The legendary-in-her-own-right actress Mala Sinha who has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement award at the Filmfare awards 2018, is not overjoyed at the belated recognition.
“Do you know,I’ve never won a Filmfare award before this? During my heydays I was nominated several times.In fact I’d be nominated almost every year during the 1960s. But for reasons unknown to me the award always went to some other actress. I remember in 1965 I was nominated for two very contrasting roles in Jahan Ara and Himalay Ki GodeMein. The then-editor of Filmfare B K Karanjia told me to come for the function as I was the most likely winner for either of my performance. I excitedly got up in the morning to put together my clothes and accessories. But when it came to getting the award in the evening, it went to Vyjanthimalaji for Sangam…Another time, another year again, I was told byKaranjia Saab that I was likely to be awarded for Bahurani. But the award went to Meenajifor Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam.”
Malaji says it’s not as though she has lost faith in the awards in recent times. “It was always like that. My best performances in films like Dharmputra, Dhool Ka Phool(where I played an unwed mother), Gumrah , Bahurani and Jahan Ara were never recognized. For Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa my difficult role of a girl who sacrifices love for financial security in her marriage was ignored as a ‘negative’ character. My reward came many years later whenMahesh Bhatt Saab praised me in Pyaasa for conveying so many emotions through my eyes.”
The actress feels she has always been given a raw deal in the hall of recognition says she feels no regret for having failed to get awards during her career. “Nowadays there are at least 10-12 awards functions. They mean nothing.Even when awards meant something they were manipulated .My Baba(father) always told me I should be happy with the recognition and fame that I get. I never wooed the awards or asked journalists to write about me. I never knew how to do my own promotion. Maybe that’s why I got left behind.”
Not that Malaji is not happy about being recognized for her work. “Der aaye durustaaye(better late than never…I wanted to say this in my thankyou speech for the Filmfareaward for lifetime achievement which I finally got after actors and actresses who came much after me , got it. I have been working since 1957. Actresses who came long after me were given the Lifetime achievement award much before me. Thankfully they thought of me while I am still alive. And I’m grateful to have got it.But I still wonder why I was never recognized for my best performances.Was I not as good as my contemporaries?”