- Best Tanuja Movie – Do Chor (1972)
The film got noticed for its songs like Kali palak teri gori sung by Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Meri jaan, meri jaan kehna mano, sung by Kishore Kumar, Chahe raho door chahe raho paas, again sung by Kishore and Lata. RD Burman composed some good tunes for this light-hearted romance. Tony (Dharmendra) is a happy-go-lucky thief who assists another thief named ‘Bob’ out of friendship. Bob is actually Sandhya (Tanuja) in drag and is committing robberies to gain back her inheritance. The plot moves forward at a brisk pace and has enough twists and turns to make everyone happy. who makes his living by stealing. Sandhya (Tanuja) is a thief too. Circumstances bring them together and the story moves at a pace that keeps you engaged. Dharmendra looked good as a handsome thief and Tanuja in drag looked almost as handsome as he. They shared crackling chemistry, to say the least, and the songs added to the frothy romantic thriller.
- Best Tanuja Movie – Mere Jeevan Saathi (1972)
Composer R.D. Burman and lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri both outdid themselves in the film. It boasted of evergreen songs like O mere dil ke chain, Chala jata hoon, Kitne sapne kitne armaan, and Deewana leke aaya hai, all sung by Kishore Kumar, Deewana kar ke chhodoge sung by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar, Aao na gale lag jao na, Asha Bhosle. The film revolves around the travails of Prakash (Rajesh Khanna), a painter who falls in love with Jyoti (Tanuja), an eye doctor. A rich girl Kamini (Helen) is besotted by him. He meets with a set of adventures and goes blind. He also becomes indebted to Captain Vinod (Sujit Kumar), who helps him initially but who is madly in love with Jyoti. He does regain his eyesight back with her help. Many twists, and many melodramatic moments, and many memorable songs later, the lovers finally unite. Though the music was a hit, the film didn’t make as much money as expected. Though, even today, it’s revered by die-hard fans of Rajesh Khanna.
- Best Tanuja Movie – Haathi Mere Saathi (1971)
The story was written by producer Sandow M. M. A. Chinnappa Thevar, who owned the famous Devar Films banner. He also played a small role in the film. It was an adaptation of Sandow’s own Tamil film Deiva Cheyal (1967). Raju (Rajesh Khanna) an orphaned lad grew up with four elephants. Later, he strikes it rich and builds a private zoo for himself, where all kinds of animals, lions, tigers, bears and the four elephants stay together. He meets Tanu (Tanuja) and the duo get married. Tanu is jealous of the animals as she feels Raju loves them more. Concerned for their newborn child’s safety, she asks Raju to choose between her and his animal friends and leaves home when he chooses the animals. Ramu, the eldest elephant, brings about a reconciliation but loses his life in the process.
- Best Tanuja Movie – Anubhav (1971)
The film was a case study on marital discord and won the National Film Award for Second Best Feature Film. Both Sanjeev Kumar and Tanuja were much appreciated for their realistic portrayal of a married couple. The film was reportedly shot at Tanuja’s own house. Since it was made on a meager budget, the artists used to drop in whenever they had time. It was appreciated for its music and had some of the last songs sung by legendary singer Geeta Dutt. Music director Kanu Roy and lyricist Gulzar produced meaningful songs like Meri Jaan Mujhe Jaan na Kaho, Koi chupke se aake and Mera dil jo mera hota, and Geeta Dutt them a gravitas through her dulcet voice. Amar (Sanjeev Kumar) and Meeta (Tanuja) are a happily married couple. After six years of marriage, Amar becomes more focussed on his career. The unexpected entry of Meeta’s ex-lover Shashi (Dinesh Thakur) at this point of time, further strains their relationship. How they overcome the discord forms the crux of the film.
- Best Tanuja Movie – Jeene Ki Raah (1969)
The film is a remake of Telugu movie Brathuku Theruvu (1953), starring Akkineni Nageswara Rao and Savitri. Mohan (Jeetendra) a village lad just out of college, is married to Shobha (Anjali). He is in the city in search of a job and Radha’s (Tanuja) father gives him work on the condition that he should be single. He lies to get the job. Radha is wheelchair bound but thanks to Mohan’s company, she soon starts showing signs of improvement and is cured in no time. Even her doctor (Sanjeev Kumar) thinks that Mohan is responsible for her well-being. Radha falls in love with Mohan and he too seemingly reciprocates the feelings. He starts leading a double life. But what would happen when he gets caught. Would Radha go back to being an invalid? It was melodramatic as hell but good, clean fun at the same time, at least by the standards of that era.
- Best Tanuja Movie – Jewel Thief (1967)
The director had a yen for showmanship and Jewel Thief gave India one of the best heist films. Fabulous locations, outlandish plots, and outrageous women are all plot points of such films and Goldie provided them all. He had a bevy of beauties, consisting of Helen, Anju Mahendru, Tanuja, and the female lead Vyjayanthimala hovering around the hero a la Bond films. The female actors were surprisingly modern for the times. Tanuja doesn’t hesitate to shimmer in the song Raat akeli hai in a bid to seduce Dev Anand, Anju Mahendru has no issues ‘sharing’ Jewel Thief with other women. It also starred a rather libidinous hero, who doesn’t tone down the Casanova act despite having a soft spot for the heroine. The director went to the then Sikkim State to picturise some key scenes. One remembers the Hothon pe aisi baat song in particular. SD Burman’s soft romantic tunes like Yeh dil na hota Bechara, Aasman ke neeche, and Dil puka continue to haunt us even now.
- Best Tanuja Movie – Hamari Yaad Aayegi (1961)
It’s said that infuriated by her lack of concentration, director Kidar Sharma lost his cool and slapped her on the sets. The slap acted as a catalyst and made Tanuja behave more responsibly towards her craft. It effectively turned her into an actress. She played a care-free street urchin who is sheltered by an idealistic young man Ashok (Ashok Sharma). She betrays him, however, when his rich friend comes into her life and runs away with the guy for the sake of lucre. Heartbroken, Ashok falls ill and dies of his illness. The film today is known for its hauntingly beautiful song Kabhi tanhaiyon mein yoon hamari yaad aayegi sung by Mubarak Begum and composed by Snehal Bhatkar.