Anjali Devi is a veteran Telugu & Tamil actress and producer. She is well known for her mythological role as Sita in Lava Kusha and roles in movies like Suvarna Sundari and Anarkali.
In Hindi cinema, she is better known for her roles in 'Devta' opposite Gemini Ganeshan and 'Sati Savitri' opposite Mahipal and 'Bhakta Prahlad'. The songs picturised on her like 'Tum gagan ke chandrama ho', 'jeevan dor tumhi sang bandhi', 'kabhi to miloge, jeevan sathi' from 'Sati Savitri' are still quite popular.
She is from Peddapuram, East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh, India, and later settled in Chennai. Anjali Devi was born to Nukayah as Anjani Kumar (birth name) later changed to Anjani Kumari when acting in dramas. Director C. Pullaiah changed her name to Anjali Devi. She was a theater artist before entering into movies. Her film debut was as Lohitasya in Raja Harishchandra in 1936.
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Her first movie as a heroine was Kashtajeevi by L. V. Prasad In 1940, but that movie was abandoned after three reels shooting. Later, C.Pullayya discovered her and give her the opportunity to star as Mohini in Gollabhama. Based on her acting ability and looks, she became a star overnight in 1947. She eventually acted in more than 350 Telugu films and also in a few Tamil and Kannada films as the heroine.
She married P. Adinarayana Rao, a music director, in 1940. They have two sons. Together, they produced many Telugu films under the banner of Anjali Pictures. She acted in Lava Kusha, a milestone film and the first color film in the Telugu film industry in 1963. She acted in various roles, such as a damsel, angel, dancer, demon, goddess, traditional woman and later in motherly roles. Her granddaughter, Saila Rao, is also an actress.
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In 1936 she appeared in a minor role in Raja Harishchandra and then played the lead role in L. V. Prasad's Kashtajeevi. She is well known for playing Sita in Lava Kusha and her performances in films like Suvarna Sundari and Anarkali were also appreciated. She has acted in nearly 500 films, which includes Telugu, Tamil and Kannada language films. Brundavanam (1992), Anna Vadina (1993) and Police Alludu (1994) were the last few films of her career. In Balaiah's Police Alludu and Anna Vadina she appeared alongside Brahmanandam.
In 1955 she produced the film Anarkali, in which she herself played the lead role of Anarkali, with Akkineni Nageswara Rao as Salim. Then she produced V. Madhusudan Rao's Bhakta Tukaram and Chandipriya. Bollywood and Tollywood actress Jayapradha played the lead role in her film Chandipriya alongside Shobhan Babu and Chiranjeevi. As a producer she has produced 27 films.
She passes away on January 13th 2014 at Vijaya hospital, Chennai.