Having acted in over 150 films in 4 or 5 languages, Chhaya Devi rightly occupies a prominent place amongst the more accomplished actresses of Indian cinema. Many old timers rate Chhaya Devi as one of the finest actresses that Indian cinema has seen. Although a majority of her films were in Bengali, she could prove her acumen in acting quite clearly in mainstream Hindi cinema too. She started her career in the early era of cinema in India, when Calcutta was also an important hub for Hindi movies, with double versions in Hindi and Bengali, comprising of the same artistes and directors being quite common. Thus it was that in that 1937 classic historical “Bidyapati” (in Bengali) and “Vidyapati” (in Hindi) she stole the limelight in front of a pan Indian audience. This was regarded as one of the best films from the then famous New Theaters. Prior to this she had made her first appearance in a lead role in the Bengali film “Sonar Sansar” by veteran director Debaki Bose.

Like another veteran and legendary actor of Indian cinema, Ashok Kumar, Chhaya Devi too was born in Bhagalpur, Bihar in a Bengali family residing outside Bengal at that time, and coincidentally, was also related to Ashok Kumar through the latter’s wife, Shobha. Being from a family that took interest in the performing arts, it was not unnatural that she took music lessons from an early age, and that too from renowned musicians of those days, including the renowned singer KC Dey, whose nephew Manna Dey later on went on to become one of the legendary singers in the film industry. It was in fact KC Dey who introduced Chhaya Devi to Debaki Bose, director of her first film in a lead role.

In the age of great actors on the Bengali screen she often co starred with the legendary Chhabi Biswas, matching her acting talents on an even keel. She had brilliant performances in films that she did for award winning director Tapan Sinha, starting from “Nirjan Saikate” in 1963, portraying the role of one of the 4 widows in the film; “Hatey Bazarey” in 1967, where she teams up with fellow Bhagalpurian Ashok Kumar for one of the latter’s Bengali films, and finally in “Apanjan” where she steals the show with her role of a condescending old woman trying to mould a group of misguided youth. That film, and especially Chhaya Devi’s role in it had prompted Gulzar to adapt it in Hindi under the name “ Mere Apne” giving that role to Meena Kumari. Discerning moviegoers who have seen both versions have, however, silently given their vote for Chhaya Devi. She also acted for another famous Bengali director, Mrinal Sen, appearing in his very first film “Raat Bhore” in 1956, and later on in “Abasheshe” in 1962.

Significant for her acting in her later stage films, where she settled for mostly character roles, were “Saat Paake Bandha” in 1963 portraying a dominant overbearing mother, and the 1977 Hindi film “Alaap” where she matches her acting with none other than Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha. Although her death came at a ripe old age of 87, her absence was felt quite prominently, especially in the Bengali film industry.
Anu Prabhakar Kannada Actress

Anu Prabhakar

Her mother Gayathri Prabhakar, the dubbing artist and actress, had introduced Anu Prabhakar into films. She debuted as a child artiste, in the two 1990 films “Chapala Chennigaraya” followed by “Shanti Kranti” and later went on to act in over 60 films, establishing herself well in the Kannada film industry. Having acted as the leading lady in several films, she now seems to have decided to play more of cameo roles, judging from her chosen role in the upcoming film, “Fair and Lovely”. Industry circles also say that she is perhaps now trying to get into a directorial mould – a long felt aspiration of hers. On the sidelines, she is also trying to catch up with finishing her education which she had to abruptly interrupt due to the priorities of acting, when she was an upcoming actress. After all, she had debuted as a child artiste, but her first lead role came only after another 9 years in 1999. That was in the film “Hrudaya Hrudaya”, pairing with one of the leading heroes of the time, Shivarajkumar. In her longish career thereafter, she had occasion to appear opposite Vishnuvardhan in a series of films, starting with “Soorappa” in 2000 till “Varsha” in 2005, the pair being a favourite of the cine-going crowd in Kannada at that time. Though her list of awards has been impressive, the most coveted must have been the Abhinaya Saraswathi title given to her by Kolada Math (a well known Bangalore Cultural organization), for her overall contribution to Kannada films. Amongst her upcoming notable films is “Akka” where she doubles up both as Akka Mahadevi, the Kannada poetess of yore, and also as the young Jyothi who is doing a doctoral thesis on her life and works. Perhaps the only major blot on her career has come not from her acting skills but from her personal life –the much publicized marriage of hers with Krishna Kumar, well known producer of Kannada films who also happens to be the son of yesteryear actress Jayanthi did not last long and ended up in a divorce.

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Daisy Bopanna

Daisy Bopanna is a well-known actress in the South Indian film industry, mainly in Kannada films. She is famous for her roles in films such as, ‘Aishwarya’, ‘Sathyavan Savithri’ and ‘Chakkara Viyugam’, etc. Daisy was born on 4th December in the year of 1982. She was born in the Kodagu District, now known as Coorg, in the state of Karnataka. She completed her higher secondary education from a school named Aurobindo School and from Kumarans College. She later moved to Bangalore and attended Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat to pursue graduation and took a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. She belonged to a family full of academics and scholars, and she had aspired to be a copywriter in an important advertising firm. She started off her acting career by enrolling in Spandana Theatre Camp by B. Jayashri and did many plays. She made her debut into the Kannada film industry with Kavitha Lankesh’s ‘Bimba’ and was screened at ‘Berlin and Frankfurt Film Festival’. Her role as ‘Saroja’ in the film had helped her achieve more roles in many films. She later appeared in H. Vasu’s ‘Bhagawan’ in the year 2004, and credited her by the name ‘Anjali’ which was her character’s name as well. From there she appeared in countless movies in Tamil, Kannada, and Telugu and over 150 commercials both regional and national. She made her debut into the Hindi film industry in Priyadarshan’s ‘Garam Masala’ in the year 2005 alongside Bollywood stars such as Akshay Kumar, Rimi Sen, John Abraham, Paresh Rawal, Neha Dhupia, Rajpal Yadav, etc. The movie was remade from a Malayalam movie named ‘Boeing Boeing’ which was also made by Priyadarshan himself. She played the role of ‘Deepti’ whose character was the fiancé of the character played by Akshay Kumar. She appeared in Udhayabhanu Maheshwaran’s Tamil film, ‘Chakkara Viyugam’ in the year 2008 alongside stars like Jayasurya and Raghav. She also made a special appearance in ‘Prajapthi’ a Malayalam movie starring the industry’s super star, ‘Mamootty’. She got married to Amit Jaju, who is a forensic analyst in the year 2011.

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Daisy Bopanna Kannada Actress