Jaya Prada is a renowned Indian actress and politician. She was born as Lalita Rani on April 3, 1958, in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh to Krishna Rao, a financier of Telugu films and Neelaveni. She enrolled in a dance and music classes at her tender age by her mother.
Jaya acted in several Telugu, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Bengali and Marathi films. From the year 2004 to 2014, she has been a part of the Member of Parliament from Rampur. At 14, she made a dance number during the annual function at her school. She was spotted by the director of the Telugu film, Bhoomi Kosam and offered her to do a 3-minute dance number in the movie. Initially, she was hesitant, but because of her family’s encouragement, she agreed to accept it.
She got paid 10 Rupees for her number, but this eventually led to a better and brighter future ahead in the field of show business. The three-minute dance number was shown to the biggies of the Telugu film industry. She earned several offers from major directors and she accepted them. In 1976, she became a big star who has acted in major hit films. Her dramatic skills in acting were showcased in the Telugu film,
Anthuleni Katha, helmed by the late K. Balachander. In the same year, she was notable for her role as a mute who dances excellently in K. Viswanath’s Siri Siri Muvva. Jaya also made a memorable role in the Telugu epic, mythological film, Seeta Kalyanam, which has shown her versatility as an actress. In the following year, she was starred in the box-office hit film,
Adavi Ramudu. This film has proven that she has a star quality and the song, Aaresukoboyi Paresukunnanu, which she performed along with N.T. Rama Rao became a big hit. Many prominent filmmakers cast her in their films for more than once.
Director Vijay Anand introduced her to the Kannada film industry through the 1977 blockbuster hit film, Sanadi Appana together with
Raj Kumar. This is the only film that features a rendition using a shehnai by Ustad Bismillah Khan. In 1979, she repeated her very successful tandem with Raj Kumar in the movie, Huliya Halina Mevu. The two also acted in Kaviratna Kalidasa and Shabdavedhi. K. Balachander cast her again in the Tamil comedy drama film,
Ninaithale Inikkum, along with the two biggies in the industry,
Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth. Jaya acted in many Telugu films along with NTR,
Krishnam Raju, ANR and Krishna during the 70’s and 80’s. She was introduced in the Hindi film industry through the Hindi remake of K. Viswanath’s Siri Siri Muvva entitled Sargam. This film turned out to be successful, and she received her first nomination for Best Actress at the Filmfare. However, since she could not speak the Hindi language, she failed to bag the award. In the year 1981, Jaya acted in the critically acclaimed Tamil drama film, 47 Natkal, which also stars Chiranjeevi,
Sarath Babu and Ramaprabha in the lead roles. Later on, the actress took a Hindi-language lessons and K. Vishwanath cast her again in Hindi films including the 1982 hit film, Kaamchor, where she has spoken the language fluently for the first time. This time, Jaya has acted in Hindi films consistently and gained her two nominations for Best Actress at the Filmfare after playing as the loving girlfriend of
Amitabh Bachchan in the Hindi drama film, Sharaabi in 1984 and a double role in Sanjog in the year 1985. K. Vishwanath’s Telugu musical dance film, Sagara Sangamam became a turning point in her career as she bags her very first Filmfare Award for Best Actress and several accolades. Her team-up with Jeetendra and Amitabh Bachchan became highly successful and also with Sridevi, who later became her immediate rival. Their team up in the 1982 Telugu film, Devata, where they played as sisters who sacrifices for each other, was later remade in Hindi entitled Tohfa in 1984. She instantly amazed the huge number of female fans following her. This is the image that serves her well as she entered the world of politics. In the year 1985, she was seen in the Malayalam film, Iniyum Katha Thudarum, which stars Mammootty, Ambika and Baby Shalini in the lead roles. The late Bengali filmmaker,
Satyajit Ray called her as one of the beautiful women in the world. But even though she had acted in many Bengali films, she never got the chance to work with Ray due to his illness and sudden death. Starting in the year 1994, Jaya became involved in politics and her involvement in the film industry was lessened. She acted in the Malayalam musical mystery romance film, Devadoothan, helmed by
Sibi Malayil in the year 2000. This film earned positive reviews from the critics but it failed to make a box-office success. It also received immense appreciation from the audiences.
She played as the mother of Kunchako Boban in Malayalam film, Ee Snehatheerathu in the year 2004. Prior to this, she made a guest appearance on her first Marathi film, Aadhaar in the year 2002. In the span of 30-years of being an actress, Jaya already acted in eight different language films with over 300 films. In the year 2011, she made a comeback in the Malayalam industry in Anupam Kher-starrer Pranayam, alongside Mohanlal. Her character as Grace gained her critical acclaim and several accolades. In 2012, she donned the role of Kittur Chennamma in the historical Kannada film, Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna.
This movie was screened for 100-days at the box office. She got married to Indian producer, Srikanth Nahata in the year 1986. Nahata was said to have been married to Chandra when he marries Jaya, and they have three children. This results to a lot of controversies to their relationship. Jaya is the owner of the Jaya Prada Thater located in Chennai, India. She was debuted in television through the television show, Jayapradam, where she hosted and interviewed several Indian personalities. N. T. Rama Rao, the founder of the Telugu Desam Party, invites her to join TDP on the evening of the assembly elections.
There are rumors that she will run for election; however, she did not make her electoral debut, although Rao offered her a seat. Jaya made campaigns for various constituencies in the year 1994. Later on, she participated in the Chandrababu Naidu faction and got nominated at the Rajya Sabha where she represents Andhra Pradesh in the year 1996. But Jaya had some indifference with Supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu and subsequently left the Telugu Desam Party to join the Samajwadi Party.
Jaya contested the Rampur Parliamentary Constituency in UP, and she was elected and received 85,000 votes in the year 2004. She got expelled from the Samajwadi Party in 2010. Jaya and
Amar Singh launched the latter’s political party called Rashtriya Lok Manch in 2011. But they did not win any seats on the election. In 2014, she joined the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), and then, she obtained the ticket to contest from the Bijnor Lok Sabha Constituency seat in the general elections in 2014, but she lost the election.