Sadhna , India, 21 November 1958

Professor Mohan (Sunil Dutt) is a morally upright, honest young man living with his beloved mother (Leela Chitnis), who is singleminded in her pursuit of one goal. Mohan teaches literature and poetry at a nearby college. During one lesson about a nobleman who has fallen for a prostitute, he makes his feelings about dancing girls quite clear. Not long after, his mother, who is running a fever, falls down the stairs in their home and is unconscious. The doctor is called, injections are given, the neighbors all come crowding in, and much shaking of the head ensues, but she finally regains her senses long enough to say this. The doctor pronounces his judgment that with the medication, she will get better; but the packed-in neighbors are much more gloomy. They all file out, still muttering amongst themselves. One of the neighbors, Jeevan (Radhakrishan), has creditors hounding him, and he sees a little opportunity to make some money. He tells Mohan that he knows a girl who might be persuaded to pose as his fiancee for a few days, but her father will probably want money. Mohan of course is willing at this point to do anything and agrees to give Jeevan whatever he wants. Jeevan goes to see Champabai, a local tawaif. He negotiates a price with her for posing as Mohan’s fiancee for the evening. She puts on a demure sari and he takes her to see his mother and meet Mohan. His mother wakes up long enough to bless her before falling back into a deep sleep. Champa for her part is unimpressed by either mother or son and mocks them when she gets home. Jeevan gives her money, which is promptly pocketed by the brothel owner Lallubhai. The next day Mohan's mom asks to see "Rajani" again, and Mohan asks Jeevan to bring her again that evening—Jeevan has told Mohan that she is the daughter of a distant relative. In any case, Champa/Rajani is bowled over by the expensive jewelry that Mohan's mom shows her as the family bride-to-be. She decides to forgo her fee, to Jeevan’s dismay, in favor of pretending to have real feelings for Mohan until she can find an opportunity to steal it. She soon does, as one day Mohan's mom gives her the bridal sari and jewelry to take home and try on. She puts on her finery for her customers that evening, and they make fun of her. She flees in humiliation and the jewels she put on so happily moments before now feel like they are scalding her. Her customers sing a lively qawwali to try and coax her out. But when she emerges, this time in her dance costume, they laugh at her again and she realizes that she means nothing to them, they don’t think of her as a person with feelings or emotions. The next day, subdued, she brings back the jewelry and bridal sari to Ma, who is recovering nicely. Ma’s warm greeting and kind affection makes her feel even worse. Meanwhile, Mohan has fallen for Rajani, and he wants to speak to her father. Jeevan puts him off, and he returns home to find Rajani there. He expresses his affection gently, and she tells him that she is not worthy. She leaves sadly, and the next evening refuses to dance for her customers. Lallu’s threats don’t move her either, and she throws him out after an impassioned speech about how he has been living off her earnings for years. He goes, but vows that he will make her dance in the bazaar. She goes to see Jeevan and makes him promise that he won’t tell Mohan the truth about her, not because she thinks she has a future with him, but because she can’t bear to become a lesser woman in his eyes. Soon after that, Mohan sees Rajani walking in the street. When he calls her name she flees, and he follows her to her house. Mohan is horrified and angry. He tells his bewildered mother that he will never see Rajani again.

  • Genre: Romantic
  • Runtime: 137 Minutes
  • Director: B. R. Chopra
  • Awards: Filmfare Awards Best Actress Vyjayanthimala, Filmfare Awards 6th Filmfare Awards Mukhram Sharma


Sadhna (Hindi: साधना; Urdu: سادھنا‎; translation: Realize, also transliterated as Sadhana) is a 1958 Black-and-white Social guidance Hindi film produced and directed by B. R. Chopra. The film stars Vyjayanthimala and Sunil Dutt in the lead with Leela Chitnis, Radhakrishan, Manmohan Krishna, Uma Dutt, Ravikant forms an ensemble cast. The story, screenplay and dialogue was penned by Mukhram Sharma. The film revolves around Rajini (Vyjayanthimala), a prostitute's love affair with a professor (Sunil Dutt).