Leela Chitnis was an Indian actress, who is known for her films from the years the 1930s to 1980s. Though she played lead roles as a romantic actress, she is notable for her roles as virtuous mother of the leading actors in films. Leela was born in the Dharwad district of Karnataka. Her father was a professor of the English Literature. She is known to be the first actress who was educated. After her graduation, she joined a progressive theatre group named Natyamanwantar, which produced many plays in the Marathi language.

The theatre group's plays were mostly liked by the Norwegian director and poet, Henrik Johan Ibsen, Irish polemicist, playwright and critic named George Bernard Shaw and the Russian actor and director, Konstantin Stanislavsky. Leela played many lead roles in comedy and tragedy series with the theatre group. Her father was known for his adherence to the Brahmo Samaj, which is a religious movement that did not believe in caste. At a very small age, she was married to a very old man, Dr. Gajanan Yeshwant Chitnis, who had four children together.

The couple participated in the India's struggle for freedom from the British and also risked to get arrested to harbour Manabendra Nath Roy, who was a Marxist freedom fighter. She left her husband later and started working as a school teacher. Along with teaching, she started giving stage performances in many melodramas which were typical of that time. She acted in many movies and moved to Bombay University to get hired by Bombay Talkies Click to look into! >> Read More... Bombay Talkies , which was a major studio hiring college graduates only. Having three sons, she lived with Manavendra, her eldest son in the USA till her death. She is known to have three grandchildren at that time. Leela's early stage works consisted of Usna Navra in the year 1934 and Udyacha Sansar with her own film theatre group.

She started her career as an extra to support her children and ended up acting in stunt films. She acted in a film called Gentleman Daku in the year 1937, which was publicised in the famous English newspaper, Times Of India. She was already famous as an actress by that time. Before becoming the leading lady of Bombay Talkies, she worked at the Prabhat Pictures at Pune and also at Ranjit Movietone. Bombay Talkies was specialised in directing controversial films which challenged societal norms regarding invidious caste system, marriage, etc., so it had limited luck for success at the box office. With Leela as the lead actress, Kangan movie bounced it back and achieved success.

With the success of Kangan, she became the ravishing lady of Bombay Talkies replacing Devika Rani. She was known to be a good partner of Ashok Kumar for the hits of box-office like Azad, Jhoola, Bandhan, which focused on societal issues. Ashok Kumar said that he learnt the way to speak with eyes from this talented actress. She became the first Indian film heroine to endorse the Lux soap brand in 1941 when she was at the heights of her glamour and popularity. It was a concession granted only to the top heroines of Hollywood.

With the entry of many leading actresses, her career came downhill by the mid-1940s. She accepted the truth and entered in the most phase of her acting career in 1948 with Shaheed as the hero's ailing and suffering mother. For almost 22 years, she played as the mother of many later leading stars including the tragedy man, Dilip Kumar Muhammad Yusuf Khan was born on the 11th of Decemb >> Read More... Dilip Kumar . She created the archetype of being the Hindi Film mother continued by many upcoming actresses. Her maternal melodramatic behaviour was portrayed in many films like Awaara in the year 1951, Guide in 1965, etc.

She was very busy in the 1970s, but even before acting in Dil Tujhko Diya in the year 1985, she reduced her the number of movies in which she acted. She then moved to the US and joined her children in the late 1980s. She is also known to take part in producing, movie-making of Kisise Na Kehna in the year 1942 and Aaj Ki Baat Show Synopsis Coming Soon...  >> Read More... Aaj Ki Baat in the year 1955. She had written and directed Sacred Flame and published Chanderi Duniyet, her autobiography in the year 1981. Leela died at the age of 94, in a nursing home at Danbury.

Leela Mishra

Leela Mishra was a notable Indian actress, who was a character artist in more than 200 films of Bollywood for almost five decades. She also played in many stock roles like Chachi or Mausi i.e., as aunts. She is very famous for her character in Sholay as Mausi in the year 1975, Baton Baton Mein in the year 1979 and Dil Se Mile Dil in the year 1978. She also acted in many films of Rajesh Khanna like Aanchal, Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein, Mehbooba, and Rajshri Productions' hit movies like Geet Gaata Chal in the year 1975, Abodh in the year 1984. Leela was married to a character artist named Ram Prasad Mishra, who was working in some silent films when she was 12 years old. She gave birth to two daughters in five years after getting married. Leela's talent was first identified by a man named Mama Shinde. He was working for Nasik Cinetone of Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, who is famous as Dadasaheb Phalke. Since there was a scarcity of female actors in movies those days, Leela Mishra was paid higher compared to her husband. The salary of Ram Prasad was about Rs. 150 per month, while her salary was Rs. 500 per month. But, their agreements were cancelled as they fared very less on screen. They got their next chance to work for the movie produced by a big company which, was owned by the King of Kolhapur. The name of the film was Bhikarin. Leela lost this opportunity also as the character required that she should put her arms around an actor, who was not her husband during a dialogue delivery, as she refused to do it. She faced the same problem when she was working in a movie named Honhaar. She was to act as a heroine opposite Shahu Modak, in which it was necessary for her to hug, and also embrace him. She refused the offer again. She wasn't removed from the film as the company was not legally strong, and hence, it was a blessing for her. She played the role of Modak's mother in the same film, and it worked well. This success made her popular in playing mother roles at the age of 18. She acted in many notable films in the 1940s and 1950s like Anmol Ghadi in the year 1948, Awaara in the year 1951, which was directed by Raj Kapoor, Lajwanti in the year 1958, starred by Nargis and Balraj Sahni. This film was nominated for the highest prize awarded Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. She also worked in a Bhojpuri film named Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo in the year 1962, which was starred by Helen Khan, Kumkum, and Nasir Hussain. Leela died in Bombay at the age of 80 due to the heart attack on 17th January 1988.

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Leela Mishra Hindi Actress