Vyjayanthimala Vyjayanthimala
Indian actress, politician & dancer
Vyjayanthimala Vyjayanthimala
Vyjayanthimala Bali, also known by the mononym Vyjayanthimala, is an Indian film actress, Bharathanatyam dancer, Carnatic singer, dance choreographer, golfer and Parliamentarian. Vyjayanthimala was one the biggest Bollywood stars in a career lasting almost two decades. She was also the first South Indian actress to become a national star and "paved way" for the other South Indian actresses to foray into Bollywood.
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    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2011
    Age 74
    In 2011, in conjunction with actor Dev Anand's death, Vyjayanthimala recollected her memories during the filming in Madras where she remembers the actor calling her "Papa", the Tamil termed that was used by her family and friends, and he would search for her throughout the sets while yelling "where is Papa, where is my heroine".
    More Details Hide Details According to Subhash Chheda, when Amar Deep was released, the long-awaited airing of Vyjayanthimala and Dev Anand was compared to the Madhubala and Dev Anand pair, where the public verdicted that ""If Madhubala brooks no equality, Vyjayanthimala admits no superiority". Unfortunately, the film failed to turn Vyjayanthimala and Dev Anand team into a hit pair. The same year Vyjayanthimala was booked by M. G. Ramachandran for his second directorial venture Ponniyin Selvan. One of the first screen adaptation of Kalki Krishnamurthy's Ponniyin Selvan the film had a huge ensemble cast consisting of Gemini Ganesan, Padmini, Savitri, Saroja Devi, M. N. Rajam and Nagesh along with Ramachandran and Vyjayanthimala. In the film, she was given the role of Kundavai, the elder sister of Raja Raja Chola I, played by Ganesan and the wife of Vallavaraiyan Vandiyadevan, played by Ramachandran.
  • 2007
    Age 70
    In 2007, she published her autobiography, titled Bonding, with Jyoti Sabarwal as co-writer.
    More Details Hide Details Vyjayanthimala is a Vaishnavite and a vegetarian. She grew up listening to holy chants and devotional songs. She is a devotee of Aandaal, one of the 12 Alvar saints of South India. She used to invoke Aandaal before any public performance to gain her blessing.
  • 1999
    Age 62
    Later she joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on 6 September 1999.
    More Details Hide Details In her hey-days, Vyjayanthimala was the subject of many controversies, particularly for her relationship with her co-stars. In the early 1960s, Vyjayanthimala was linked with Dilip Kumar, who has acted with her the most compared to any other actress which resulted in great on-screen chemistry between them. While working for his home production Gunga Jumna (1961), it is said that Kumar handpicked the shade of sari that Vyjayanthimala would wear in every scene. In addition to that, film historians Bunny Reuben and Sanjit Narwekar have confirmed the Kumar & Vyjayanthimala's affair where they had said that Vyjayanthimala was Kumar's third love after Kamini Kaushal and Madhubala. In the early 1960s, actor Raj Kapoor had commenced the filming of Sangam with Vyjayanthimala playing the female lead along with Rajendra Kumar and Kapoor himself as male lead. The filming took four years to finish. During this time Vyjayanthimala is said to have been romantically involved with Kapoor and almost married him. Initially, she was vexed with him and kept him at a distance. However Kapoor did not give up over her attitude. This incident had made Kapoor's wife Krishna move out of her husband’s house with their children. They checked into Natraj Hotel in Mumbai and stayed there for four and a half months as Krishna was disgusted with the affair.
    In 1999, she has resigned from the primary membership of the Indian National Congress party.
    More Details Hide Details In her letter to the party's president Sonia Gandhi, she included the reason for her resignation where she said that, "painfully watching the party drifting from its avowed principles after the death of Rajiv Gandhi. The party has lost touch with its grassroots and one can see day in and day out that sincere party workers are being steadily ignored", she adds more, "increasingly difficult to justify ourselves to the public and my conscience does not allow me to stay in the party any longer".
  • FIFTIES
  • 1993
    Age 56
    Later in 1993, she was nominated to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India for a six-year term.
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  • 1989
    Age 52
    In 1989, Vyjayanthimala again had to face the 1989 Tamil Nadu general election, this time she was opposed by Aladi Aruna of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
    More Details Hide Details She again beat her opposition by nearly 12584 votes.
  • FORTIES
  • 1985
    Age 48
    Subsequently, she debuted in the Lok Sabha, the directly elected lower house of the Parliament of India by the end of January 1985 with Amitabh Bachchan.
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  • 1984
    Age 47
    Vyjayanthimala's political career was initiated in 1984 when she contested in 1984 Tamil Nadu general election for the South Chennai constituency as the nominee of the Indian National Congress opposite Era Sezhiyan, the leader of Janata Party and seasoned parliamentarian.
    More Details Hide Details During the campaign, Sezhiyan took provoking quotes such as "Send me to the Lok Sabha. Send her to R.R. Sabha (an organisation promoting fine arts)" to defeat Vyjayanthimala, ironically she won the election with margin of about 48,000 votes where she gained 313,848 with percentage of 51.92%.
  • 1981
    Age 44
    Following that, she refused the multi-starrer 1981 blockbuster film Kranti opposite Dilip Kumar with Manoj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini, Shatrughan Sinha, Parveen Babi, Sarika as the ensemble cast which was directed and produced by Manoj Kumar himself.
    More Details Hide Details Apart from Hindi films, she refused the 1989 Tamil film Mappillai starring Rajinikanth. As said by Rajinikanth who played the lead role, "actor Vyjayanthimala was first offered the role of mother-in-law in Maapilai which was a pivotal role, but she refused the film even though the producer of the film Chiranjeevi come forward to give her huge salary, she said that she does not want to play the role of antagonist opposite me and will never agree to be part of fighting scene against me". Following many films refused by Vyjayanthimala, Dinesh Raheja from Rediff commented that "good money and pivotal roles notwithstandingdid not seem alluring enough".
  • THIRTIES
  • 1975
    Age 38
    Perhaps the most famous role that Vyjayanthimala ever turned down was the 1975 crime-drama film Deewar.
    More Details Hide Details Inspired by 1961 film Ganga Jumna, a Vyjayanthimala starer, the film was directed by Yash Chopra and features Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor in the lead roles. She turned down the role of a mother for the lead actors which later went to Nirupa Roy who attained popularity through success of the film and later cast in similar roles.
    However, in 1975, Vyjayanthimala was almost signed in Gulzar's Aandhi with Sanjeev Kumar but she backed out from the project as the role resemble Indira Gandhi's personal life.
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  • 1968
    Age 31
    Vyjayanthimala married Chamanlal Bali in 1968.
    More Details Hide Details After marriage, she gave up her acting career and moved to Chennai. They have a son, Suchindra Bali.
    In 1968, she was signed opposite Raj Kapoor in Mahesh Kaul's Sapno Ka Saudagar, she refused the role which went to the debutante Hema Malini, who become one of the biggest actress in Bollywood later.
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    All her releases in 1968 did not enjoy success at the box office.
    More Details Hide Details Duniya, Saathi and Sunghursh was named as tenth, eleventh and twelfth highest-grossing film of 1968 respectively, with the first two was labelled as average while the latter only managed to do above average business at box office. On the other hand, Duniya is considered as a hit film by some critics and often included in the hit film list of Dev Anand. Post her retirement in films, Vyjayanthimala was offered with many roles by big banners opposite leading actors of that time. But she refused all those offers as she does not want to make a comeback.
    In 1968, Vyjayanthimala appeared in three big budget film with high-profile actors such as Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Rajendra Kumar.
    More Details Hide Details Her first release in the year was Sunghursh, directed by Mere Mehboob (1963) fame Harnam Singh Rawail. She co-starred Dilip Kumar for the seventh and last time in her career with Balraj Sahni and Sanjeev Kumar in key roles. Originally offered to actress Sadhana, the role later went to Vyjayanthimala as the former suffers with her thyroid problem. Reportedly she did not exchange a word with Kumar while filming following their relationship broke up. Vyjayanthimala's enactment of a courtesan Laila-e-Aasma, she received positive feedback from the critics. Anuj Kumar form The Hindu said that "Vyjayanthimala is graceful as ever. In a film dominated by men, Rawail made sure she had a substantial role. Her dances and Naushad’s lilting tunes come as a welcome break to the sinewy tone imparted by Abrar Alvi and Gulzar’s dialogues". The role fetched her Best Hindi Actress Award at 25th Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards. Sunghursh was followed by Saathi directed by C. V. Sridhar. Remake of highly acclaimed Tamil film of 1961, Palum Pazhamum, the film had Rajendra Kumar and Simi Garewal replacing Sivaji Ganesan and Sowcar Janaki respectively from the Tamil version with Vyjyanthimala enacting the role originally portrayed by B. Saroja Devi. The same year she co-starred with Dev Anand for the third time and last time in T. Prakash Rao's Duniya.
  • 1967
    Age 30
    After Amrapali which was the biggest flop in her career and some personal issues with co-stars, Vyjayanthimala lost interest in films. In 1967, she was signed in Tapi Chanakya's Ram Aur Shyam which was a remake of 1964 Telugu film Ramudu Bheemudu.
    More Details Hide Details She co-starred Dilip Kumar for the seventh time who previously had made some memorable films with her. However, due to some misunderstanding between Kumar and Vyjayanthimala, Vyjayanthimala was replaced by Waheeda Rehman. The same year she starred in Vijay Anand's Jewel Thief after Saira Banu backed out of the project due to her marriage with Dilip Kumar. The crime thriller reunited Vyjayanthimala after a decade with her co-star Dev Anand after Amar Deep. Jewel Thief also had Ashok Kumar as the main antagonist with four more female leads Tanuja, Helen, Anju Mahendru and Faryal. For the first time she worked under Dev Anand's production house, the Navketan Films after being rejected by Tad Danielewski for the lead role in 1965 Hindi film Guide. The success of Jewel Thief made Vyjayanthimala and Dev Anand a hit pair. Three decades later, Vyjayanthimala was approached by Dev Anand for a role in the sequel of Jewel Thief, Return of Jewel Thief (1996), but she refused to act in the film as she did not planned to make a comeback. Subsequently, Vyjayanthimala's dance number in "Hothon Pe Aisi Baat Main" sung by Lata Mangeshkar becomes huge hit where it was considered as one of the best dance number in Indian cinema while being influential for the rises of other dance numbers such as "Chamma Chamma" and "Sheila Ki Jawani" from China Gate and Tees Maar Khan respectively. The same year she did the magnum opus Chhoti Si Mulaqat produced by Bengali actor Uttam Kumar.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1966
    Age 29
    According to Boxofficeindia.com, the film grossed around 50,000,000 with nett gross of 25,000,000 and becomes second highest-grossing film of 1966 with verdict super hit at box office.
    More Details Hide Details The film was also thirteenth highest-grossing film of the decade with its adjust to inflation nett gross is about. While Ibosnetwork.com reported that the film 40,000,000 and its adjust to inflation gross is about. Following Suraj, Vyjayanthimala starred in the historical film Amrapali. Based on life of the Nagarvadhu (royal courtesan) of Vaishali, Amrapali, she played the title role along with Sunil Dutt who enacted the role of King Ajatashatru. Upon release the film was opened to widespread critical acclaim and was India's official submission for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 39th Academy Awards. The film was huge colossal flop which left Vyjayanthimala heartbroken where she decided to quit the industry, though director Baldev Raj Chopra felt that she could have easily continued for another decade in lead roles.
    In 1966, Vyjayanthimala starred in Do Dilon Ki Dastaan which failed at the box office.
    More Details Hide Details After some box office flops, Vyjayanthimala soon signed alongside Rajendra Kumar in the swashbuckler ruritanian romance Suraj. Directed by T. Prakash Rao, the film had Mumtaz, Bharathi Vishnuvardhan and Neetu Singh. Suraj was huge box office success and was one of the popular costume drama in Bollywood. Suraj was the last successful film of Rajendra Kumar and Shankar Jaikishan who introduced singer Sharda through this film.
  • 1965
    Age 28
    In 1965, Vyjayanthimala starred in two box office disappointing films Naya Kanoon with Ashok Kumar and Bharat Bhushan, Nam Iruvar with T. R. Mahalingam.
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  • 1964
    Age 27
    Her last release in 1964 was Ishaara, in which she co-starred actor Joy Mukherjee for the first time.
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  • 1962
    Age 25
    The Boxofficeindia.com ranked Vyjayanthimala at Top spot in their list of "Top Three Successful Box Office Actress" of 1962 and 1963 respectively despite her box office failures.
    More Details Hide Details Following two years sabbatical, Vyjayanthimala re-attained her success in Bollywood through Raj Kapoor's first technicolor film Sangam. Termed as Kapoor's magnum opus, the film was produced at lavish budget by his production company R. K. Films. Earlier in the 1940s, Kapoor planned to launch Sangam in the title of Gharonda with Dilip Kumar and Nargis and himself in the lead, however the film was delayed for several times until 1962. Following Kumar and Dev Anand's refusal to be a part of the film, Kapoor then fixed Rajendra Kumar and himself as the male leads. Sangam was the first Indian film shot in Europe and outside of Asia. It was the longest running film in India when it was released at 238 minutes. The film also created a record by being the first film to have two cinema intervals. Cinematography by Radhu Kamarkar, the European filming locations include Venice, Paris, Switzerland and London while the Indian locations include Ooty and Kashmir Valley. Upon release the film was well received by critics and was considered as Bollywood's greatest love triangle. Vyjayanthimala's performance too was praised by critics. Dinesh Raheja of Rediff said that "to put it simply, radiantthe maturity with which she tackles her character, the insouciance as well as the agony" and call it as "one of commercial cinema's most unforgettable performances". Similarly, the film was commercially successful throughout India and other country as well.
    Her career then struggled again with some box office duds in the following year. In 1962 she co-starred Manoj Kumar in Dr. Vidya which performed average at box office.
    More Details Hide Details Dr. Vidya was followed by two more box office disappointments, Rungoli with Kishore Kumar and Jhoola with Sunil Dutt. 1963 saw a steady decline in her film career where she co-starred Sivaji Ganesan in Historical fiction Chittoor Rani Padmini. Written by C. V. Sridhar and directed by Chitrapu Narayana Rao, the film proved to be a box office failure and marked the end of Vyjayanthimala's career in Tamil cinema. The same year Bimal Roy who earlier worked with her in Devdas and Madhumati offered her the lead role in Bandini opposite Ashok Kumar and Dharmendra. However, Vyjayanthimala could not accept the role due to her busy schedule.
    Beginning from 1962, most of her films performed either averagely or poorly at the box office.
    More Details Hide Details However, in 1964, with the success of Sangam her career hits the peak again. She reinvented herself playing a modern Indian girl appearing in revealing costumes and one-piece swimsuit. She went to receive her third Best Actress Award at the 12th Filmfare Awards for her role as Radha in Sangam. She later achieve critical acclaim for her performance in the historical drama Amrapali, which was based on the life of Nagarvadhu (royal courtesan) of Vaishali, Amrapali. The film received universal acclaim, but it was a huge box office failure, which left Vyjayanthimala, who had a huge expectation on the film, disenchanted to the point where she decided to quit films. In the end of her career Vyjayanthimala was mostly seen in commercially successful films such as Suraj, Jewel Thief and Prince with few critically acclaimed films such as Hatey Bazarey and Sunghursh. Most of them were released after Vyjayanthimala had left the film industry.
  • 1961
    Age 24
    Despite some mixed reviews, the film was labelled as hit at box office and was declared as the fourth highest-grossing film of 1961 where it had a silver jubilee run at the theatres.
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  • 1960
    Age 23
    Her first release in 1960 was S. S. Vasan's Irumbu Thirai, the Tamil version of Paigham.
    More Details Hide Details She starred opposite Sivaji Ganesan for the second time after the latter's cameo appearance in Marma Veeran (1956). Along with Vyjayanthimala, all the female cast including B. Saroja Devi, Pandari Bai and Vasunthara Devi reprised their role from the original with S. V. Ranga Rao in Motilal's role and K. A. Thangavelu in Raaj Kumar's character. The film was followed by Raja Bakthi again with Sivaji Ganesan. Raja Bakthi had huge ensemble cast featuring P. Bhanumathi, Padmini, T. S. Balaiah and E. V. Saroja. Her subsequent release was D. Yoganand's magnum opus Parthiban Kanavu. Co-starring Gemini Ganesan for the third time and B. Saroja Devi for the second time, the film was based on Kalki Krishnamurthy's 1942 novel with the same name. Apart from Tamil, the film was produced in Telugu and Sinhala languages. Upon release the film met with positive response from the critics and was awarded the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil at the 8th National Film Awards. However the film did not fare well at box office but Vyjayanthimala's performance was appreciated by critics. She also acted opposite M. G. Ramachandran for the first time in Baghdad Thirudan. Meanwhile, she did a Hindi film titled College Girl opposite Shammi Kapoor which fared average at box office and was declared as eighteenth highest-grossing film of the year.
    In 1960, Vyjayanthimala mostly concentrated on Tamil films to keep in touch with the industry.
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  • 1959
    Age 22
    Upon release Paigham became second highest-grossing film of 1959 with a verdict of a box-office hit.
    More Details Hide Details The same year she did a Tamil film, Athisaya Penn where she co-starred with Telugu actor Akkineni Nageswara Rao for the first time. Athisaya Penn was a remake of Aasha which again was directed by M. V. Raman.
    In 1959, Vyjayanthimala reunited with Dilip Kumar for the fourth time in bilingual Paigham.
    More Details Hide Details Produced and directed by S. S. Vasan, the film featured the lead actors along with Raaj Kumar, B. Saroja Devi, Pandari Bai and Motilal. Besides them, Vyjayanthimala's real-life mother Vasunthara Devi also acted in a small role where she played the role of mother to her own daughter who died in vain.
  • 1958
    Age 21
    Similarly, Boxofficeindia.com ranked Vyjayanthimala at the top spot in their list of "Top Three Successful Box Office Actress of 1958".
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    By the end of the year, The Indian Express named Vyjayanthimala as the most successful female star of 1958.
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    Sadhna also performed well at the box office where it became fifth highest-grossing film of 1958 with trade pundits declaring the film a box-office hit.
    More Details Hide Details Subsequently, Vyjayanthimala received two Filmfare nominations in Best actress category for Madhumati and Sadhna, where she won her first ever Filmfare trophy for the latter after refusing to accept the Best Supporting Actress Award trophy for Devdas (1955) earlier. Her next release was Amar Deep where she was paired against Dev Anand for the first time. A production of Sivaji Ganesan's Sivaji Productions, the film was a remake of 1956 Tamil film Amara Deepam which had Ganesan himself in the lead. Along with Padmini who reprised her role from the original, Vyjayanthimala plays the role of Aruna which was originally performed by actress Savitri in Tamil.
    The film was well received by critics and audience where it became highest grossing Bollywood film of 1958 and was labelled as blockbuster at box office and ended up as fifth highest-grossing film of the decade with its adjusted inflation net gross to about 586.4 million.
    More Details Hide Details Her performance as Madhavi, Radha and the ghost Madhumati earned her accoladates from critics. Shahid Khan from Planetbollywood.com said "Vyjayantimala has never been one of my most favourite actresses but this is one of the few performances where I am completely bowled over by her. Her expressions while playing both the main characters are perfect. With Madhumati, she brings the wonder, surprise and innocence needed in the person. With Madhavi, she brings the poise, the curiosity and pity for the grief that Anand is going through" and Karan Bali from Upperstall.com wrote that "For Vyjayanthimala, the film showcases both her acting as well as dancing abilities and the dizzying success of Madhumati took Vyjayanthimala to the highest rungs of stardomto cap off an extremely successful year for her. Both, as an actress of considerable dramatic merit and as a star". Madhumati came to be known as the first film which dealt with the theme of reincarnation and had a gothic noir feel to it. The film later inspired films such as Milan (1967), The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975), Mehbooba (1976), Kudrat (1980), Karz (1980), Karan Arjun (1995) and particularly Om Shanti Om (2007) which had also lifted the film's climax which led to Rinki Bhattacharya, the late Roy's daughter accusing the film of plagiarism and threatening legal action against its producers.
  • 1957
    Age 20
    She returned to the screen again with Kishore Kumar in the 1957 partially colour-made film Aasha which became a hit at the box office.
    More Details Hide Details The story revolves around the central character Kishore, played by Kishore Kumar, who, despite being a Zamindaar, believes in helping the needy. Vyjayanthimala, as Nirmala, plays the lover of Kishore. The story suddenly goes from being light-hearted and humorous to a court-drama when Kishore is falsely accused for murder. The rest of the movie sees both the protagonists trying to prove Kishore's innocence. The movie is best known for its song Eena Meena Dekha sung by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle, in two different versions Aasha also introduced actress Asha Parekh, to the silver screen, in a song alongside Vyjayanthimala, whom Parekh described as her matinee idol. The following year proved to be very successful for Vyjayanthimala where she signed opposite Dilip Kumar in Bimal Roy's Madhumati in the title role. Originally supposed to essay four roles, the director finally scaled it down to three, Madhumati, Madhavi and Radha. The film was launched in front of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Theatre in Czechoslovakia. During the filming at the hills of Nainital, Vyjayanthimala was required to dance with barefoot where she tripped on a stone and fell while hurting herself badly causing damage to her fibre tissues in the sole of her foot. Roy who was terrified and in a quandary over the incident as the shooting could not be stopped insisted on her wearing sandals which made it difficult for her during running sequences.
    Following that, Vyjayanthimala almost signed for the lead role in Filmistan's Tumsa Nahin Dekha opposite Dev Anand in 1957, but due to the producer Sashadhar Mukherjee's promise to actor Shammi Kapoor, he replaced Dev Anand with Shammi Kapoor.
    More Details Hide Details However the director, Nasir Hussain was in a quandary as he had already read the script to Dev Anand and Vyjayanthimala but Mukerji prevailed and he also replaced Vyjayanthimala with Ameeta, who was the protégée of Filmistan Studios owner Tolaram Jalan. Vyjayanthimala's next release was Kathputli in which she co-starred with actor Balraj Sahni for the first time. This film was about a young girl named Pushpa who, on account of being a good dancer and singer, assists puppeteer Shivraj in his puppet show. This film was director Amiya Chakravarty's last film. He died during the filming of Kathputli and the remaining project was completed by director Nitin Bose. Kathputli remains as one of the memorable film of Vyjayanthimala which has an offbeat theme with a Pygmalion touch. Vyjayanthimala then acted in Ek Jhalak with Rajendra Kumar and Pradeep Kumar which was produced by the latter with his home production company Deep & Pradeep Productions.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1956
    Age 19
    Vyjayanthimala then acted with Kishore Kumar again in the comedy film New Delhi which became the fifth highest-grossing film of 1956 a box-office hit.
    More Details Hide Details The film showcases a love that sprouts between a Punjabi boy, played Kishore Kumar, and Tamil girl, played by Vyjayanthimala. Her performance was applauded by fans and critics alike; a review on Upperstall.com regarding her performance in this movie states that, "Vyjayanthimala proves to be the perfect foil for Kishore Kumarhas always had the mandatory dance sequence in practically every film of hers evoking 'classical art' associations. She excels in the two main dances in New Delhi — the solo Bharatnatayam Aliruppu number and the Bhangra folk dance in her Punjabi avtaar and she is absolutely brilliant in the Bhangra folk dancein her second avtar. Even Vyjayanthimala played a Punjabi girl and most successfully too". Subsequently, she did a Tamil film called Marma Veeran along with Sriram, Rajasulochana, M. N. Rajam, J. P. Chandrababu and Chittor V. Nagaiah. The film had some of the South Indian established actors such as N. T. Rama Rao, Sivaji Ganesan and Gemini Ganesan in guest appearance.
    After being recognised as a capable actress with Devdas, Vyjayanthimala acted in movies in 1956, namely Taj, Patrani and Anjaan: Somewhere in Dehli with Pradeep Kumar and Kismet Ka Khel with Sunil Dutt.
    More Details Hide Details In the same year, she also acted in swashbuckler film Devta which was a remake of a hugely successful Tamil film Kanavaney Kankanda Deivam. Surprisingly though, she accepted a supporting role as a vamp which was originally done by Lalitha in the Tamil version. However, according to Upperstall.com, her role was very crucial in the film and her portrayal as the Naag Rani accompanied by her dance is the main attraction of the film. Also starring in the movie, reprising their lead roles from the original, were Gemini Ganesan and Anjali Devi. Meanwhile, she was signed by Sohrab Modi for his film Rajhath opposite Pradeep Kumar. However, due to her schedule problem she was replaced by Madhubala.
  • 1955
    Age 18
    Though the film was critically successful but it did not garner much support at the box office and ended up as 10th highest-grossing movie of 1955 with an average verdict.
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    In 1955, Vyjayanthimala acted in around 4 films in Bollywood.
    More Details Hide Details The first one was by director Abdur Rashid Kardar's Yasmin alongside actor Suresh which won the Filmfare Best Cinematographer for Dwarka Divecha. Besides that, she also starred in three other films namely Pehli Jhalak with Kishore Kumar, Sitara with Pradeep Kumar and Jashan with Karan Dewan. Eventually all the films failed at box office. The same year, Bimal Roy cast her as Chandramukhi opposite Dilip Kumar in the critically acclaimed Devdas which was the adaptation of the novel with same title by Sharat Chandra Chatterji. The industry initially was not in favour of this choice when they heard about Vyjayanthimala being cast in Bimal Roy's film, the response being: "Why don't you take comedian Kishore Kumar as Devdas?". Initially Nargis was selected for Chandramukhi's role, but she refused to accept the role. The role was later offered to Bina Rai and Suraiya but they too turned it down as they wanted to essay the lead role of Paro, which was earlier offered to Meena Kumari. Subsequently, the film unit suffered with financial crisis and at this point Vyjayanthimala offered to do the role of Chandramukhi where she said to Bimal Roy, "I am ready if you think I can do it". On the other hand, Nabendu Ghosh, the script writer of Devdas, said that, "I did not approve of Vyjayanthimala Chandramukhi, but we had no option – no one wanted to play Chandramukhi, and we were committed to our distributorsShe was, of course, a very good actress, but she was too young for Chandramukhi, as envisioned by Saratbabu".
    Her performance as the Nagi tribe's chief, Mala got her favourable reviews from the critics, where in 1955 a critic from Filmfare magazine had said that "Vyjayanthimala in the title role puts over a commendable performance besides looking ravishingly beautiful as the belle of the hills.
    More Details Hide Details Her dancing, too, is very graceful, specially in those eye-filling colour sequences and delightful ballets towards the finish" while in The Hindu review Vijay Lokapally similarly praised her portrayal "The ethereal Vyjayanthimala, barely 18, illuminates the screen with her stunning beauty, moving around daintily from one song to the otherThe close-up shots of Vyjayanthimala highlight her ability to convey so much with so little effortNagin was a precursor to her rise in Hindi cinema as an iconic actor, who combined her talents, performing and dancing, to rule the screen on her termsbiggest recall values of Nagin are Vyjayanthimala". Post Nagin Vyjayanthimala had established herself as one of the leading actresses in Bollywood because of the film's nationwide success. Hemant Kumar's music and her dance on the song, Man Dole, Mera tan dole, rendered by Lata Mangeshkar was one of the highlights of the film. In the same year she acted in Miss Mala with Kishore Kumar. Vyjayanthimala debuted in Kannada cinema through a film called Asha Nirasha which was produced by G. D. Venkatram. The film had Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and Mohammed Rafi as the playback singers, but the movie was unreleased though the producer's son Srikant Venkatram claimed that the film was released and flopped miserably at box office which made the film obscure.
  • 1954
    Age 17
    In 1954, Vyjayanthimala acted in magnum opus film Nagin with Pradeep Kumar.
    More Details Hide Details The film got favourable responses from the audience and became the highest-grossing movie of 1954 where it was labelled as blockbuster.
  • 1951
    Age 14
    The film became sixth highest-grossing film of 1951 with a verdict of box-office hit.
    More Details Hide Details After the success of her debut films in all three languages, Vyjayanthimala again acted in multilingual film which was produced by Avichi Meiyappa Chettiar of AVM Productions. The first version was in Tamil as Penn where she co-starred with actor Gemini Ganesan, S. Balachandran and Anjali Devi. "Kalyanam venum" sung by J. P. Chandrababu for S. Balachandran became an instant hit. The second version was in Telugu titled Sangham which was released in the same year with N. T. Rama Rao, Vyjayanthimala, S. Balachandran and Anjali Devi in the lead. The Tamil and the Telugu films were big successes across South India. The film was once again remade in Hindi as Ladki starring Bharat Bhushan, Kishore Kumar while Vyjayanthimala along with Anjali Devi reprised her role from the original film. Her performance was described by Upperstall.com as, "Vyjayanthimala's dances are the film's saving grace although it is unintentionally funny now to see how deliberate and obviously tacky the sequences are which lead into her dancesLadki too makes no real demands on 'feminist' tomboy Vyjayanthimala histrionically". The movie became second highest-grossing film of 1953.
    The success of her Tamil film Vazhkai in South India inspired AVM Productions to remake it in Hindi as Bahar in 1951.
    More Details Hide Details In their first Hindi venture, they decided to cast Vyjayanthimala again in the lead role with Karan Dewan, Om Prakash and Pandari Bai (who was credited as Padmini in the film). She learned Hindi at the Hindi Prachar Sabha to dub her own voice for her character in the film. Upperstall.com in their review, wrote that "She does bring the film to life with her dances though, something which was new then for the North Indian audience".
  • 1950
    Age 13
    Vyjayanthimala also did a guest appearance in the 1950 film Vijayakumari which had actress T. R. Rajakumari in dual role.
    More Details Hide Details She danced for the song "laalu laalu laalu" which was choreographed by Vedantam Raghavaiah. Though the film was not a commercial success but her western-style of dance became popular and was considered as one of the major highlights of the film.
    Vyjayanthimala made her screen debut at the age of 16 through the Tamil film Vazhkai (1949) and Telugu film Jeevitham in 1950 and acted in Bollywood movies Bahar and Ladki.
    More Details Hide Details Following the success of Nagin, Vyjayanthimala established herself as one of Bollywood's leading actresses while making in-roads in successful Tamil and Telugu films. After successfully establishing herself as a commercial actress, Vyjayanthimala appeared in Devdas playing Chandramukhi, the hooker with a heart of gold, in 1955. In her first dramatic role, she received her first Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress at the 4th Filmfare Awards where she refused to accept the award citing that hers was not a supporting role, being the first person to refuse a Filmfare Award. Following that, Vyjayanthimala appeared in series of blockbuster films such as New Delhi, Naya Daur and Aasha. She reached the pinnacle of her success in 1958, when two of her films — Sadhna and Madhumati — became huge critical and commercial hits. She was nominated for two Filmfare Award for Best Actress Award for Sadhna and Madhumati and won the award for the former.
  • 1949
    Age 12
    She made her debut in the Tamil language film Vazhkai in 1949 and in the Telugu film Jeevitham in 1950.
    More Details Hide Details She later became one of the most prominent actresses of South India and the golden era in Bollywood. Vyjayanthimala was one of the biggest Bollywood stars with a career lasting almost two decades. She was the first south Indian actress to become a national star and "paved a way" for other south Indian actresses to foray into Bollywood. Vyjayanthimala is an accomplished dancer and was one of those who introduced semi-classical dance to Bollywood. Her subsequent dance numbers in her films had earned her the title of "twinkle toes". She was also referred to as one of the first female superstars of Hindi cinema and was known as "Numero Uno actress" for her "illustrious career in 1950s and 1960s". She was born in Triplicane near Parthasarathy Temple in Tamil family to M. D. Raman and Vasundhara Devi. Her mother was a leading actress in Tamil Cinema in the 1940s where her Mangama Sabatham was the first Tamil film to be declared a "colossal" hit at the box office. She used to call her mother by her name as her mother was only 16 years older.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1940
    Age 3
    At the age of seven, Vyjayanthimala was chosen to perform a classical Indian dance for Pope Pius XII while her mother was an audience in 1940 at Vatican City.
    More Details Hide Details Vyjayanthi did her schooling from Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School, Presentation Convent, Church Park, Chennai. She learned Bharata Natyam from Guru Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai and Carnatic music from Manakkal Sivaraja Iyer. She had her arangetram at the age of 13 and started performing in Tamil Nadu later. Her maternal uncle is Y. G. Parthasarathy.
  • 1938
    Age 1
    In 1938, her grandfather Gopalacharya, the late Mandayam Dhati, started a nursing home on Narayan Shastri Road, Mysore.
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  • OTHER
  • 1933
    Age -4
    Born on August 13, 1933.
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