Documentary on legendary Saroja Devi


The Karnataka government is producing a documentary on veteran multilingual actress B. Saroja Devi, who ruled the roost for more than three decades but is now leading a quiet life here.
The recipient of the Padma Bhushan award was a heartthrob of millions, particularly in Karnataka and neighbouring Tamil Nadu, and lit up the screen as a vivacious personality in over 300 films in five languages - Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi.

Veteran K.S.L. Swamee is directing the documentary and Kumari Hithaishini is playing the role of a young Saroja Devi. Well-known cinematographer Manjunath wields the camera and Pandit Pravin Godkindi scores music for the documentary.

"The focus of the documentary will be on her contribution to Kannada cinema, but the film will also deal with her career as 'a multilingual actor'," said Swamee.

The shooting started a few days ago in the St. Theresa Primary School at Chamarajpet, the actress' alma mater. She was also felicitated by the students for her achievements in life.

Saroja Devi made her debut at the age of 11 in the Kannada film "Mahakavi Kalidasa". Directed by the late Honnappa Bhagavathar, the film was released in 1956. She went on to star in popular Kannada films like "Anna Thangi" and "Schoolmaster". She also has the privilege of working in the first colour film of Kannada titled "Amarashilpi Jakanachari".

Later she moved to Tamil filmdom and made a big mark there too. She played leading female roles with each of the famous trio Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan and M.G. Ramachandran. All the three actors dominated Tamil cinema from the late 1950s to 70s.

She teamed up with Sivaji in hits like "Bhagappirivinai" and "Palum Pazhamum", played a memorable role with Gemini in "Kalyanapparisu", and matched MGR's larger than life persona in mass entertainers like "Nadodi Mannan".

She served as chairperson of the Karnataka State Film Industry Development Corporation.

The actress was born and brought up in Bangalore and moved there after taking a break from films. She was married to Sri Harsha, an engineer working with Bharat Electronics Limited. After Harsha's death, the actress is leading a quiet life and has been a role model for many leading heroines.

She is hugely respected by leading personalities of the Kannada film industry and continues to be a guiding force to the Kannada film artists association.


Indo-Asian News Service