Sadhana had it all: beauty, grace, elegance ,style, and a rare talent to underplay her part during an era when overstatement was in vogue. A rare mystique and an impish charm defined Sadhana’s onscreen personality until disease decimated her exquisite looks.
Nonethless she struggled on giving hits even after her health deteriorated and beauty faded.It’s hard to pick Sadhana’s best. She was so consistently likeable. But here goes.
1. Prem Patra(1962): Two years after her debut as a leading lady in the musical hit Love In Simla(directed by future husband R K Nayyar) the great Bimal Roy cast Sadhana as the simple salawar-kameez clad girl who looks after her beloved Shashi Kapoor after he loses his eyesight in an accident. Many would prefer Sadhana in Bimal Roy’s Parakh which came a year earlier and in Vijay Anand’s Hum Dono which was released during the same year as Prem Patra. But the Sadhana mystique in both Parakh and Hum Dono is based on the enchanting songs(O sajana barkha bahaar , Mere Mann ke Diye, Mila Hai kissika jhumka in Parakh, Abhi na jao chhod kar and Allah tero naam in Hum Dono). If you really want to see Sadhana’s true caliber as a naturalistic actress see her in Prem Patra. Lata Mangeshkar’s songs Ab aur na kuch bhi yaad raha,Saawan ki raaton mein, Yeh mere andhere ujale na hote seemed designed for that exquisite face.
2. Mere Mehboob(1963): Between 1961 and 1965 Sadhana starred in several super success such as Hum Dono, Ek Musafir Ek Hasina, Raj Kumar, Woh Kaun Thi, Waqt and Arzoo. But none of these was as big a blockbuster as Mere Mehboob.Although a mediocre Muslim Social, Mere Mehboob went a long in amplifying the Sadhana Mystique. Playing the beauteous Husna Banu , Sadhana was every inch the veiled enigmatic beauty. For a very long time her fans thought she was a Muslim in real life too. Unlike Mala Sinha who played Muslim characters repeatedly Sadhana was part of only one Muslim Social. But the impact was reverberant and everlasting. The songs Mere mehboob tujhe meri mohabbat ki qasam and Tere pyar mein dildar added to the Sadhana Mystique.
3. Woh Kaun Thi(1964): The ethereal spirit roaming the night in a white saree singing Naina barse rimjhim rimjhim. This became the signature –image of Sadhana’s career. So enamoured was director Raj Khosla of the Sadhana Mystique that he cast her once again as the ‘Kaun’ girl in Mera Saaya and Anita, with less satisfying results.
4. Arzoo(1965): Bringing the Mere Mehboob pair together again, Arzoo featured Sadhana as a woman who would go to any lengths for her beloved.So when Rajendra Kumar loses a leg she offers to lose one too.Forget the story. Just focus on that chic Sadhana haircut, one of the ‘fringe’ benefits of being born with a wide forehead, and the tight salwar and kameez ensemble which girl in the 60s embraced enthusiastically. Lata Mangeshkar’s Bedardi balma tujhko mera mann yaad karta hai and Ajee rooth kar abb kahan jayeyiga made the Sadhana Mystique so much more alluring.Sadhana teamed up one more time with Rajendra Kumar in Aap Aaye Bahaar Ayee and that too was a hit.
5. Inteqaam(1969): A very powerful story that I keep asking my friend Sanjay Bhansali to remake, Inteqaam featured Sadhana as a woman on a vendetta spree against the family that ruined her father. Sadhana’s devoted husband R K Nayyar directed the film which boasts of one of Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s best soundtracks. Geet tere saaz ka, Aa jaan-e- ja, Kaise rahun chup and Hum tumhare liye topped the charts for months.Interestingly Sadhana did two films Inteqaam and Ek Phool Do Mali with Sanjay Khan in 1969. Both were superhits.
Sadhana’s Top 10
1. O sajana barkha bahaar aye: Lata Mangeshkar(Parakh)
2. Lag ja gale se: Lata Mangeshkar (Woh Kaun Thi)
3. Jhumka gira re: Asha Bhosle(Mera Saaya)
4. Abhi na jao chhod kar: Asha Bhosle/Mohd Rafi(Hum Dono)
5. Main toh tum sang nain milake: Lata mangeshkar(Manmauji)
6. Tera mera pyar amar: Lata Mangeshkar(Asli Naqli)
7. Aaja aye bahaar: Lata Mangeshkar(Raj Kumar)
8. Kaise rahun chup: Lata Mangeshkar(Inteqam)
9. Ajee rooth kar abb kahan jaayiyega : Lata Mangeshkar(Arzoo)
10. Suniye zara dekhiya na: Lata Mangeshkar(Geeta Mera Naam)