Legendary Bollywood actress Mala Sinha turns 84 on November 11. The actress has enjoyed a colourful, four-decade long career since her debut in 1952 with her first adult role in Roshanara. Though the film didn’t immediately launch her career as a superstar, it gave her a nice launch into this world. What really cemented her place in Bollywood was the iconic film Pyaasa (1957) by Guru Dutt. Though the central female lead in this film was Waheeda Rehman, Sinha made her presence felt with exceptional performance in her heart-breaking scenes.
The early ’60s were her peak years with back to back hits spanning the decade. Dhool ke Phool (1959) saw her romancing reigning male star Rajendra Kumar. Her roles ranged from innocent village girl (Hariyali aur Raasta, 1962) to her “daring diva” image and pioneering female roles in films like Gumrah, Do Kaliyan, Aasra, Maryada, and Mere Huzoor.
As the era of films also falls in the golden age of Bollywood music, she featured in the decade’s most impressive and memorable songs.
On her birthday, let’s revisit her top five songs to celebrate her career:
Aapki Nazron Ne Samjha
From the film Anpadh 1962, this melody was voiced by Lata Mangeshkar and composed by Madan Mohan. The film starred Mala Sinha and Dharmendra in the lead and this romantic number is still considered as one of the era’s most beautiful musical creations.
Ibtedaye Ishq Me
A stark opposite rhythm from the previous song, this peppy, flirtatious song comes from Hariyali aur Raasta with Bharath Kumar aka Manoj Kumar. Picturised in a backdrop of lush valleys and rushing rivers, the song, though not a dance number is still rhythmic enough to make you tap your foot.
Hum Aapki Aankhon Me
From the film that launched her career and placed her within the big league, Pyaasa, is this happy number composed by S. Burman and with words from legendary lyricist Sahir Ludhiyanvi. The video looks like a fantasy waltz with Sinha’s style reminiscent of a Broadway musical star.
Rukh Se Zara Naqab Utha Do
From the film Mere Huzoor, this Mohammad Rafi song about Jeetendra’s love-at-first-sight with Sinha and their courtship takes place on a train. Her expressive eyes do all the talking in this number.
Tasveer Teri Dil Mein
A romantic song with romance icon Dev Anand cannot go wrong. With Salil Choudhary’s music and Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi’s vocals, the song soothes the soul.
Listening to these songs will take you back to the era when Mala Sinha was one of the brightest shining stars in Indian cinema.