After the great success of first part of Popular Indian actresses series, I have now come with the second part of the series. Today I will discuss Indian actresses during the period of 1960-1970. The period saw the birth of 70 MM color screens, first Hindi film superstar Rajesh Khanna and arrival of violence. Many great films were made with various themes were made during the period, which appealed the masses as well as the classes. During the late seventies, the action packed scenes became integral part of hindi movies. Now films became more violent with the arrival of Actors like Dharmendra, Amitabh etc. At the same time off beat cinema started growing. Many great actresses showed their talent and beauty in this era like Sharmila Tagore, Saira Bano, Asha Parekh, Sadhna etc. Let’s discuss them one by one.
Sharmila Tagore — Sharmila Tagore was the most popular Bollywood actress during this period. She started her career at the early age of fourteen with Satyajit Ray film Apur Sansar. After performing some challenging roles in Ray movies, She started her career in Hindi movies with Shakti Samanta’s Kashmir Ki Kali in 1964. Then she established one of the most successful pairs with Rajesh Khanna for movies like Aradhana, Amar Prem, Daag and Safar. She also played the main role in Gulzar’s Mausam. Her latest film is Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Eklavya, where she played the role of mother of Saif Ali Khan (his only son).
Saira Bano — Saira Banu made her debut in Hindi film industry with Shammi Kapoor in Junglee. It was the most popular film of 1961. For this film she earned Filmfare nomination as Best Actress.After the huge success of Junglee, she became one the top actresses of that era. In 1966, 22-year-old Saira married 44-year-old Dilip Kumar and despite apprehensions from the media, their marriage has been one of the longest lasting marriages in Bollywood. After her marriage she attracted the attention of media with her bold role in Purab and Panchim. Her pair with Dilip Kumar produced some of the finest movies like Gopi, Sagina and Bairaag. She was nominated for Filmfare as Best Actress for Shagird, Diwana , and Sagina. During mid seventies she left the industry. During the arrival of Television in India, she came back in industry with her television serial Stree Teri Kahaniwhich.
Asha Parekh — She started her career as heroine in meaga hit film Dil Deke Dekho in 1959 opposite Shammi Kapoor which made her a huge star. After giving this big superhit, Film director Hussians casted her in his next 6 films, Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai, Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon, Teesri Manzil, Baharon Ke Sapne, Pyar Ka Mausam, and Caravan. During early days of her career, she was primarily known as a glamour girl in most of her films. Then director Raj Khosla gave her a serious image of tragedy queen by casting her movies like Do Badan, Chirag, and Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki. She also won Filmfare Best Actress Award for film Kati Patang. During the rise of Television and cable TV in India She formed a production company Akruti and produced popular TV serials like Palash ke Phool, Baaje Payal, Kora Kagaz, Dal Mein Kaala etc. She was the first female chairperson of Censor Board of India from 1998 to 2001. Her tenure as the chairperson of censor board was full of controversies for censoring films.
Sadhna — She made significant impact in the golden era of Indian films. Her first film was Love in Shimla. She made an unique haircut and created a distinct identity and the new generation started following her style became famous with the name of “Sadhna cut”. She amazed the film lovers with her serene performance in Raj Khosla’s Ek Musafir Ek Haseena. After acting in Asli Nakli, opposite Dev Anand and Dulha Dulhan opposite Raj Kapoor, Sadhna addressed the muslim community of Aligarh, Lucknow and the middle-east countries with her dynamic performance in the film Mere Mehboob, opposite Rajender Kumar in 1963. Her combination with Rajender Kumar was well appreciated in the film Aarzoo in 1965. She also excelled in ghostly characters in suspense thrillers like Woh Kaun Thi and Mera Saya, Anita etc. After giving memorable performances in movies like Isq Par Zor Nahi, Aap Aye Bahar Aye and Inteqam she left the industry.
Helen — Helen is know as Cabaret Queen. She is mainly famous for playing roles of vamps and vixens in Bollywood movies of the 1960s and 70s. Her flamboyant dance sequences and cabaret numbers are jewels of Indian Cinema. She became star with her performance in the song “Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu” in Shakti Samanta’s hit film, Howrah Bridge. After the huge success of this item number, she started getting offers for performing as a cabaret dancer and vamp in film after film. Later, she fell in love with script writer Salim Khan and became her second wife. Salim helped her get good roles in some of the movies like Imaam Dharam, Don, Dostana, and the all-time hit Sholay. She won Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for film Lahu Ke Do Rang. She made a few “guest star” appearances in 1999 and 2000. In Mohabbatein, she played role of head of a girls’ school, where she surprised everyone with her lively dance. She also made a special appearance as Salman Khan’s mother in the movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.
Babita — For our generation, she is famous as the mother of actresses Kareena Kapoor and Karisma Kapoor and the wife of Randhir Kapoor. Her career was very short, yet she performed some challenging and memorable roles in about 19 movies. Some of her movies are Dus Lakh, Raaz, Farz, Aulad, Haseena Maan Jayegi, Kab Kyon Aur Kahan, Kal Aaj Aur Kal. etc. In Nov, 1971, she got marrtied to Randhir Kapoor. After their marriage, Babita left the film industry, as part of the Kapoor tradition which forbids women from acting in films. After the birth of Karisma and Kareena, her relationship with Randhir Kapoor was under strain and finally after a few years they separated. Babita walked out from Kapoor family, taking her two daughters with her and in the end her daughters became big stars in Hindi Cinema.
Aparna Sen — Aprana Sen was a super star from Bengali Cinema during this period. She made her film debut at the early age of 16 in Teen Kanya directed by Satyajit Ray. In 1965, she acted in Mrinal Sen’s Akash Kusum. From then until the end of the 1970s, she worked steadily in the Bengali film industry and proved her talend with a big list of superhit Bengali films. Meanwhile, She also acted in a number of Hindi films as well during this time. In 1981, she directed one critically acclaimed movie “36 Chowringhee Lane”. For this film, she won best director award at the Indian National Film Awards and the Golden Eagle award at the Manila International Film Festival.