T Krishna Kumari with Dipika
T Krishna Kumari with Dipika

The life of actor Krishna Kumari is as much of a fairy tale as her movies, and now, her daughter Dipika Khaitan brings out the magic in her maiden book. Like the protagonist, ‘My Mother, T Krishna Kumari’ is not ordinary in any sense of the term. It showcases the voyage of a teen actor, who was incidentally was spotted by a producer at a cinema hall and who went on to become one of the ruling stars of Telugu cinema. 

Through a rare collection of photographs, posters, anecdotes and first person accounts, the author brings out the persona of Krishna Kumari far beyond what is known to the public. For instance, who would know that the rangapravesham (first dance recital) of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was at Krishna Kumari’s house-warming dinner! Or that yesteryear’s star Nutan sang playback for Krishna Kumari. 

The book ‘My Mother, T Krishna Kumari’ by Dipika Khaitan is a story of a superstar, who at the pinnacle of her career, chose to give up the fame, the glamour and the arc lights and settle for a completely new way of life in a farm on the outskirts of Bengaluru

Krishna Kumari returned to stardom to do character roles at a time Sridevi and Jayaprada were beginning to get noticed. In the book, Sridevi remises, “I was a child when I worked with her (Krishna Kumari), and she was a big star. And I remember feeling that a princess had entered the room when she came onto the sets”. 

At the peak of her career, from the 1950s to the 1970s, Krishna Kumari worked with several icons like NT Rama Rao and Akkineni Nageswara Rao. Despite acting in 150 Telugu films, she didn’t restrict her talent to one language or genre. In fact she acted in over 30 Tamil and Kannada films and co-starred with legends including Sivaji Ganesan and Dr Rajkumar. Her repertoire won her fans and accolades across states, including the President’s Award. 

Yet, there is so much more to Krishna Kumari, apart from being an actor. She is an excellent cook, a gracious host, a nature lover, a faithful friend and a loving mother. Having had the privilege to experience all these avatars, the author manages to weave them in the most beautiful yet powerful manner. 

The protagonist, Krishna Kumari, has not just given permission to reveal her story, but has graciously shared recipes of her favourite dishes with the reader, including her famous beetroot chutney and the story behind it. ‘My Mother, T Krishna Kumari’ has been published by Maiya Publishing.