Sheila Ramani, a forgotten name today, but most of us still remember her in Navketan’s Taxi Driver (1954) where she was cast as Anglo-Indian club Dancer – Sylvie. Sheila Ramani was introduced by Chetan Anand to Hindi films, which explains her association with Navketan. She was born in Sindh, and one of the few Sindhi actresses besides Sadhana who made it big in Bollywood. She was crowned Miss Shimla in the early 50s and was mostly seen as upper class mod girl in the 50s, a role she enacted to perfection all through that swinging era in films like V. Shantaram’s Teen Batti Char Raaste (1953), Sheikh Mukhtar’s Mangu (1954), Meenar (1954), Railway Platform (1955), and Funtoosh (1956).
Her Uncle Sheikh Latif alias Lachchu was a famous Pakistani producer who produced films like Pattan (1955), Khizan Kai Baad (1955), Darbar-e-Habib (1956) etc. Sheila visited Karachi – Pakistan on the request of her Uncle, to play the lead in Pakistani film Anokhi (1956). The film was based on well known English comedy of the time. “Gari ko chalana babu, zara halkey halkey halkey, zara dil ka jaam na chalkey” sung by Zubeda Khanum was the popular song from the film which did modest to good business in Pakistan. The movie’s great music was composed jointly by Timir Baran (a bengali who came from India for this purporse) and Hassan Latif. Sheila went back to India and remained as a middle-of-the-range performer in Bombay films. In the later part of her career, she was reduced to obscure films with titles that sounded like Jungle King (1959), and The Return of Superman (1960 – one of the last films composed by Anil Biswas). She bid adieu to films, got married and moved to U.S.A.
Nowadays, she lives in a small Indian town and keeps a low profile.