Lalita Pawar was a versatile actress in Indian Film history with more than 700 films in nearly 70 years in both Hindi and Marathi language. She was born on 18 April 1916 in Yevle, Nasik, Bombay Presidency, British India. Her Birth Name was Amba Laxman Rao Sagun which later became Lalita Pawar. She was the daughter of a well established silk marchent Laxman Rao Shagun.
She first married to Ganpatrao Pawar but their marriage had not last long as she came to know about the affair of her husband with her younger sister. After getting the divorce from her first husband, Lalita married to Rajprakash Gupta a film producer of Ambika studios, Bombay. Till her death, she was surrounded by her husband, son and her daughter-in-law.
Lalita made her debut in Raja Harish Chandra when she was only nine years old in 1928. The film Raja Harish Chandra deeply inspired M. K. Gandhi and this was the first film he saw in his life as written in his biography. This was a silent film. After this film, she also played lead role in different silent films like Kailash which was released in 1932. She produced a film in 1938 with the name Duniya Kya Hai.
But an accident changed the route of this versatile actress. In the year 1942, Lalita was working in Jung-E-Azadi with co-star Master Bhagwan. In this set, Master Bhagwan made a slap to Lalita and this slap made her facial paralysis and a burst left eye vein. She lost her left eye in this accident.
But later, this incident has made her more popular. As she begun to work as a maternal figures in films and this types of role suited her more than before. Under Hrishikesh Mukherjee's direction, she played a role of strict but sweet Mrs. L. D'Sa in film Anari with
in 1959. She was nominated for 3 times and won the Filmfare Award for her supporting role in Anari. Her other best roles were in film Shri 420 and in Mr and Mrs 55. She also played a role of Manthara, in Ramanand Sagars television serial, Ramayan. She had the experience of working as a wicked mother-in –law with different Indian actors like
, Raj Kapoor,
Lalita Pawan was honoured by the Government of India as the first lady of Indian cinema, in 1961. She also got Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1961 for her acting carrier.
She died on 24 February 1998 in Pune, Maharashtra, India when she was alone at her residence as all the family members were gone to Mumbai with her husband for his throat surgery. Her death was unnoticed for 2 days and she was cremated after 2 days of her death.