Anjali Devi mainly acted with NTR, ANR; shared character roles with SVR and Gummadi

The star of the tinsel world -- Anjali Devi -- who passed away in Chennai on Monday starred as a male when she made her debut as a child artiste with a minor role in ‘Raja Harishchandra’ in 1936.

She donned the role of Lohitasya, the son of Raja. By coincidence, Akkineni Nageswara Rao also acted as a female on his debut. Both of them had performed together at a stage play before hitting the silver screen. Anjali Devi commenced her career as a theatre artist at the tender age of eight.

Her first movie as heroine was in L.V. Prasad’s ‘Kshatajeevi’ in 1940 but the film was abandoned after shooting three reels. It was then than that director C. Pullaiah spotted her talent and gave her the opportunity to star as Mohini, heavenly beauty, on Gollabhama which was a box office hit. She became a star overnight by that film and never looked back.

One role too many

She played roles as glam doll, damsel, angel, dancer, demon, goddess, village belle, traditional woman and mother. She became a household name with Lava Kusha, Bhakta Prahalada, Bhakta Tukaram and Badi Pantulu.

In fact, she played elderly role with N.T. Rama Rao in ‘Badi Pantulu’ in which the couple face problems with the retirement of NTR as a teacher and they end up losing control over the household. Keelu Gurram, Devata and Rangula Ratnam were equally popular films.

She was credited with introducing Bollywood actress Rekha to Telugu industry with Rangula Ratnam.

Anjali Devi mainly acted alongside NTR and ANR but she also did character roles with S.V. Ranga Rao and Gummadi. Her last few films were Brundavanam (1992), Anna Vadina (1993) and Police Alludu (1994).

Saibaba devotee

She was an ardent devotee of Satya Saibaba on whom she produced a tele serial. Most of her relatives are living abroad.

Even her granddaughter Saila Rao acted in one film and left abroad.

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