Vidya Sinha, Ladki Cyclewali!


Ladki Cyclewali- Vidya Sinha represented girl next door

What a coincidence!

She was born on 15th of November and passed away on 15th August. She was born in year when Bharat got independence. She passed away in year and month when Bharat got real independence when article 370 and 35-A was removed by strong Narendra Modi government and Jammu-Kashmir and Laddakh got integrated in real sense!

I am talking about Vidya Sinha! Perhaps new generation people knows only one Vidya- i.e. Vidya Balan. But Vidya Sinha was center of attraction in her time. Yes, she was not so big star such as Hema Malini, Rekha, Reena Roy and others. But her roles and specially songs that picturised on her, are memorable. I talk most of time about songs and music when I write tribute, because I think whenever we will listen hindi songs, hero and heroine face come in our mind.

Vidyajee was daughter of producer Pratap S. Rana. His real name is Rana Pratap Singh. He was son in law of produce-director Mohan Sinha. So question arises in our mind that why not Vidya Rana and why Vidya Sinha? Story behind name is like this: Vidya’s father Pratap S. Rana had produced two films namely Vidya and Jeet. Dev Anand and Suraiya was common factor in both films. Her nana Mohan Sinha had produced 32 films and had introduced actors who later became famous villain of Hindi Film industry like Madan Puri and Jeevan. He also gave Madhubala her screen name in Mere Bhagwan. Vidya was only child and her mother died when she was child. Then after her father married again. So her nana brought Vidya up. Her name was given in memory of mother-same name.

Vidya’s father and Nana, both didn’t want her to enter in Hindi film industry. Perhaps because they knew reality of industry as both were from the industry. But her luck and our luck to watch her on big screen was calling her. So destiny called her. She became Miss Bombay (at that time Bombay was not renamed as Mumbai). Actually behind her winning this beauty constest was her aunt who forced her to participate. Modelling followed then. She appeared in Colgate, Liption Tea, Khatau Fabrics ads. Vidya was married to Tamilian Brahman Venkateshwaran Iyer in 1968. Both were neighbours and fell in love. I guess her maternal grand father Mohan Sinha might have sigh of relief because he didn’t want Vidyajee to enter in film industry and Hindi film industry had unwritten rule that actor or actress are not accepted by audience if they come to know that actor or actress is married. If you remember, Aamir Khan kept it secret for some time that he was married. At her marriage time, Vidya was only 21!

But destiny wanted her to enter in film industry so that she can entertain us. So she made Basu Chatterjee nimitt (loosely translated as cause or medium) to bring Vidya in film industry. Basu Chatterjee saw her ads and made her actress of ‘Rajanigandha’ (1974). But ‘Rajanigandha’ was not first film she signed. It was ‘Raja Kaka’ which released after ‘Rajanigandha’ and went unnoticed. However, ‘Rajanigandha’ was noticed.

Vidya Sinha and Amol Palekar in Chhoti Si Baat

In this film, Amol Palekar was hero. Film had simple story and centered on only three charactors played by Dinesh Thakur other than Amol and Vidya. It won Filmfare awards. This film typecasted Vidya as middle class heroine which has no glamourous look but yet she is attractive. As middle class heroine, she wore simple yet good looking saree-blouse or dresses, acting as shy, good sense of humour, romantic and above all girl next door type of characters.

At that time, ‘Rajanigandha’ fared well at box office. It was low budget film. So low that it was made in just Rs. 2 Lakh. She was paid Rs. 10,000 for this film, as she told in her interiew to They had no make up rooms and vanity vans in those days.

Vidya Sinha didn’t get big budget films

Coming from such film industry background, Vidyajee might have big budget films from top grade producer and directors in her basket, but some how it didn’t happen so. May be due to her simple and not-so-glamrous look. After ‘Rajanigandha’ she had worked in comedy film ‘Chhoti Si Baat’, social drama ‘Tumhare Liye’, ‘Pati Patni Aur Woh’. In ‘Chhoti Si Baat’, she played a working unmarried young girl who was center of attraction for two colleagues and both were trying to win her. In Gulzar’s ‘Kitab’ she played Master Rajoo’s sister. She played wife of Shashi Kapoor and Sanjeev Kumar in ‘Mukti’ film. Young generation may know ‘Tu Mungada’ because of Sonakshi Sinha featured in its remix version in ‘Total Dhamaal’. But original song was of film ‘Inkaar’ (1977). In this supense thriller film, Vidya Sinha’s role was good as Inspector Vinod Khanna’s lover.  In social comedy ‘Pati Patni Aur Woh’ she played wife of Sanjeevkumar with whom she has love marriage but then Sanjeev Kumar flirts with her office colleague.  In South Bharatiya inspired Hindi film ‘Swayamvar’ she played daughter who is ill treated by her step mother. So in this film also, she was in de-glam look. I think as main heroine ‘Swayamvar’ is last film. Then after her film such as Kumar Gaurav’s ‘Love Story’ in which she played character artist role mother of heroine Vijayata Pandit. So after appearing in first film in 1974 (Rajanigandha), she accpeted mother’s role in film ‘Love Story’ (1981). It is said any hero or heroine rules over box office for 10 years.

It is upon fans to decide whether it was correct or not correct to reject offer of Raj Kapoor for ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’! Yes, it is true. Vidya’s maternal grandfather and Raj Kapoor’s father Prithviraj Kapoor worked in ‘Shri Krishnarjun Yuddh’ which is said to be first multi star film. So both families had good relations, but Vidya didn’t feel comfortable to play role of Roopa who is good singer but has ugly face. Reason of rejection for Vidya was that she thought she couldn’t wear clothes like those Zeenat Aman wore afterwards in film. However, not that all in her films she played sidhi sadi ladki and similar songs. In ‘Josh’, Vidya looked not only glamrous, but seductress too.

Then afterwards Vidya also walked on her father’s path and produced serials such as ‘Simhasan Battisi’ and ‘Darar’. She also produced two region language films ‘Bijli’ (Marathi) and ‘Jivi Rabaran’ (Gujarati). Banner was ‘Vidya Films’ and in Gujarati film she acted too in lead role.

After Iyer’s death in 1996, she shifted to Sydney and had quit acting for some time and entered into a wedlock with Bhimrao Salunkhe, a doctor, in a temple ceremony in year 2001. So after marrying in 1966, she remarried after 33 years!

They lived in a flat in Andheri west, but soon afterwards the marriage soured with her husband allegedly torturing her and demanding money, resulting in a police case which she subsequently won. They got divorced in 2009.

Vidya made a comeback in television serials like ‘Kavyanjali’, ‘Bahu Rani’, ‘Zaara’, ‘Bhabhi’ and her most recent show ‘Kulfi Kumar Bajewala’. She was also seen in the 2011 Salman Khan’s ‘Bodyguard’ in which she played character of Bua (aunty).

Earlier in the week, Vidya was put on ventilator support in the hospital in Mumbai. She was diagnosed with lung disorder a while ago and her condition had become worse since three months. The disorder had originated a few years ago and Vidya was brought in while she was in a serious condition. She died in Criticare Hospital, Juhu at 12 noon on 15th August. She is survived by a daughter Jhanvi.

She was 71 years old. She was as old as our Bharat nation after independence from British rule. Her soul may have got independence from her body, but we will not get independence from her sweet memories as middle class heroine and her songs. May Prabhu bless her soul sadgati!

Sing her songs:
1. Rajanigandha phool tumhare (Rajanigandha)
2. Kai baar yun bhi dekha hai (Rajanigandha)
3. Janeman janeman tere do nayan (Chhoti Si Baat)
4. Naa jane kyun hota hai ye zindagi ke sath (Chhoti Si Baat)
5. Maine dekha tujhe tune dekha mujhe (Karm) (Even those who present R D Burman songs day and night on fm radio stations, don’t play this song as they know only some famous songs, but according to me this is unknown jewel)
6. Samay tu dheere dheere chal (Karm)
7. Lalla lalla lori dudh ki katori (Mukti)
8. Suhani Chandani Rate (Mukti)
9. Thande thande pani se (Pati Patni Aur Woh)
10. Ladki cycle wali (Pati Patni Aur Woh)
11. Tumhen dekhti hoon (Tumhare Liye) (This one of the best song of Vidya and also of music director Jaydev. Also it is one of the best Lata Mangeshkar solo songs)

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