It is impossible to judge a celebrity’s life from what he chooses to broadcast to the world at large. Beneath the perky personalities and sunny smiles, they may be hurting, and you may never know.
Today we explore the tragic life of the congenial, Vidya Sinha.
In the 70s, when the industry was fawning over the newly found glamour of Zeenat Aman and Parveen Babi, and the illustrious beauty of Sharmila Tagore, Basu Chatterjee introduced an actress wrapped in the signature simplicity his films were reckoned for. Though named Vidya, she couldn’t complete her education. She entered the industry early, but not before establishing herself as a model after being titled Miss Bombay and featuring as the face of many bankable brands of her time.
Given that her father, Pratap A Rana, also known as Rana Pratap Singh was an acknowledged writer-producer in Bollywood, Vidya wouldn’t have had to struggle to pursue an acting career. She debuted with the 1974 movie Raja Kaka opposite Kiran Kumar but it was with Basu Chatterjee’s cult classic Rajnigandha that she picked to prominence became a household name and is remembered till now. Some of her other notable performances were in Safed Jhoot, Inkaar, Pati, Patni, aur Woh, and Chhoti Si Baat.
The dusky beauty with a face framed with unruly curls, an unassuming braid, and had captivated the urban working woman with her simple summery cotton sarees. However, her fond appeal among the general cinema-goers couldn’t get her the status of a star, the kind Sharmila Tagore, Rekha and her other contemporaries enjoyed. Realizing that getting typecast in the ordinary middle-class saree-clad relatable characters was precluding the stardom she aspired for, Vidya Sinha experimented with some glamorous roles but found little success in them.
She had entered the industry after getting married to her south Indian neighbor, Venkateshwaran Iyer, in 1968. But the couple didn’t have any children from the marriage for a long time. After investing 10 years in Bollywood, and acting in around twenty-five odd films, the actress chose to retire and concentrate on the personal front, adopted a girl child, and named her Jahnvi. Things were moving steadily till her husband started to lose on his health. Her next few years were spent in raising her daughter and caring for her ailing husband, who eventually passed away in 1996.
She moved to Sidney after the demise of her husband, and there, she met an elderly doctor online. Netaji Bhimrao Salunke and she had a short courtship followed by a hasty temple wedding. What initially looked like a fresh beginning, soon came crumbling down and the actress reached the cops with a complaint of mental and physical abuse against her doctor husband. The divorce came in just as quickly as the wedding had happened.
Meanwhile, the actress had revived her abandoned acting career and stood again in front of the camera after 25 years. The appearances, this time was on the small screen. Kkavyanjali, Qubool Hai, and Zaara were some of the serials she worked in during this time. But she was far from peace as the second husband who was eyeing her flat, was harassing the actress constantly.
Fighting the odds, the Jeevan Mukt actress fell prey to fatal heart and liver conditions and succumb to respiratory failure on August 15th, 2019. But even in deathbed, she was stressing about her daughter. TV actress Tina Ghai visited her in the hospital to find her worried; 'Mujhe Kuch ho gaya toh Janhavi ka kya hoga,” she uttered.