18 comments on “Sandhya’s Real Sister, Vatsala Deshmukh

  1. Hi Richard, I am trying to get in touch with Sandhya ji. I am a dentist and we are conducting the fifth BITEIN Awards for the dental profession on the 13th of Dec, 2014. As part of the program we shall be doing an act on the great music of V.Shantaram films. I want to invite her as a guest of honor for the program. If you have any connections I would be very grateful to have them in order to reach out to Sandhya ji.


    Ajay Kakar

  2. Ajay, sorry for the long time in responding… I was hoping someone else might offer a suggestion. Unfortunately, I don’t have any such connections.

    I have read that Sandhya doesn’t make public appearances often. In fact, her appearance at an awards show in 2009 (which I also wrote about a while back) was mentioned as being “rare.” So maybe that is why nobody knows how to reach her to invite her to things. :) But maybe she’s been out and around more in the past few years. (It seems unlikely, but…who knows?)

  3. Real Good Information Richard..I was trying to find on Ranjana and her casting director for film Bin Kamacha Navra.

  4. I often watch V. Santaram’s movi and impressed with Sandhya, Jayshree and Vatshala’s role. Please convey my regards to them. I had cherished desire to meet them personally.

  5. If anybody reading this knows how to get in touch with Sandhya or Vatsala, please send along all these messages. :)

    Unfortunately, Jayashree has been deceased for eleven years.

    I wouldn’t know how to meet any of these people.

    By the way, I find it curious sometimes that some people have such a strong desire to personally meet their favorite people from the cinema (or their favorite music stars, etc.). I am usually content with having seen their dances or their acting and/or having heard their singing… It is nice to see a good interview sometimes, too, to get some insights. But I often don’t feel as though meeting these people personally will enhance my appreciation of their work. Sometimes, it might actually hinder it. :)

    I live in the U.S., and the only chance in recent memory that I had to meet a favorite star from the Indian cinema was when I almost went with a couple of other bloggers to meet Kamala Lakshman Narayan about a year ago… But I didn’t have good questions prepared, and it would have involved a fairly long trip on the commuter rail (which I wasn’t feeling up to), and I figured the other two would cover the interview well enough, so I bailed out. I have no regrets… I still like watching her dances, and I don’t think meeting her would have made any difference whatsoever where that is concerned. :)

    P.S. On the other hand, it could be nice to have a few meetings with a star to the point where you actually know her or him. (That’s assuming the person turns out to be nice and not some diva/egomaniac. LOL I’ve actually known people who were minor music stars here in the U.S., and the range of personality can be great – but they often can be quite complicated!) But anyway… For one meeting, just to say “I’m a big fan”? The idea never really appeals to me all that much. But maybe that’s because I’m an introvert.

  6. Just attended Daji Bhatwedkar award given to Vatsala Deshmukh .Get in touch with Dr Bhalerao of Sahitya Sang marathi theater in Kelewadi Charni Road Mumbai.Function was held on 25th Dec 2015

  7. Very nice information
    Sandhyaa madam did all the acting with full devotion.
    It should be in limelite about her current status..
    Some one should honour her with nice award…
    I truly feel this…

  8. Ranjana Deshmukh was truly one of the most sought after stars of her time. Not only did she set the screen on fire with her impeccable comic timing, she also had the rare talent to do emotional roles with equal panache and conviction. The handful of Marathi heroines that were on the horizon at the time mostly played the submissive, the ever sacrificial woman and probably that is why Ranjana’s entry was akin to a breath of fresh air. In the roles partaken by her, she was the hero’s equal (there are stories of her getting paid more than the hero!). Given her histrionic abilities, roles were written for her where the heroine was not a mere prop. In many ways, Ranjana can be credited to changing the face of the Marathi heroine. Essaying varied characters in a short span of time and giving one jubilee hit after the other, Ranjana – the star, shone bright.
    While she blazed the marquee with her performances, in real life, she warmed hearts by being herself – a kind, genuine and happy soul. I have heard stories of her largesse where she would go all out to help even the ancillary staff/technicians. But life unfortunately turned on a dime for this doyen. Her romance with her co star Ashok Saraf came to an abrupt end after the accident in ‘87 that maimed her and paralysed her waist down. It is said that her injuries were this severe as she took impulsive decision to save her makeup man’s kid (who was traveling with them in the ill fated car) instead of looking out for herself.
    I have hazy memories of reading an article about her in the magazine Savvy (90’s) where she recounted her life thus far. What is most touching is that her optimism and zest for life were untouched despite living through every single day in utmost agony. It is said that she would visit patients who faced similar ordeals such as her and keep them in good spirits. The one regret that I shall always have is that I did not start a conversation with her when I bumped into her in ’97. The excuse that I was an awestruck gangly teenager at the time offers very little solace. I have been researching the net for years now to get my hand on any more information about my favorite leading lady but most of my efforts have come to a naught. It would have been nice to connect with someone who knew her personally.
    On Vatsala Deshmukh, it was just yesterday that she made a rare appearance on this show “Chala Hawa yeu dya” on Zee Marathi. Even at age 87, the twinkle in Vatsala ji’s eyes is unmistakable when she talks about Pinjra and about V Shantaram. It was an extremely emotional moment for me and when the tears surreptitiously flowed through my eyes, I didn’t stop them. This was one of the reasons I was browsing through when I came across your blog!

    You will always live in the hearts of your countless fans Ranjana….They don’t make ‘em like you anymore!

  9. B,

    Thank you so much that heartfelt, detailed and dramatic account of the talents and life of Ranjana Deshmukh! I wouldn’t know what to add to that… I must look more into her life and work some day.

    Regarding your regrets about not starting a conversation with her, I don’t see that as anything you should blame yourself for or even necessarily regret. You greatly appreciate her work and learned a great deal about her, which increased your appreciation. A conversation might or might not have improved upon the good work that you had already done.

    There was a time when I could blame myself for not taking the chance to converse with artists whose work I admired, but I think it was more due to what I thought people would expect of me than my own true inclinations. I am naturally introverted and I know that I succeed much more at thinking and writing about artists, musicians, actors, etc., than I do at actually meeting these people and talking to them. :)

    The chances of my meeting a star from classic Indian films are pretty slim, since I live in New York. But, of course, a few did come over here… I almost met Kamala Lakshman Narayan a couple of years ago, when I met up with two other bloggers who were visiting my city who were on the way up to talk to her. But I felt unprepared – had never quite gotten any good interview questions together, nor collaborated with the other bloggers – and it was a long-ish train ride to the suburb where Kamala was meeting them, so I skipped it. I actually have no regrets, since I have appreciated her dances enough and probably know all that I need to know about her.

    I have personally known some people who had a few minutes of fame in the world of pop or rock music in my part of the world. I used to be a rock music critic and spent time in “alternative rock” circles. Am I better off for those experiences? I can’t really decide. :)

    Anyway, I digress… But the point is, with an actor, dancer, musician, artist, etc., it is the creative work that counts; that is why we are drawn to them. If we find things in their life stories that enhance that appreciation, that’s great. But if you have a chance to meet such a person and you don’t interact, is that a reason to kick yourself? I don’t think so. You’ve already greatly enjoyed that person’s work and her story, too; the actual meeting and conversation might be somewhat beside the point.

    Regarding Vatsala… It is great to see that information about her. It’s good to know that she is so alive and well at age 87.

    I would like to learn more about Sandhya and find out more about how she is doing and what she’s up to now. Do I need to meet her and talk to her? I don’t know… It could be rather strange. (Just kidding there – I am sure she is a very nice person and not as strange as some of the characters she’s played. LOL But my point still applies, even in that case.)

  10. Hi Richard,
    I’m glad you enjoyed the post and thank you for the kind words. Now, I ‘almost’ don’t want to kick myself for not having a conversation with Ranjana :)

    Here is the link for the show where Vatsala ji made a recent and rare appearance. I thought it might be of interest to all. (she makes an entry at 3.30)


    Regarding Sandhya, her last chronicled public outing was in 2009 at the V Shantaram awards. I believe she rarely steps out. Truth be told, I found her acting too over the top/strange for my liking
    but she overcompensates her lack of subtlety in acting with her hard work and dedication for the dance form (not to say that she wasn’t a hard working actor). Boy…could she dance! Her work is so sincere that it shines through some of the most bizarre dances that have been canned on the celluloid.

    The husband wife duo have to be credited for giving the audiences some remarkable and memorable songs/dances that were truly ahead of their times.

    As for Sandhya the person. Here’s a link to an article written by V Shantaram’s daughter who is married to the musical maestro Pandit Jasraj. Even that one para on Sandhya speaks volumes of her as a person.


    Enjoy :)

  11. B, thanks for providing more interesting thoughts, as well as for the article and clip. The article on Sandhya is both informative and sweet. Sandhya has a few detractors, even among readers here. Some complained about her dancing, too. I think her dancing is very enjoyable. Though not an expert in the classical sense, she was always very creative and original and impressively energetic – even when well into her 40s. She also did a fine job at classical dancing in Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje, considering the limited amount of time she’d had to learn kathak. I have sometimes found her acting to be quite good, too. She is not a consistently great actress (yes, she could overdo some things), but I’ve been moved by her performances, and I think she is underrated.

    I do know about the appearance at the awards show that she made in 2009. In fact, I blogged about it:


    (I will have to replace that missing film clip, though… So many disappear…)

    I will watch the show featuring Vatsala sometime soon. (I tried to call it up once, but the upload was taking a long time, and I could not wait at that moment. But I will get to it.)

  12. Hi everyone!, I am also a great fan of Sandhya ji & off-course late Dr. Shantaram, the great Indian film maker. I once tried to meet Sandhya ji in Rajkamal studio but could not. I think somewhere I read that her original name was Vijaya Deshmukh. If any one of u get any information about her public meeting in advance,, pl. share it.

  13. Hi Richard, Hi everyone I am a great fan of Sir V. Shantaramji and his all films. In @ 1974 I saw Pinjra. In that film I remember Ganpat Patilji’s role. Now I watch Pinjra again in 2016 on Youtube and I searched every possible website to watch Pinjra again and I cann’t see Ganpat Patilji in any Pinjra available on all websites including utorrent. How is it possible? Why and when Patilji replaced by another actor? I am very curious and can I watch Pinjra in which Patilji’s role not deleted. If can not see then why? Mr. Richadji you must have answer to this. Please….say some thing

  14. The role in Pinjra of ‘nachya’, a character in Tamasha (local art form) was not played by Ganpat Patil but some one else. I have no idea if this was true in what you saw in 1974, since I was not born that time. But, those days Ganpat Patil was most common such type of roles in almost every Tamasha oriented film.

    I have read the the autobiography of V Shantaram. He has spoken about the Sandhya in the same. He mentions her to be of simple tastes and humble living. I too am a fan of her. The sheer enthusiasm she displayed can be matched by very few I guess. Right from Amar Bhoopali to Chandanachi Choli Ang Ang Jaali in 1975, she danced with passion and vigour! Hats off to her.

  15. Hello Richard
    Hello B

    You have really nice heartfelt info blog here,
    I came here googling Ranjana.
    What B writes here exactly my (n every fan’s) thoughts!

    Anyway 15feb2016 hawa yeu dya episode link u given is obsolete now.
    I really wanna know more n see who vastala is.
    Will post available short clip links of that prog.

    Do help me out pointing who is vastala amongst guests.

    Last word bout mother aunt n ranjana family.. ranjana was really class apart from the artist family.

  16. Yogeshjog,

    Thank you very much for the nice words about this post that I wrote a little over four years ago, and for the further words about Ranjana Deshmukh. I really should look for some of her film appearances.

    Regarding the the episode of Chala Hawa Yeu Dya…, I just tried the link that B had given which you said was obsolete, and I can’t tell if it’s obsolete, because I got a message saying I can’t get this site in my country (which is the U.S.). (By the way,I can’t recall whether I tried to do so before – that conversation with B is a couple of years old as well.)

    Regarding where Vatsala is in the clips that you provided, your guess is as good as mine! I am guessing that if she is one of the guests who are seated, she must be the elderly woman in white sitting all the way on the left, since that is the only guest here who looks to be the appropriate age for a show broadcast in 2016. (She is Sandhya’s older sister, and the most reliable accounts regarding Sandhya’s age that I have seen say she was born in 1932 or 1933.)

    I cannot really scrutinize these clips right now to find something else that would confirm this guess, but maybe I’ll give that a try later – and you should do the same. :)

    By the way, since you brought me back to this post, I was able to see that the clip of Vatsala in Toofan Aur Diya had disappeared, so I went to YouTube and found a replacement. Unfortunately, this one won’t embed, so people will have to take the extra step of clicking the message in the video and going to YouTube to watch it. (Maybe there is another version; I’ll take a look for that later too.) Nonetheless, it is well worth the extra click!

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