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Padmini dies at 74
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, September 25
“Dancing Brilliance” and movie diva Padmini who had done more than 250 films in five languages succumbed to a massive heart attack today and died in a private hospital. She was 74.

Despite her hailing from Trivandrum, the actress got her break in a Hindi movie “Kalpana.” Sashaying between Bollywood and Kollywood with the ease of a trapeze artiste, Padmini was famous for her dancing roles which she performed with aplomb.

Padmini was the first South Indian actor to be cast in Hindi films — though she moved to the South soon afterwards. However, she kept her date with Bollywood by playing the roles of seductresses with Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Rajendra Kumar.

The late thespian Sivaji Ganesan was her favourite co-star with whom she did over 60 films — each one of them being a super hit. She had also acted with the late Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu — MGR in several movies.

Padmini had carved a niche for herself in the world of dancers with her intricate knowledge of Bharatnatyam. Apart from being famous in South India due to her roles in Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu, Padmini was the heart throb for moviegoers in the Hindi film industry as well.

She was born on June 12, 1932, in Trivandrum. She was part of the dancing trio in her home — with Ragini and Lalita being the other two. All three had a flourishing career in movies and were famous as the “Travancore Sisters.”

In the late sixties, Padmini decided to take a break from films, married and settled down in the USA. There she taught South Indian classical dance in New Jersey.

She alternated between India and the USA after her husband passed away in 1981. Teaching her students the nuances of South Indian classical dancing all the time — something she began learning at the tender age of four.

Padmini will be cremated later today after the arrival of her son Prem Anand from the USA where he works.

Padmini’s well known Hindi movies include “Aashiq,” “Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai” and “Mera Naam Joker.” She was one of the favourites of Raj Kapoor. She was also paired with the late Raj Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar and evergreen hero Dev Anand.


Padmini brought grace and drama to celluloid

Chennai, September 25
Padmini, was among the few artistes, who had imparted a sense of grace and drama rolled to her portrayal of a variety of characters during an acting career spanning several decades.

Still, occupying a place in the hearts of filmgoers, especially down South, the 74-year-old versatile artististe’s death last night came as a rude shock plunging the South Indian film industry into grief.

Only the previous evening she had attended the felicitation function for Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. Padmini, had been seen exchanging pleasantries with Mr Karunanidhi, who enquired “Nalandana”? (“Are you all right?), taking after a hit song from one of her many box-office hits “Thillana Mohanambal”.

But midway through the function, Padmini collapsed and was rushed to Apollo Hospital.

Known for her Bharatanatyam skills of the highest order, Padmini had acted in more than 250 films in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi in her long and distinguished career. She paired with prominent matinee idols, Sivaji Ganesan, MGR, Prem Nazir, Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand.

However, her pairing with late Sivaji Ganesan turned out to be perfect with both sharing great on-screen chemistry, leading to innumerable hits.

Padmini was also among the first of the heroines from the South who made it to Bollywood, beginning her career with ‘Kalpana’ at the age of 17 before starring in her first Tamil film “Manamagal” in 1950 with another legend N.S. Krishnan.

Born in Poojapura in Thiruvananthapuram on June 12, 1932, Padmini was the second daughter of a landlord, Thankappan Pillai and Saraswathi Amma. With her sisters Ragini and Lalitha, she formed the famous trio, “Travancore Sisters”. Padmini was the most successful of the trio in the artistic pursuits of dancing and acting, which the three were known for.

After ‘Kalpana’ and ‘Manamagal’, for which Mr Karunanidhi, who had also started his career in Kollywood wrote the dialogues, Padmini evolved into a versatile actor. In several films, she appeared for dance numbers. They include movies like ‘Vedhala

However, Padmini attained a special fame in Indian cinema when the showman late Raj Kapoor picked her as his leading lady in ‘Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai’ and ‘Aashiq’ in which she was one of the heroines with Nanda, in the ‘60s and later on in ‘Mera Naam Joker’.

Padmini went on to give commendable performances in a few other Hindi hits, including ‘Chanda Aur Bijli’ with another great actor Sanjeev Kumar, ‘Vaasna’ and ‘Kaajal’ with late Raaj Kumar. Earlier, she also paired with Dev Anand in ‘Amar Deep’ produced by Sivaji Ganesan’s production company.

After her marriage to Dr K.T. Ramachandran in 1961, Padmini settled down in United States where she started the Padmini School of Fine Arts. She lost her husband, in 1981. Their only son Premanand is an official with the Warner Brothers. — UNI



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