‘Gamine’ was a term dropped frequently at every journalistic mention of Audrey Hepburn (much like North Korea is forever “hermetically sealed”). But gamine is what that other fine actress Anuradha Patel will always be, immortalized in that angst-ridden ‘Mera Kuch Samaan…’ from 1987’s ‘Ijaazat’. Treasured words from Gulzar, sung by Asha Bhosle, and set to music by RD Burman, just before he slipped into a creative stupor that lasted until ‘1942 – A Love Story’ in 1994. And there’s another song that brings up memories of an incandescent Anuradha – ‘Man Kyoon Behka Re…’ from the little-seen ‘Utsav’, and where she shares the screen with that eternal diva, Rekha. But while those songs play out somewhere or other in the world every day, Anuradha who lit up the screen through their duration is overlooked, criminally so. Because Anuradha had everything – the looks, acting skills that went head-to-head against Nasseruddin Shah and Rekha, and the genes (she being the granddaughter of thespian Ashok Kumar and grandniece to Kishore.) But even with that formidable list of attributes and passed on benefits, Anuradha somehow slipped into obscurity, and swiftly at that. There were a few appearances in TV series, and domesticity with Kanwaljeet, the actor. But each time one goes back to that ‘Ijaazat’ song, the wistfulness of whether she could have done much more with her career remains unsaid.

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