Sai Paranjpye was born on 19 March, 1938 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh to Youra Sleptzoff and Shakuntala Paranjpye. Youra Sleptzoff was a Russian watercolor artist and a son of a Russian general. Shakuntala Paranjpye was an Indian writer and a social worker.
Sai's parents divorced shortly after Sai's birth, and Sai's mother raised Sai in the household of her own father, Sir R. P. Paranjpye, who was a renowned mathematician and an educationist and who also served in 1944-47 as India's High Commissioner in Australia. Sai thus grew up in a few different cities in India, and in Canberra, Australia.
Sai took to writing early in her life,.Sai graduated from the National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi in 1963.Sai started her career in All India Radio (AIR) in Pune, Maharashtra, India as an announcer, and soon got involved with AIR's Children's Program.
Over the years, Sai has written and directed plays in Marathi, Hindi, and English, both for adults and children. She has written and directed thus far six feature films, two children’s films, and five documentaries. She has also written many book for children, and six of her books have won national or state level awards
Sai worked for many years as a director or a producer with Doordarshan Television in Delhi. Her first made-for-TV movie, The Little Tea Shop (1972), had won the Asian Broadcasting Union Award at Teheran, Iran. Later that year, she was selected to produce the Inaugural Program of Bombay (Mumbai) Doordarshan.Sai's first feature film, Sparsh (The Touch), was released in 1980, and it won five film awards, including the National Film Award. Sparsh was followed by the comedies, Chashme Buddoor (1981) and Katha (1982). Katha was a musical satire based on the folk tale of a tortoise and a rabbit
Sai next made TV serials, Ados Pados (1984), and Chhote Bade (1985).
Sai's subsequent movies include Angootha Chhap (1988) about National Literacy Mission; Disha (1990) about the plight of immigrant workers; Papeeha (Forest Love Bird) (1993); Saaz (1997) (inspired by the lives of Indian playback singing sisters, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle); and Chaka Chak (2005), which was aimed at creating public awareness about environment issues.Sai directed several documentary movies, including those on Helping Hand (London), Talking Books, Capt. Laxmi, Warna Orchestra, and Pankaj Mullick. Sai's 1993 documentary, Choodiyan, received the National Film Award for Best Film on Social Issues.
Sai was married to theater artist Arun Joglekar, and the two had a son, Gautam, and a daughter, Winnie. Sai and Arun separated after two years, but they remained friends until Arun's death in 1992. After their separation, Arun acted in Sai's Sparsh (1980) and Katha (1983). Their son Gautam Paranjpye is a professional cameraman, and their daughter Winnie Paranjpye Joglekar is now a home maker