The actress had a short but glorious innings as a leading lady.
Vidya Sinha, who lit up many of Basu Chatterjee’s rom-coms in the 1970s and 80s, is no more. She breathed her last in a Mumbai hospital on August 15.
The actress had a short but glorious innings as a leading lady. She was a favourite with two filmmakers B R Chopra and Basu Chatterjee. She did the memorable marital comedy Pati Patni Aur Woh, as well as the disastrous love triangles Karm and Mukti, both produced by B. R. Chopra and directed by his son-in-law Raj Tilak.
It was Basu Chatterjee who gave Vidya her fleeting fling with fame. Chatterjee introduced her in the arthouse hit Rajnigandha in 1974, and followed it up with another success Chhoti Si Baat. It is because of these two films that she is remembered to this day. Vidya went on to do other films directed by Basu Chatterjee, like Tumhare Liye (co-starring Sanjeev Kumar) and Safed Jhooth. But she didn’t find much success in cinema after her initial spurt of nominal art house stardom.
Curiously, she worked with the biggest of directors during her brief spell of stardom in the 1970s, including Gulzar in Kitaab and Meera. But somehow, her career never took off in a big way.
The actress then switched to television, where she played matronly roles in serials like Kkavyanjali, Qubool Hai, and Ishq Ka Rang Safed. But the serials stopped coming her way after a while as well.
In 2009, Vidya had filed a police complaint against her second husband Netaji Bhimrao Sulunkhe, accusing him of torture and extortion. She finally won a long court battle in 2011 for maintenance.
Smiriti Karla says, “It’s a big loss for the film and television industry. As a child I have seen her as a heroine, and then I had the honour of working with her as my Daadi in the TV show Itti Si Khushi. As my onscreen grandmother in the show, I remember gushing when she complimented me for being a fine actress. She was extremely loving and caring. We will miss her presence, but she will live through her films.”
Director Rajan Shahi, who worked with Vidya in a television show, reminisces: “I am extremely sad to know about Vidya ji’s untimely demise. She was an extremely talented actor but most importantly a very good, genuine and down-to-earth person. I remember her very sweet request. When she was cast to play a pivotal role in Itti Si Khushi, she requested me to direct one of her scenes. I had stopped directing for a long time at the time, but could not say no to such a senior and veteran actor. I thought of directing one scene, but seeing her enthusiasm and dedication, I ended up directing the full day. She was extremely warm and created a family bond with all unit and actors. She will be missed and I pray for her departed soul.”