‘Waqt’ the Great Leveler

Achala SachdevShe became a household name with the chart buster “Aye mere zohra jabeen” from ‘Waqt’, sung alongside yesteryear stud Balraj Sahni. Considered one of the most romantic songs ever, her end in real time was far from romantic, bringing her closer to the tragedies of geriatrics from tinsel town who sometimes die lonely and unsung, like yesteryear vamp Nadira, for instance.

The Peshwar-born actress made her debut with ‘Fashionable Wife’ in 1938 and had an impressive innings in tinsel town. And yet, for someone who acted in more than 250 films, having seamlessly moved on from playing sassy lead actress to grandmother type roles for Yash Chopra flicks, she was lonely by the end of her innings on Planet Earth. So much so, that she even donated her flat to a charitable institution in the hope of having a night attendant in her dying moments.

The beginnings were indeed glorious. Almost 40 years ago, she married a British engineer named Clifford Douglas Peters, whom she was introduced to by Yash Chopra. Peters owned a factory on the outskirts of Pune and the couple lived in a bungalow thereabouts for a while. After her husband passed away in 2002, her last decade was straight out of Sunset Boulevard, with only a night attendant to take care of her in a dim two-bedroom apartment in Pune.

Sachdev is survived by a son, Jyotin, a US-based business consultant, and a daughter, based out of Mumbai. Neither was in touch with her at the time of her death. In September 2011, Achala slipped in her kitchen and suffered a fracture in her leg. Soon she was diagnosed with multiple emboli in her brain, which led to total paralysis and blindness. As reports claim, Achala's condition became extremely critical a few days ago and she was on ventilator support since then. She was 91.