Aroma of Rajnigandha: Remembering Vidya Sinha
By Khalid Mohamed
Remembering Vidya Sinha , the actor who performed discrete performances, fluent body language, unaffected dialogue and an ethnic wardrobe on his business card
Their manual loom saris were selected from the rows of discount stores in Dadar and Girgaum. At most, he was allowed to apply kajal around his eyes. Makeup and lipstick were strictly prohibited. There are no hairstyles or mocked hairstyles, either. She had to look and behave like the girl next door par excellence of a middle-class colony of the 1970s to 'Rajnigandha' .
The parsimonious budget film, which was traveling between Delhi and Mumbai, established it as a hero who did not require a bit of glamor to get a surprise success when it premiered on September 13, 1974 for limited shows at the Akashwani auditorium in Churchgate in the south Bombay
To date, Vidya Sinha who passed away on Tuesday at 71, after a protracted illness, is called the ‘Rajnigandha’ girl.
This was his second movie. She had already appeared in 'Raja Kaka' alongside Kiran Kumar, an actor who had fallen under the cracks. Ignoring her unfavorable debut, Basu Chatterjee, a film society activist who became a film director, did not audition her for the role of Deepa, a young woman who has to decide between her two suitors, a white-collar worker from Delhi and an extravagant ad Bombay guru, portrayed by Amol Palekar and Dinesh Thakur respectively.
By the way, the role of dying for Deepa had initially been offered to Mallika Sarabhai, who had politely rejected him.
Vidya Sinha, the daughter of film producer Pratap A Rana, who had modeled for fabrics and consumer products, was recommended to Chatterjee who in his patented casual manner had said, “Why not?” Although the director went on to cast frontline heroines, ranging from Hema Malini and Jaya Bachchan to Neetu Singh and Tina Munim, he collaborated with Vidya time and again through «Chhoti Si Baat» , 'Tumhare Liye' and 'Safed Jhooth', not forgetting a cameo in 'Jeena Yahan', which the author has often mentioned as his best work.
Chatterjee at age 89 is bed-ridden and cannot remember things easily, states his filmmaker-daughter Rupali Guha. Speaking on his behalf, she points out, “Dad was never demonstrative or given to praising anyone. But he considered Vidya as an actor he could depend on. Since she considered him a mentor, she immediately agreed to act in my TV serial 'Ishq Ka Rang Safed'. I always found her to be an extrovert and she treated me like a baby who’d watch her with round eyes at the shoot of 'Rajnigandha'. ”
The 'Rajnigandha' girl had acted in almost 20 films, and nine TV serials, kicking off with 'Kkavyanjali'. She was last seen in the Salman Khan-starrer 'Bodyguard' and in the series 'Kullfi Kumarr Bajewala'. The transition of the status of the protagonist to the typical maa who twists her hands and then, the grandmother, was not exactly easy, perhaps because she had resettled in Australia for almost a decade.
By the end of 1986, the roles were reduced to a drip. His childhood neighborhood girlfriend, Venkateshwaran Iyer, whom he had married, died in 1996. He then moved to Sydney, where after chatting online, he married Dr. Netaji Bhimrao Salunkhe in 2001. Eight years later, He filed a complaint against him for physical problems. and mental and divorced torture. The actor, with his daughter Jhanvi, returned to start life again in an apartment in Andheri.
Low-key performances, an infectious smile, fluid body language, an unaffected dialogue delivery and an ethnic wardrobe were her calling card. Besides the interpretation of a girl who’s charmed by the scent of tube-roses in 'Rajnigandha', her other impactful performances were evidenced in BR Chopra’s «Pati Patni Aur Woh» , 'Inkaar' by Raj N Sippy, and in 'Kitaab' and 'Meera' by Gulzar.
Gulzar recalled: “Vidya and I enjoyed working with Uttam Kumar in 'Kitaab'. That was a lovely trip that comes back to me today. In 'Meera', the main role was that of Hema Malini, of course, Vidya represented her sister with grace. She was a directing actress, sincere with the script of the last letter and the punctuation mark. It would be friendly on set with assistants, helpers and technicians. I wonder if that quality still exists today. We will always miss his unbridled joy for life. She had a doodhiya (milky) laugh. Every time he laughed, you had to laugh with her.
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