Achala Sachdev, original Zohra Jabeen, is dead

Achala Sachdev, best remembered for playing the screen wife of Balraj Sahni in B R Chopra's Waqt, died of respiratory failure in Pune on Sunday evening. Last September, Achala had slipped in her kitchen and suffered a fracture in her leg. She had been admitted to the Poona Hospital and Research Centre since then. Dr Vinod Shah, physician at Pune Hospital, said: "She was in a semi-conscious condition. For some time, she was put on ventilator and was also admitted to the ICU. But three days ago, she was shifted to her private room in ward Q."

A chronic bronchitis asthma patient, Achala had been living alone at her residence near Poona Club for the past 10 years. At her house, she was helped by a night attendant provided by the Janseva Foundation, to which she had donated money to start the Achala Sachdev Institute of Education. The institute trains people from tribal areas in basic hospital and patient-related care.

Recently, she had also transferred her house in the name of the organisation. Rajeev Nanda, an engineer based in Taboo Street and her close family friend, said the funeral will be held on Tuesday.

Born in Peshawar in 1920, Achala made her film debut with Fashionable Wife (1938), and acted in over 130 films. She shifted to Pune after marrying Clifford Douglas Peters, who had a factory in Bhosari.

Achala gained immense popularity for playing the roles of mother and grandmother in Hindi films. The song O meri Zohra Jabeen from Waqt was picturised on Sahni and her and most people referred to her as Zohra Jabeen ever since. Achala was a favourite with Yash Chopra and was seen in his first production venture Daag: The Poem Of Love.

She also played memorable roles in Yash Raj Films' Chandni and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, in which she played Kajol's grandmother. Her other memorable films include Mera Naam Joker, Julie, Haqeeqat and Himalay Ki God Main. She also was a part of English films such asNine Hours to Rama and Merchant Ivory film The Householder. Her last film was the Hrithik Roshan-Esha Deol starrer Na Tum Jaano Na Hum.

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