Rajasree

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Rajasree
రాజాశ్రీ
కుసుమా కుమారి
Born
Kusuma Kumari [1]

(1945-08-31) 31 August 1945 (age 74)
Other namesRajasri, Gracy, Rajasree T.
Occupation Actress, Classical dancer
Years active1956–1979
Spouse(s)Thota Panchajanyam (1978-1983 till his death)
Children1 son (b.1979)

Rajasree (Rajasree Thota Panchajanyam, [2] Kusuma Kumari, Telugu: కుసుమా కుమారి, born 31 August 1945), also known as Rajasri or Rajashri, is a noted South Indian film actress active from 1956 to 1979. She is particularly famous for her portrayal as a princess in several folklore Telugu movies opposite N. T. Rama Rao and Tadepalli Lakshmi Kanta Rao and for acting alongside Ravichandran in the Tamil comedy films Neeyum Naanum, Kadhalikka Neram Illai and Delhi Mappilai. Notable among Rajasri's roles in non-folklore social films in Tamil are as Nimmi in the Tamil hit comedy film Kaadhalikka Neramillai , remade as Preminchi Choodu in Telugu, as movie star Bhama in Tamil film Bama Vijayam . She was credited as Gracy in the Malayalam movies she starred in her career since her debut film Bharya (1962), directed by Kunchako. Rajasree went on to do 200 films spread across the languages – Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam (as Gracy) and Hindi from beginning of 1956 to 1979.

Contents

Film industry

Rajsree first appeared as a child artiste in the Tamil film Naga Devadhai in 1956. She worked as child artiste in films like Bhaktha Ambarisha (1959) and Mangalyam (1960) in Telugu, Aasha Sundari (1960) in Kannada, Petraval Kanda Peruvazhvu (1960) and Baktha Sabari (1960) in Tamil. She debuted as a young heroin in Telugu film Nitya Kalyanam Paccha Thoranam in 1960 opposite another debutante Hero Ramakrishna (Telugu actor). She acted as the supporting young heroine with the Malayalam film Bharya (1962). Her character was named Gracy. With the success of her debut Malayalam film, Rajsree was always credited throughout her Malayalam film career as Gracy. Some of her famous Malayalam movies include Kadalamma (1963), Rebecca (1963), Pazhassi Raja (1964) and Shakuntala (1965). However, she was cast only as supporting and second lead actress in Tamil films like Sengamala Theevu (1962), Nichaya Thaamboolam (1962), Thendral Veesum (1962), Kalai Arasi (1963), Yarukku Sondham (1963) and Kattu Maina (1963) in the period 1962 to 1963. Her portrayal as the courtesean Madhavi in the film Poompuhar brought her new recognition as supporting actress in 1964. It was the film Kadhalikka Neram Illai in 1964, which made her a household name as the main lead heroine. She started receiving more Tamil films from 1964 onward.

However, she continued to be very selective as far as her choice of doing Malayalam movies was concerned. Her notable films in Malayalam as the lead heroine include Jail (1966), Kadamattathachan (1966), Anarkali (1966), Udhyogastha (1967), Karutha Rathrikal (1967), Kadal (1968), Dial 2244 (1968), Urangatha Sundary (1969), Sree Guruvayoorappan (1972), Sreemurukan and Devi Kanyaakumaari (1974). She did about 30 movies in Malayalam. Her last Malayalam film was Vishwaroopam (1978).

It was the Tamil comic classic, Kaadhalikka Neramillai , that catapulted Rajasree to national fame. She quoted in an interview "When I got a call from such a big banner as Chitralaya asking me to be present at the studio the next morning, I couldn't believe my ears. Many artistes had been considered for the role, I had heard. The song, "Anubavam Pudhumai", was the sequence that was shot first. They liked it and I did the film,". Rajasree went on to play the same role in Telugu with Akkini Nageswara Rao and in Hindi with Shashi Kapoor — she was the only one to repeat the role in the remakes. She quoted in interview "I remember Nagesh pulling my leg often shouting out "Dhigilazhagi" whenever I was on the sets,". Hence both during the shooting of Bama Vijayam and every time she met actor Nagesh, he would always call her as Dhiglazhagi as in the film, a thief refers to her by that name.

It was decided by Sridhar to remake Kadhallikaa Neram Illai in Hindi as Pyar Kiye Jaa and he retained only Rajasree from the original. Her debut Hindi film was a major box office hit in 1966. This led to her receiving films in Hindi as well. However none of her 4 films in Hindi became a hit except for her debut Hindi film.

She made her heroine debut in Telugu films with Nitya Kalyanam Paccha Thoranam in 1960 opposite Hero Ramakrishna (Telugu actor) and 'Constable Kuthuru (1962) opposite Kanta Rao, but previously she had been already introduced as a child artist in Nagula Chavithi (1956). She was cast as the heroine of N. T. Rama Rao in films like Aggi Barata (1966), Pidugu Ramudu (1966), Aggi Veerudu (1969) and Chitti Chellelu (1969). Her pairing opposite actor Kanta Rao was a box office success. The pair Rajasree-Kanta Rao worked in Pakkalo Ballem (1965), Bangaru Timmaraju (1964), Saptaswaralu (1969), Pratigyna Palana (1966), Vijaya Simha (1965), Aggidora (1967), Bhoolokamlo Yamolokam (1966), Devudichchina Bharta (1968), Veera Pooja (1968), Ranabheri (1968), Aggimeeda Guggilam (1968), Oke Kutumbham (1970), Merupu Veerudu (1970), Maa Manchi Akkayya (1970), Prema Jeevulu, Bhale Ettu Chivaraku Chittu (1970) and Raite Raju (1970). They worked in another 10 movies where they were not paired opposite each other. She did about 76 films in Telugu. Her last film in Telugu was Andame Anandham (1977).

Her debut film in Kannada was Kantheredu Nodu (1961). The Kannada film Thejaswini, produced by M. Pandaribai, made Rajasree a popular in the Kannada film circle. She played second lead supporting roles in Kannada films like Swarna Gowri, Rathna Manjari, Karuneye Kutumbada Kannu and Chandra Kumara. She regularly starred in mythological period films like Santha Thukaram (1963), Shivarathri Mahathme and Shivagange Mahathme with either Rajkumar (actor) or Udaykumar or both in the lead roles. After achieving success in Tamil with Kadhalikka Neram Illai, she decided to do only lead heroine roles even in Kannada from 1964. Her Kannada films as lead heroine include Chandavalliya Thota, Satya Harishchandra (1965), Bala Nagamma (1966), Bhale Basava, Mr. Rajkumar (1970), Jwala Mohini, CID 72 and C.I.D. Rajanna. She was part of the cast in 14 films in Kannada with Rajkumar in the lead role. She did 30 films in Kannada with her last movie being Devadhasi (1978).

She went on to do comedy films as the lead heroine in Tamil to capitalize on her comic abilities like Bama Vijayam (1967), 'Anubavi Raja Anubavi (1967), Anubavam Pudhumai (1967), Neeyum Naanum (1968) and Delhi Mapillai (1968). These films have developed classic cult status over the years. She then went on to get the second lead heroine roles in films with M. G. Ramachandran in the lead, like Thaikku Thalaimagan (1967), Kudiyirundha Koyil (1968), Adimai Penn (1969), Pattikaattu Ponnaiya (1973), Netru Indru Naalai (1974) and Naalai Namadhe (1975). Her other notable films in Tamil include Kallum Kaniyagum, suspense thriller Selva Magal (1967), Siritha Mugam (1968), Patham Pasali (1970), Poi Sollathae (1971), Pattondru Ketten (1971), Yanai Valartha Vanampadi Magan, Amudha (1975) and Veeduvarai Uravu (1976). Her last film in Tamil was Iravu 12 Mani (1978). She did more than 60 films in Tamil.

When she received MGR award in 2004 she quoted: "I've done three films with the CM Jayalalithaa, and I've also acted with her mother Sandhya as her daughter".

Personal life

Rajasree hails from a village in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh. Her mother tongue is Telugu. She was born with a sister and her father was a railway station master. Rajasree was ten years old when she came to Chennai. Prior to her 1978 marriage, Rajasree had a live-in relationship with Gemini Ganesan, one of her co-stars in Tamil movies between 1969 and 1975. Rajasree's husband died within few years after her marriage, when her child was just four. Yet the actress has kept up her promise to him to this day! "Many ask me why I can't do television now? But I'm reluctant," she says. However, she has not severed ties with the film world. "I still have many friends from the industry. Saroja Devi calls up whenever she's in town. In 2004 Sharada, Vanisri, Jayapradha, Sachu, Padmini, Rajasulochana and I met over lunch. In fact it was Sachu who first called me up and told me about the award," she says. Rajasree spends her time in meditation and being a devotee of Sathya Sai Baba, people can often spot her at Sundaram, their Chennai centre. But today she is a picture of contentment, leading a relaxed life and taking care of her old sister. In 2012, she along with her friends Saroja Devi, Kanchana, Jamuna, P.Susheela, Anjali Devi, Rajasulochana, Sowcar Janaki, Sechu, Cho Ramaswamy, Jamuna, Vijayakumari met Jayalalithaa at personal reseidence Veda Nilayam of Jayalalithaa. [3]

Awards

Yesteryear actress Rajasree was honoured with the MGR Award in 2004.

Tamil Nadu State Government Awards

Kalaimamani, 2012 for her contribution to Tamil Cinema

Partial filmography

In order of languages in which she acted the most to fewest films.

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.

Telugu

  1. Andame Anandham (1977)
  2. Daana Veera Soora Karna (1977)
  3. Manushulanta Okkate (1976)
  4. Sri Ramanjaneya Yuddham (1975)
  5. Alluri Seetarama Raju (1974)
  6. Intinti Katha (1974)
  7. Panjaramlo Pasipapa (1973)
  8. Atthanu Diddina Kodalu (1972)
  9. Prema Jeevulu (1971)
  10. Pattindhalla Bangaaram (1971)
  11. Adavi Veerulu (1971)
  12. Vikramarka Vijayam (1971)
  13. Anuradha (1971)
  14. Bangaru Kutumbam (1971)
  15. Chitti Chellelu (1970)
  16. Evarini Nammali (1970)
  17. Jhanmabhoomi (1970)
  18. Okka Kutumbham (1970)
  19. Raithe Raju (1970)
  20. Lakshmi Kataksham (1970)
  21. Maa Manchi Akkayya (1970)
  22. Bale Etthu Chivariki Chitthu (1970)
  23. Merupu Veerudu (1970)
  24. Ukkupidugu (1969)
  25. Gopaludu Bhoopaludu (1969)
  26. Sattekalapu Satteya (1969)
  27. Sabash Satyam (1969)
  28. Takkari Donga Chankkani Chukka (1969)
  29. Aggi Veerudu (1969)
  30. Ukku Pidugu (1969)
  31. Saptaswaralu (1969)
  32. Gandara Gandadu (1969)
  33. Govula Gopanna (1968)
  34. Aggi Meeda Guggilam (1968)
  35. Rajayogam (1968)
  36. Ranabheri (1968)
  37. Devudichhina Bhartha (1968)
  38. Bhale Kodallu (1968)
  39. Evaru Monagaadu (1968)
  40. Rahasyam (1967)
  41. Aggidora (1967)
  42. Sthree Janma (1967)
  43. Kambojaraju Katha (1967)
  44. Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna (1967)
  45. Raktha Sindhooram (1967)
  46. Satyame Jayam (1967)
  47. Veera Pooja (1967)
  48. Aggi Barata (1966)
  49. Loguttu Perumallakeruka (1966)
  50. Bhimanjaneya Yuddham (1966)
  51. Pidugu Raamudu (1966)
  52. Bhulokamlo Yamalokam (1966)
  53. Prathigna Palana (1966)
  54. Akasha Ramanna (1965)
  55. Prameelarjuna Yuddham (1965)
  56. Aatma Gowravam (1965)
  57. Vijaya Simha (1965)
  58. Manushulu Mamathalu (1965)
  59. Preminchi Chudu (1965)
  60. Mangamma Sapatham (1965)
  61. Pakkalo Ballem (1965)
  62. Babruvahana (1964)
  63. Aggi Pidugu (1964)
  64. Totalo Pilla Kotalo Raani (1964)
  65. Bhaktha Ramadasu (1964)
  66. Pooja Phalam (1964)
  67. Bangaru Timmaraju (1964)
  68. Guruvunu Minchina Sishyudu (1963)
  69. Madana Kamaraju Katha (1962)
  70. Conistable Kuthuru (1962)
  71. Dakshayagnam (1962)
  72. Aradhana (1962)
  73. Mahamantri Timmarusu (1962)
  74. Nitya Kalyanam Paccha Thoranam (1960)
  75. Sahasra Siracheda Apoorva Chintamani (1960)
  76. Mangalyam (1960)
  77. Bhaktha Ambarisha (1959)
  78. Nagula Chavithi (1956) - Debut in Telugu (Child Artist)

Tamil

YearFilmCo-starRole
1978 Iravu 12 Mani Ravichandran
1976 Veeduvarai Uravu Jaiganesh, Sujatha
1975 Amudha Ravichandran, R. Muthuraman, C. R. Vijayakumari Anbarasi
Naalai Namadhe M. G. Ramachandran, Latha, Vennira Aadai Nirmala Kamala
Swami Ayyappan Gemini Ganesan, A. V. M. Rajan, R. S. Manohar, Srividya, Lakshmi, Deepa
1974 Akkarai Pachai Jaishankar, Ravichandran, Lakshmi, Savitri Usha
Netru Indru Naalai M. G. Ramachandran, Manjula Vijayakumar, Latha Amudha
Pathu Matha Bandham Bhanumathi Ramakrishna, A. V. M. Rajan, R. Muthuraman, B. Saroja Devi, Vennira Aadai Nirmala Mallika
1973 Pattikaattu Ponnaiya M. G. Ramachandran, Jayalalithaa Megala
School Master Gemini Ganesan, Srikanth, Sowcar Janaki
1972 Ellai Kodu Gemini Ganesan, Ravichandran, C. R. Vijayakumari Bhavani
1971 Yanai Valartha Vanampadi Magan Gemini Ganesan, C. L. Anandan, T. K. Balachandran, Vijayanirmala Kamini
Aathi Parasakthi Gemini Ganesan, R. Muthuraman, Jayalalithaa, Padmini, Vanisri Lakshmi Devi
Pattondru Ketten A. V. M. Rajan, Ravichandran, Kanchana, K. R. Indira Devi
Poi Sollathae Ravichandran, Nagesh
Needhi Dhevan Jaishankar, Vennira Aadai Nirmala
1970 Patham Pasali Gemini Ganesan, Vijayalalitha Radha
Sorgam Sivaji Ganesan, R. Muthuraman, K. R. Vijaya Anjana
Namma Veettu Deivam R. Muthuraman, K. R. Vijaya
1969 Kumara Sambhavam Gemini Ganesan, Padmini, Srividya Urvasi
Singapore Seeman Ravichandran, M. R. Radha, Subhasri
Avare En Deivam Gemini Ganesan, R. Muthuraman, C. R. Vijayakumari
Adimai Penn M. G. Ramachandran, Jayalalithaa Princess Muthazhagi
Poova Thalaiya Gemini Ganesan, Jaishankar, Vennira Aadai Nirmala Raji
Ulagam Ivvalaudhan Nagesh, Manorama
1968 Kudiyirundha Koyil M. G. Ramachandran, Jayalalithaa Asha
Siritha Mugam Gemini Ganesan, Jaishankar, Vijayanirmala
Delhi Mapillai Ravichandran, Cho Ramaswamy, Sachu Gandhimathi
Neeyum Naanum Ravichandran, Nagesh
Kallum Kaniyagum T. M. Soundararajan, A. L. Raghavan, Nagesh, M. N. Rajam Geetha
1967 Selva Magal Jaishankar, Srikanth, Major Sundararajan, Nagesh Saradha
Anubavam Pudhumai R. Muthuraman, T. R. Ramachandran Vanitha
Anubavi Raja Anubavi R. Muthuraman, Nagesh, Jayabharathi Rajamani
Bama Vijayam R. Muthuraman, Nagesh, Major Sundarrajan, Srikanth, Sowcar Janaki, Kanchana, Jayanthi Bama
Thaikku Thalaimagan M. G. Ramachandran, S. V. Ranga Rao, Nagesh, Jayalalithaa, Sowcar Janaki Nalini
1966 Thayin Mel Aanai C. L. Anandan, K. R. Vijaya
1965 Neela Vanam Sivaji Ganesan, Nagesh, Devika Vimala
Vazhikaathi S. S. Rajendran, Prem Nazir, C. R. Vijayakumari
Iru Thuruvam Sivaji Ganesan, R. Muthuraman, Padmini Kamala
Poomalai S. S. Rajendran, Anjali Devi, C. R. Vijayakumari Nalina
1964 Kalai Kovil S. V. Subbiah, R. Muthuraman, Nagesh, Chandrakantha, Jayanthi Saroja
Amma Engey R. Muthuraman
Magaley Un Samathu C. L. Anandan, M. R. Radha, Gemini ChandrakanthaAlli
Nal Varavu R. Muthuraman, Ravichandran, E. V. Saroja, Puspalatha
Nanum Manidhandhaan R. Muthuraman, C. L. Anandan, Chandrakantha
Poompuhar S. S. Rajendran, C. R. Vijayakumari, Nagesh Madhavi
Kaadhalikka Neramillai Ravichandran, R. Muthuraman, Kanchana Nirmala/Nimmi
1963 Kaattumaina Prem Nazir, C. L. Anandan, Sheela, Vijayalalitha
Yarukku Sontham Kalyan Kumar, Devika, PusphalathaMallika
Manthiri Kumaran Kantha Rao, Anuradha, Jayanthi Rani
Kalai Arasi M. G. Ramachandran, Bhanumathi Ramakrishna Princess Rajani
Kubera Theevu C. L. Anandan, Devika Vasanthi
1962 Nichaya Thaamboolam Sivaji Ganesan, Jamuna, P. Kannamba Sarala
Sengamala Theevu M. R. Radha, C. L. Anandan, PusphalathaKanni
Thendral Veesum M. R. Radha, Kalyan Kumar, Prem Nazir, Krishna Kumari
Neeya Naana? C. L. Anandan, Devika, P. Kannamba
1961 Panam Panthiyile S. S. Rajendran, M. R. Radha, C. R. Vijayakumari Santha
1960 Baktha Sabari S. A. Asokan, Pandari Bai, L. Vijayalakshmi
Petraval Kanda Peruvazhvu Prem Nazir, Miss Kumari
1956 Naga Devathai R. Nagendra Rao, Jamuna, Sowcar Janaki Child Artist (Debut in Tamil)

Kannada

Malayalam:credited as Gracy

YearFilmRoleNotes
1962 Bharya Malayalam debut
1963 Kadalamma
1963 Rebecca
1964 Pazhassi Raja Ammu Thampuratty
1965 Shakuntala
1966 Jail
1966 Kadamattathachan
1966 Anarkali Gulnar
1967 Udhyogastha
1967 Karutha Rathrikal
1968 Kadal Rajeena
1968 Dial 2244
1969 Kumara Sambhavam Urvashi
1969 Urangatha Sundary Vilasini
1970 Dathuputhran
1971 Aana Valarthiya Vanampadiyude Makan
1972 Sree Guruvayoorappan
1973 Manassu
1973 Ponnaapuram Kotta
1974 Devi Kanyaakumaari Devaki
1974 Durga Latha
1975 Raasaleela
1977 Sreemurukan Rajeswari
1978 Vishwaroopam

Hindi

YearFilmRoleNotes
1966 Pyar Kiye Jaa Nirmala/ NimmiHindi Debut as Rajasree of South
(Remake of Kadhalikka Neramillai)
1967Naseehat
1968Payal Ki JhankarKala
1968Mujrim Kaun?

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