actress snehlata
Film Actress

In the 70’s, all the films that I was a lead actress in, were either folklores or stories based in villages. And there was always a certain set of actors who were cast to play stereotypical parts in all these films. It was during this time that Arunbhai approached me for the film “Mota Gharni Vahu”.

Arunbhai was the first one to break away from the routine and make a film with a modern outlook. “Mota Gharni Vahu” not only catered to the village crowds but to the urban audience as well. The film was a huge success and celebrated 25 weeks in most of the cinema houses in Gujarat. The role in this film remains very special to me as there was a certain strength in the quietude of my character. The scene where she snubs her straying husband with her English dialogue is one of my careers best! When we went to watch the film in the theatres soon after it’s release, the crowds stood up, whistled and clapped when that scene came on the screen! Such was the power of the director’s vision.

Thereafter I did so many films with Arunbhai such as “Lohi Ni Sagaai”, “Paarki Thaapan” and “Paras Padamani”. All these films were super successes.

Arunbhai had a flair for explaining the scenes in such detail that it was impossible not to perform well. His music genius also contributed immensely to all the films I did with him. Songs like “Aajno chaandalio maney laage bahu vaahlo” from “Lohini Sagaai” and “Dikri to paarki thaapan kehvaay” from “Paarki Thaapan” are remembered and sung at weddings even today!

Working with him was very special. His humour had us cracked up many a time on the sets. The last film that I did as lead under him was “Paras Padamni”. I retired soon after that. It was only in the late 90’s that Arunbhai offered me to play the role of Hitu Kanodia’s mother and Naresh Kanodia’s wife in “Lakhtarni Laadi Ne Vilaayatno Var”.
It was only because of him that I agreed to play the part. He wanted to recreate the magic of Nareshbhai’s and my hit pairing. The film won 11 State Awards and was really appreciated by the audience.

Gujarati cinema will never be the same again without him. His work, his music and his humour will always be cherished.

As told to Pauravi Bhatt on 18th July 2020.