. The rumoured story was that Bhagwan Thadani married Sarla only with the hope that Sadhana would promote and launch him in the Indian film industry. Later on, Bhagwan Thadani divorced Sadhana’s elder sister Sarla.
- After the death of Sadhana’s husband in 1995, Sadhna was left alone. Reportedly, she lived in an old bungalow in Mumbai in the last days of her life. This bungalow belonged to Asha Bhosle.
- In an Interview, Sadhana denied the affairs she had with her co-stars. She stated that her co-stars were all married, and she was too busy working from 9.30 am to 6 pm. She explained that she felt too tired and had no time for a social life. She declared,
The problem was they were all married – Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, Sunil Dutt, Manoj Kumar, Rajendra Kumar. We worked from 9.30 am to 6 pm. By the time I returned home, removed the spray from my hair and washed off the make-up, I was too tired. There was no time for a social life. It was strictly work and home. My heroes also knew I was a no nonsense girl. They were scared to make a pass at me. I enjoyed working with all my heroes though Sunil Dutt, Shammi Kapoor and Rajendra Kumar were my favorites.”
- In an interview, in 2012, Sadhana said that she had the fear that no one was around her because she had no children, and her husband already died. She further added that she had adopted a baby and also invited the child’s parents to live along with her. She explained,
Yes, I do fear that if something happens to me, no one would be around. But even those who have children can’t depend on them. I know so many mothers who’re distressed about their children and daughters-in-law, that I think God has been kind to me. I’ve adopted (though not officially) a baby when she was five minutes old. She and her parents live with me. Her name is Rhea and she’s 10 now. She’s added a zing to my life. I don’t expect anything from her yet she gives me so much love. She calls me Nani. I’ve planned for her education and marriage.”
- In an interview, Sadhana explained how she, along with her family, came to India from Pakistan and settled down in Mumbai in 1950. She stated that she liked whiskey with coke while roaming around the Mumbai beach. She said,
After the India-Pakistan Partition in 1947, my family came to India. I was only six years old. We moved from Delhi to Benaras to Calcutta before settling down in Mumbai in 1950. Now, I can’t imagine living without the Mumbai sea. In Mumbai, people give you space and yet rally around in your hour of need. Besides, it’s the only place where, even in the ’60s I could announce that I wanted a whiskey with coke without raising eyebrows.”
- On discussing her image as a ‘Mystery Girl,’ Sadhana, in a conversation with a media house, said that an artist should maintain a certain mystique character in his/her personal life. She said,
I have always believed that an artist should maintain a certain mystique. He or she shouldn’t become too familiar, the public shouldn’t see them too often. The charisma grows in that way, and that’s what’s called star-power.”
- In an interview, while discussing her thyroid problem Sadhana said that Mr Rawail (an Indian director and producer) told her that he would wait for her in making the movie Sunghursh as she had to take a rest because she was coping with the thyroid disease. She narrated the incident,
After I signed Sunghursh (1968), my thyroid problem cropped up. So I called Mr. Rawail and told him to sign another heroine. Mr. Rawail dismissed it with, “If I could wait so long for you for Mere Mehboob (1963), I can wait for Sunghursh too.” However, five days later, I read a huge ad in the Screen newspaper declaring Vyjayanthimala as the heroine of the film. It hurt. I didn’t talk to Mr. Rawail thereafter.”
- Reportedly, Sadhana received ‘Sindhi Apsara Award’ for her deep beauty during her acting career in the Indian film industry.
- In 2013, in an interview, Sadhana stated that she kept in touch with actresses such as Asha Parekh, Waheeda Rehman, Nanda, and Helen Jairag Richardson. However, Sadhana did not keep in touch with her first cousin Babita. She asserted,
There were three of us, Saira Banu, Asha Parekh and me. If the producers wanted someone pretty and decorative they took Saira. If they wanted a dancer they’d take Asha, if they wanted histrionics they’d sign me. So there was no rivalry. Asha and I kept in touch. We’d wish each other on our birthdays. But today Waheeda Rehman, Asha, Nanda, Helen and I meet regularly over lunches. When five ladies meet we always have something to talk about. Nanda and I are two of a kind, we don’t step out at public events at all.”
- In 2014, Sadhana walked the ramp alongside Ranbir Kapoor and made a rare appearance for an AIDS and cancer awareness program. Apparently, serious health issues forced Sadhana to become covert; therefore, she avoided making public appearances.
- In 2014, Sadhana underwent major thyroid surgery. It was a piece of shocking news for her close friends. Asha Parekh, along with Waheeda Rehman, stated that they were shocked to hear that their dear friend, Sadhana, had undergone such a critical medical process. Asha Parekh said,
I had no clue of Sadhana’s surgery, though we did suspect something was wrong when Sadhana suddenly lost huge amounts of weight. Waheeda and I expressed concern she explained as the result of a new diet. But now I realize she was hiding her medical condition.”
- In an interview, after Sadhana’s death in 2015, Sadhana’s lawyer Ameet Mehta mentioned that Sadhana was unhappy to attend court at old age. Ameet narrated that there were three primary cases involving the late actress. Indian Express She said,
Sadhana told me that all these legal matters were stressing her out along with her ill health and advanced age.”
- In 2015, Sadhana’s old friend Tabassum (an Indian film actress) was heartbroken at the funeral of Sadhana. She revealed that Sadhana was very ill and sad. Tabassum told the media person that none from the Indian film industry bothered to help and support Sadhana during her suffering days. She remarked,
People from Bollywood come in trooping when there is some celebration but they never bother to find out what is happening in someone’s life. Are they happy or not. She requested many from the industry to help her as she couldn’t handle her failing health and legal matters but none came forward. She didn’t have any relatives. Seeing that none from the industry is coming forward, she even requested her fans to help her. But regret that there was nobody to help her.”
- In 2018, Sadhna’s personal stuff like letters, photographs, and notes was found with a scrap dealer in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Later, the Film Heritage Foundation (an NGO) claimed the stuff. She died on 25 December 2015.
- In an interview, when Sadhana’s movie “Hum Dono” with veteran actor Dev Anand screened coloured on the Indian cinema screens, Sadhana commented with a smile on her face that she would definitely watch the coloured version of her movie. She said,
No, I will never come in public eye for this event but will definitely watch the film in colour to view how Dev, Nanda, myself and the entire film appears.”