Down Memory Lane

Her stint with cinema is legendary. The years may have left their mark on her face, but yesteryear actress Vyjayanthimala Bali's spirit is undaunting. In town as the chief guest for the Mohammad Rafi Night to be held at Tagore Theatre on Saturday, the 'diva of the sixties', took time out at her late husband Chamanlal Bali's relatives' residence in Sector 33 and revisited the golden era of films, that according to her, are still timeless. While she reminisced about the old days, she sounded unhappy with the current crop of films being produced in Bollywood. "I can't relate to the films that are coming out today. They may be realistic, experimental, but all I see is a lot of confusion in the name of globalisation of cinema. Look how we are forgetting our traditions, culture, roots and aping the West. We need to be proud of our sanskriti, our history, our wealth like Ayurveda and yoga among others," rued the lady, dressed in a salwar kameez as opposed to her trademark silk saris.

While there is no news of her comeback to Hindi cinema, Vyjayanthimala says that she is happy pursuing Bharatanatyam, and that Rafi Night will see her perform too. But what's really keeping her on her toes is the birth of her grand-daughter. "I am a grandmother now and I am loving it," said the actress, who is also a keen sportsperson. The 75-year-old still plays golf and loves skiing.

A Sangeet Natak Akademi award winner, Vyjayanthimala said that her only regrets, though, have been about not being able to work on Bimal Roy's Bandini, Gulzar's Aandhi and with Guru Dutt. "I admired Indiraji (Gandhi) so much so that I got cold feet when the role was offered to me," says the legend, who paved the way for southern actresses to work in Bollywood.

In the conversation the actress fondly talked aboout the Raj Kapoor-Rajendra Kumar starrer Sangam that still holds a special place in her heart. "It was my first techni-colour film and the first to be shot overseas," she said.

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