Monday, April 30, 2012

Yesteryear actress Achla Sachdev no more

PUNE: Yesteryear actress Achla Sachdev breathed her last after a prolonged illness in the city on Sunday. The 88-year-old actress was ailing and bed-ridden for the last seven months at the Poona Hospital and Research Centre (PHRC).

"Sachdev's condition became extremely critical two days ago, after she aspirated throat secretions that went into her lungs causing respiratory failure. She recovered from it. However, on Sunday, she again went into respiratory failure following aspiration of throat secretions. All attempts to revive her failed and she died at 5.30 pm on Sunday," said Sachdev's physician Vinod Shah, who had been tending to her for more than seven months.

Sachdev played the beautiful wife of Balraj Sahani in B R Chopra's movie Waqt, for whom he crooned 'Aae Meri Zohrajabeen'. The actress, who worked in 250 films, was last seen in the Hrithik Roshan-Esha Deol starrer Na Tum Jaano Na Hum (2002).

Sachdev was a patient of bronchial asthma and had also developed various neurological problems in the last one year. She had undergone a surgery 15 days ago. "We had put a feeding tube into her stomach so that she could directly be given liquid feeds and proteins."

The actress had been staying in Pune for the last 40 years and had helped hospitals and NGOs in their various charitable and social causes. She had donated Rs 20 lakh and gifted her sprawling two-bedroom apartment in Pune Camp to the Janaseva Foundation, an NGO run by Shah.

"We have started the Achla Sachdev Institute of Education to train village girls in nursing and other vocational training courses in computers, tailoring, etc.," Shah said. "Achlaji was a generous individual. She was especially keen to work for the upliftment of village girls and wanted to do something for them," Shah added.

Sachdev had broken her left leg after a fall in her house six months ago. Later, she suffered a brain infraction in which she lost her vision and movements of upper and lower limbs. Since then, she was being treated at the PHRC. "Brain infraction had rendered her a quadriplegic. Occasionally, she would regain consciousness, but it would last only for a few moments," Shah said.

Rajeev Nanda, a family friend of Sachdev's, said, "I had been calling and informing people in the industry, her relatives and friends about her health. It is really sad that an actress who spent a major part of her life working in Hindi films and was even active on television till recently was not even being asked about in the film industry."

Meanwhile, Nanda said, "Achlaji was very fond of music. She used to play the sitar. She was a very good Bharatnatyam dancer. She had promoted people like famous ghazal singer Jagjit Singh, when he would perform in private concerts during the initial phase of his career. She even encouraged actress Meena Kumari to sing. I have a cassette from Achalji with recordings of songs sung by Meena Kumari, Jagjit Singh and Kundanlal Sehgal."

Some of her other films include Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001); Dahek (1999); Dil Kya Kare (1999); Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Chandni (1989); Love & God (1986); Mangal Dada (1986); Tumhari Kasam (1978), Amaanat (1977); Chailla Babu (1977), Chandi Sona (1977), Karm (1977), Laila Majnu (1976); Julie (1975), Anamika (1973), Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971), Heer Ranjha (1970), Mera Naam Joker (1970), Hamraaz (1967) and Shagird (1967).

Sachdev is survived by her son Jyotin who is 65 years old and stays in the US. He is a business consultant. "Jyotin is expected to arrive in Pune on Tuesday. The funeral will take place at the Vaikunth crematorium at 5.30 pm. We will leave the hospital by 5 pm," Nanda added.

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