When Vidya Sinha Criticised Zeenat Aman's Bold Outfits, Refused To Act In 'Satyam Shivam Sundaram'

After Hema Malini and Lata Mangeshkar, Vidya Sinha was offered the lead role in Satyam Shivam Sundaram. Here's why she blatantly rejected it!


By Mamta Roy Last Updated:

When Vidya Sinha Criticised Zeenat Aman's Bold Outfits, Refused To Act In 'Satyam Shivam Sundaram'

Vidya Sinha was iconic for her girl-next-door presence on screen, her comfortable chemistry with her co-stars and her selection of movies which were less dramatic and more insightful. She started her career at the age of 18 as a model in Mumbai. It was during her modelling days that director, Basu Chatterjee spotted her for the first time. And later on, she became a star after acting in movies like Rajnigandha, Chhoti Si Baat and Pati Patni Aur Woh. 

Vidya Sinha’s two marriages

In a career spanning 45 years, she has been part of both the silver screen and the small screen. Simultaneously, Vidya’s personal life has also been under the media radar since she first fell in love with her Brahmin neighbour, Venkateshwaran Iyer, and married him in 1968. They welcomed a daughter into this world and stayed together till his demise in 1996. After this, she fell in love with an Australian doctor, Netaji Bhimrao Salunke, online and married him in 2001. However, nine years after their marriage, Vidya divorced Netaji Bhimrao and filed a lawsuit against him for mental and physical abuse. 

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Vidya Sinha on why she declined to sign Satyam Shivam Sundaram as a lead actress

Many of us don't know, but Vidya Sinha was offered the lead role in Satyam Shivam Sundaram. Raj Kapoor had first approached Hema Malini and Lata Mangeshkar to play the lead female role, but they had refused to do it. Later, the role was offered to Vidya Sinha. In a 2005 interview with Rediff.com, Vidya revealed that she was uncomfortable with the clothes that Zeenat Aman wore in the film. If she had taken the film, she would have had to wear the same clothes. Hence, she didn't accept the offer. In her words:

“I did not take up Satyam Shivam Sundaram because I was not comfortable wearing the clothes that Zeenat Aman wore.”


Further, in the interview, Vidya stated that Raj Kapoor and her grandfather were close to each other. So much so that they also worked in the film, Dil Ki Rani together. Even after being old friends, Vidya had to reject the film because she was not comfortable with the character of ‘Rupa’ in Satyam Shivam Sundaram. In the film, ‘Rupa’ is perceived as a not-so-beautiful lady according to society's standards. Yet the director, Raj Kapoor, intended to sexualise her role and outfit in every other scene. Vidya had said:

“I was offered Satyam Shivam Sundaram, but I did not take it, as I was not comfortable wearing the clothes that Zeenat Aman wore. Raj ji (Raj Kapoor) and my grandfather were very close and he had worked with my grandfather in a film (Dil Ki Rani, 1947). His dad, Prithviraj, also worked with my grandfather (in Shri Krishnarjun Yudh, 1945). We knew each other really well but still, I told him I wouldn’t be comfortable acting in his film.” 

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Vidya Sinha regretted her decision to say ‘no’ to Raj Kapoor

Saying no to a Raj Kapoor film was not easy for Vidya. She did regret her decision afterwards. In the same interview, Vidya said that working with Raj Kapoor sahab is every girl’s biggest dream, and she regretted her decision. She had said:

“It was the dream of every girl to work with Raj Kapoor and so I still regret saying no to him and not working with him as I always wanted to work with him.”


When Lata Mangeshkar declined the offer to work as a lead actress in Satyam Shivam Sundaram 

We found it shocking that late Lata Mangeshkar was offered the lead role in the cult film, Satyam Shivam Sundaram. But many of us are unaware that the legendary singer, Lata had started her journey in the industry as an actress first. Yes, you read it right. In an old interview with journalist, Khalid Mohamed, Lata Mangeshkar had shared many anecdotes from her professional life. She also mentioned how Raj Kapoor insisted her to play the role of ‘Rupa’ in Satyam Shivam Sundaram as the story revolved around the main character’s voice. This incident from Lata’s life had been beautifully penned by writer, Yatindra Mishra in his book, Lata: Sur Gatha. 


In the book, Lata Mangeshkar mentioned how she was shocked to receive the offer and denied it immediately. She also added that later the role was offered to Hema Malini, and she refused to do the role as well because the character had to wear revealing clothes in the film. Though Lata was not comfortable with performing in front of the camera, she did agree to lend her voice in the movie. Many of us are unaware, but Lata’s real name was Hema. As she worked in her father, Deenanath Mangeshkar’s drama, Bhav Bandhan, she adopted her character name Latika and changed it to Lata. 


Vidya Sinha took her last breath on August 15, 2019, due to respiratory failure caused by heart and lung disease. She will stay immortal in our memories!

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