Legendary actor Anjali Devi, 86, passed away due to an existing heart condition at a private hospital in Chennai on Monday. She was universally known and adored for the versatility and gusto she brought to her performances – mostly in mythological and family dramas. From playing a demon queen onscreen (‘Keelu Gurram’ in Telugu, dubbed as ‘Mayakuthirai’ in Tamil) in one of her first few roles, to that of a loving mother, she handled her transition with grace and confidence. The yesteryear darling acted in over 500 movies in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi, many of them having gained cult status hitherto. Notably, she also played the role of Sita in the very first colour film to be made in Telugu “Lava Kusha”, a movie which brought her instant popularity and made her an overnight success.
In her heydays, Anjali Devi rubbed shoulders with the greats of her period – MGR, NT Rama Rao, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Sivaji Ganesan and Gemini Ganesan. She has won many accolades and awards for her strong performances in movies like ‘Anarkali’ and ‘Chenchulakshmi.’
The veteran actress did not limit herself to acting. She also capably produced around 25 movies with her music director husband P.Adinarayana Rao under the banner “Anjali Pictures”. She is credited with introducing the Bollywood actress Rekha in Telugu under her production banner.
Anjali Devi leaves behind two sons as well as a lasting legacy in the Indian world of cinema. She will always be remembered for her grace and dazzling screen presence.