Anjali Devi (pronunciation (help·info)hk; 24 August 1927 – 13 January 2014) was an Indian actress, model and producer in Telugu and Tamil films. She was well known for her role as the Devi Sita in Lava Kusa as well as for the titular roles in movies like Suvarna Sundari and Anarkali.
Anjali Devi in 1949
24 August 1927
|Died||13 January 2014 (aged 86)|
(m. 1948; died 1991)
Anjali Devi was born in Peddapuram, East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh, India, as Anjamma. She changed her name to Anjani Kumari when acting in dramas. Later, director C. Pullaiah changed her name to Anjali Devi.
She was a theatre artiste before venturing into movies, her debut film role was as Lohitasva in "Raja Harishchandra" in 1936. Her first movie as a heroine was Kashtajeevi by L. V. Prasad in 1940, but that movie was abandoned after three reels shooting. Later, C.Pullayya discovered her and gave her the opportunity to star as Mohini in Gollabhama. Based on her acting ability and looks, she became a star overnight in 1947. She eventually acted in more than 350 films, majority of them in Telugu films and a few in Hindi, Tamil and Kannada films as the heroine or in character roles.
She acted in Lava Kusa, a milestone film and the first color film in the Telugu film industry in 1963. She is well known for playing Sita in Lava Kusa and her performances in films like Suvarna Sundari and Anarkali were also appreciated. Brundavanam (1992), Anna Vadina (1993) and Police Alludu (1994) were the last few films of her career. In Balaiah's Police Alludu and Anna Vadina she appeared alongside Brahmanandam. She acted in various roles, such as a damsel, an angel, a dancer, a demon, a goddess, a traditional woman and later in mother roles.
In 1955 she produced the film Anarkali, in which she herself played the titular role, with Akkineni Nageswara Rao as Prince Salim. Then she produced V. Madhusudan Rao's Bhakta Tukaram and Chandipriya. Bollywood and Tollywood actress Jayapradha played the lead role in the latter alongside Sobhan Babu and Chiranjeevi. As a producer she has produced 27 films. An ardent devotee of Sri Sathya Sai Baba she produced and acted in Shirdi Sai Parthi Sai Divyakatha, a tele-serial on the life and avatar of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. This was also the first screen appearance of Vijay Devarakonda, then a student of class 3 at Sri Sathya Sai Primary School, Puttaparthi in 1997.
She married P. Adinarayana Rao, a music director, in 1948. They settled in Chennai. They have two sons. Together, they produced many Telugu films under the banner, Anjali Pictures. Their granddaughter, Saila Rao, is also an actress.
Devi died at the age of 86 on 13 January 2014 at Vijaya Hospital, in Chennai, due to a cardiac arrest. Her organs were donated to Ramachandra Medical College. She is survived by her sons.
- Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu – Anarkali (1955)
- Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu – Suvarna Sundari (1957)
- Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu – Chenchu Lakshmi (1958)
- Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu – Jayabheri (1959)
- Honorary doctorate from Nagarjuna University, Guntur.
- Raghupathi Venkaiah Award in 1994 for her lifetime service to the Telugu film industry.
- Rashtrapati Award for Lava Kusa (1963).
- Ramineni Award in 2006 in the fine arts category.
- ANR National Award in 2008.
- Tamil Nadu State Film Honorary Award – Arignar Anna Award in 2000
- Padmabhushan Dr. B. Saroja Devi National Award in 2010 by Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan, Bangalore.
- Suvarna Sundari
- Chandi Priya
- Sati Sakkubai
- Shirdi Sai Sathya Sai Divya Katha (television series)
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- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 May 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 September 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 October 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Veteran actor Anjali Devi dead". The Hindu. Special Correspondent. 14 January 2014. ISSN 0971-751X. Archived from the original on 16 May 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "Anjali Devi passes away". Filmcircle.com. Archived from the original on 13 January 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2014.