Vyjayanthimala: Poise and Spunk amid Glitz and Glam-I
Renowned multi-lingual actress Vyjayanthimala Bali celebrates her birthday on the 13th August. She shares this birthday with another Bollywood legend Sridevi who was also a multi lingual actress with superior dancing prowess. Both the actresses married Punjabi men who left their first wives. Here is a brief look at Vyjayanthimala, the actress and Vyjayanthimala -- the woman. 
 
Since I live in Mysore, I have an emotional connect with Vyjayanthimala, veteran actress who too has her ancestral roots in the same city. There is enough dope on the actress available in public domain. She also got her autobiography published in 2007.  So, information about her personal life and professional battles is public knowledge.
 
Let me begin by talking about her superstardom in Hindi cinema at a time when many of her south Indian counterparts like Padmini, Ragini, Anjali Devi, B Saroja Devi, Savitri and Jamuna failed to weave their magic in Bollywood.
 
Vyjayanthimala’s first Hindi film Bahar was released when she was 16 years old.
Despite the fact that she had limited school education, Vyjayanthimala appears knowledgeable and erudite when you read her interviews. Cinema was only a means to demonstrate the passion that she had for dance. She became an actress with a star following pan India only because of her dancing competence.
 
 
From 1951 to 1960, Vyjayanthimala’s career was full of ups and downs. In the mid 60’s her films started flopping. But by the time she quit films in 1970, some of her movies had done well at the box office and the success of these films established her reckoning as an actress-cum-dancer of substance.
 
She wasn’t a classical beauty in the league of say Madhubala or Meena Kumari. But Vyjayanthimala had screen presence. She acted with many heroes like Balraj Sahni, Jawahar Kaul, Pradeep Kumar, Bharat Bhushan, Raj Kapoor, Manoj Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Dharmendra, Rajendra Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Sunil Dutt and Uttam Kumar. Vyjayanthi has on many occasions expressed her fondness for Hema Malini – like her, Hema is also an Iyengar girl from a conservative background steeped in tradition and culture.
 
 
Vyjayanthi had the guts to reject a Filmfare award for best supporting actress (Devdas, 1955). Her argument was that the role of Chandramukhi was of equal prominence as the role of Paro. She felt vindicated and chuffed when she received the Filmfare award for the best actress in Ganga Jamna (1961). Her superb dialog delivery in Ganga Jamna (in the Avadhi dialect) was a reflection of her hard work and commitment while preparing for a role.
 
Her equation with Dev Anand was amiable. Vijay Anand claimed that he had had a tough time making Waheeda Rehman emote in Guide.  As someone who was discerning enough about the dance sequences in his films, Vijay also had another challenge while shooting the song “Hoton Pe Aisi Baat” in the 1967 release Jewel Thief that featured Vyjayanthimala.
 
 
Insiders reported of a silent/ simmering feud between the danseuse and the director. But whether it was Jewel Thief or Duniya (later in 1968), Vyjayanthimala’s screen chemistry with Dev Anand sparkled. Years later, when a sequel of Jewel Thief was being made, Dev requested Vyjayanthi to be part of the team but Vyjayanthi politely declined. Kudos to the actress for refusing all the offers that came her way and steadfastly adhering to the resolution that she had made when she quit filmdom.
 
She refused Nirupa Roy’s role in the 1975 release Deewar insisting that she had quit films for good and there was no looking back. She had passed on her mantle to heroines who were younger than her. Not many actresses have the gumption and farsightedness to quit films when the going is good. 
 
 
Even when Telugu actor-producer Chiranjeevi offered her Rs2 crore for a role as Rajinikanth’s mother in law in Mapillai, Vyjayanthimala declined the offer. She had a brilliant excuse, “I can never bad mouth Rajinikanth – even if it is for a film,” she claimed later. 
 
Salutations to her ingenuity! 
 
Vyjayanthimala is also related to Rajinikanth’s wife Latha.
 
This is first part of a two part series.
 
(After working in the corporate world for close to two decades, Bhagyalakshmi Seshachalam started her second career innings as a head-hunter. She is passionate about Hindi movies and loves retro music. When her family shifted to Chennai in the 80s, Bhagya had a taste of Tamil cinema too. In the long term, she plans a book on two of her favourite directors – Guru Dutt and K Balachander. She travels across the country on work and is based in Mysore.)
Comments
Ramesh Poapt
2 years ago
ye jawahar kaul... kaun hai, please?!!
in senior roles like nirupa roy she would have been a failure.!
only few high profile press exit button at the right time.
Bhagyalakshmi Seshachalam
Replied to Ramesh Poapt comment 2 years ago
awahar Kaul was born on September 27, 1927 in Srinagar, Kashmir, India. He was an actor, known for Pehli Jhalak (1955), Adalat (1958) and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962). He died on April 15, 2019 in Mumbai, India. He also acted in Katputhli (1957).

http://beetehuedin.blogspot.com/2012/10/kismet-hamare-saath-nahin-jawahar-kaul.html
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