'Aapki nazaron ne samjha, pyaar ke kaabil mujhe..' as Mala Sinha lip-synced to these words on the screen, a million of hearts fluttered with joy and love. One of the superstars who ruled the celluloid from the era of 50s to 70s, the actress never defied from taking up roles which her contemporaries feared to touch back then.
Mala worked in in Hindi, Bengali and Nepali films and was one of the most sought-after actresses in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s. With over a hundred films and multiple hits under her sleeve, this epitome of beauty starred in many popular films like Pyaasa (1957), Anpadh (1962), Dil Tera Deewana (1962), Gumrah (1963), Bahurani (1963), Gehra Daag, Apne Huye Paraye, Jahan Ara, Himalaya Ki God Mein (1965), Nai Roshni (1967 film), Aankhen (1968), Maryada (1971) amongst others.
As Mala Sinha turns 82 today, let's rewind back to the bygone era and have a look at her journey.
Mala Sinha's Early Years
Born into a family of Nepali origin to Madhesi parents, Mala Sinha was brought up in Kolkata. Hence, she was often mistaken for being a Bengali. She was named Alda Sinha by her parents, which she soon changed to Baby Nazma when she entered the film industry as a child artist.
Speaking about it, the actress later revealed in an interview, "My parents christened me Alda Sinha. Everybody in school called me Dalda Sinha. How I hated my name. Dad and mum never called me Alda though. To them, I was always their little ‘Baby'. Soon, the entire school was calling me ‘Baby Sinha' too."
Pyaasa- The Turning Point In Her Career
Mala gives credit to Geeta Dutt for getting her Pyaasa (1957). Those days filmmaker S Mukerji held a huge Durga ustav. Geeta Dutt, who was fond of Mala Sinha, asked her to act in a play there. She had brought along Guru Dutt for the show,î she says. An impressed Guru Dutt signed her up for Pyaasa. And the rest is history!
The Road To Stardom
It was Yash Chopra's directorial debut, Dhool Ka Phool, (1959) where she played the role of an unwed mother, which made her a star.
Mala later recollected in a Filmfare interview, "We celebrated its silver jubilee in 36 cities. I got tired of attending those functions."
Gumraah Was Another Film Close To Her Heart
"ìAshok Kumar was my Dadaji's age when he played my hero in Gumraah. Sunil Dutt played my beloved. ëKi bhalo kam kaj karoche (you've done good work)!í said Dada Moni to me after watching the film," she said in a Filmfare interview.
How Mala Met Her Man Of Dreams In The Snow-Capped Mountains
Mala first met Chidambar Prasad Lohani while working on a Nepali film, B S Thapaís Maitighar. He was one of her co-stars in the movie (He was working in the customs but was offered a role for his good looks).
The film wrapped its shoot and soon after, Mala returned to Mumbai. But CP Lohani had already captivated the heart of the beautiful actress. A few months later, he received a letter from Mala, wherein she had penned her heart out, confessing her love for him. Chidambar was equally besotted by Mala and soon, they got married in 1966.
Speaking about her hubby, she later shared in a Filmfare interview, "My parents wanted me to get married as I had turned 26. Baba (father Albert Sinha) believed the industry boys were not trustworthy. Also, ego problems could creep in. Baba wanted a pahadi, a Nepali like us. Baba liked CP."
Post marriage, her hubby had a condition that she had to leave the industry, to which she had agreed. But she couldn't stay away from her first love and returned back to films
"Of course my husband had laid down a pre-condition that I quit films after marriage. I had even agreed. But good offers continued to pour in, even after the wedding. I became 'lalchi' (avaricious) and continued to accept the offers. Initially, my husband was a bit upset. Fortunately he wasn't a nag. So he let me pursue my career," Mala recalled in a interview.
Mala later graduated to character roles between the late 70s and 80s like 36 Ghante, Zindagi, and Karmayogi. She last appeared in Zid (1994).