A power-house of talent

A power-house of talentVijaya Nirmala

Vijaya Nirmala, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 73, was a versatile actress and director who went on to direct 44 movies in Telugu and...

Vijaya Nirmala, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 73, was a versatile actress and director who went on to direct 44 movies in Telugu and entered the Guinness Book of World Records in the year 2002 as she was the only lady director who made so many films.

Born in Chennai in February,1946, she started her career as a child artiste at the tender age of six years in the Tamil film, 'Matsya Rekhai' (1951), and went on to act in 200- odd movies including Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam in her illustrious career spanning over nearly five decades. Besides, she went on to become a producer and director.

In the year 1957, she played the role of Lord Krishna in 'Pandurangamahatyam' with the legendary NT Rama Rao and Anjali Devi as the lead pair. Vijaya Nirmala made her debut as one of the heroines in 'Rangula Ratnam' (1966) directed by B N Reddy. In the year 1967, she was paired with Krishna in the film 'Saakshi,' the debut directorial venture of Bapu and eventually married her co-star. Together, they went on to act in 47 films and important among these were 'Mosagallaku Mosagaadu,' 'Pandanti Kapuram,' 'Padi Pantalu' and 'Kurukshetram' Both of them setup their own production house Vijayakrishna Pictures in 1973 and produced several female-centric films like 'Meena,' 'Devude Gelichadu,' 'Pinni', etc.

Narrating her experiences to the media during the early stages of her career, Vijaya Nirmala gave some interesting anecdotes. In one such incident, when she was selected to play the female lead in the 1960s, the legendary character actor S V Ranga Rao, who spotted her was shocked and asked the producer and director as to how they selected her as she was looking so small as a mouse. However, Vijaya Nirmala, proved him wrong and after watching her film, Ranga Rao was impressed and complemented her acting skills.

Vijaya Nirmala said that she acted as child Krishna in Panduranga Mahatyam (1957) and from then on, N T Rama Rao, who was the male lead in the film used to address her as 'Krishna.' In the late 1980s, she along with her husband Krishna, produced many political satires like 'Naa Pilupe Prabhanjanam', 'Sahasame Naa Oopiri' and 'Mandaladhishudu' lampooning NTR, who was the Chief Minister at that time. When she met NTR, who took the criticism in their films sportively, asked her jovially, "What Krishna? Have you finished hurling abuses at me or is there anything still left?" Being a great actor himself, NTR did not hold any grudge against Vijaya Nirmala and Krishna though there were political differences between them. For her contributions to the Telugu film industry, Vijaya Nirmala was honoured with the Raghupati Venkaiah Award in the year 2008 by the Government of Andhra Pradesh. Vijaya Nirmala has a son, Naresh, who is also an actor. Presently, he is the president of Movie Artistes Association (MAA)

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