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Padmini dies at 74

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Monday, September 25, 2006
Chennai, Sep 25 (UNI) South India's legendary Bharthanattiyam dancer and film actor Padmini died of a heart attack here late last night. The legendary actress, who was among the first heroines to make it to Kollywood in the south, breathed her last at Apollo Hospital. She was 74. Padmini acted in more than 250 films in Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, Telugu and Kannada for decades since 1949.

Born in Poojappura in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, on June 12, 1932, Padmini made here debute in Hindi film Kalpana. Her first Tamil film was Manamagal (1950) made by another legend N S Krishnan. Padmini's memorable Tamil films included Ethirparadhadu, Meenda Sorkam, Uttama Puthran, Theiva Peravi, Thooku Thooki, Mannandi Mannan, Madhurai Veeran, Raani Samyukta, Rajarajan, Rickshawkaran, Arasilankumari, Punarjanmam, Amara Deepam, Vanjikottai Valliban, Chitti, Kuzhandaikaga, Pesum Deivam, Erumalargal, Thillana Moganambal, Vietnam Veedu, among others. Padmini, who was awarded the 'Nattiya Peroli' and 'Kalaimamani' , among others, was also credited with Hindi films like Vasana, Kajal, Chanda Aur Bijli, Naana Farishta(remake of Kuzhandaikaka), Madhavi, the Hindi version of Vanjikottai Valibhan and others.

Padmini's sisters, Lalitha and Rahini, are also yesteryear renowned actors. Called as 'Trivancor sisters', the trio acted in Tamil film Thoothu Thooki together. Padmini, affectionately called as 'Papi' in tinsel world, had a style of her own and gave memorable performances in her films. In an interview to a local TV channel, she recalled how the late villian actor 'P S Veerappa' encouraged her and 'Vayjyantimala' to dance with bubbling enthusiasm for the unforgettable song 'Zillu Zilluvenru Zorai Zakatai Aithiduvena' in Vanjikottai Valiban with his ''Sabash Sariana Potti'' utterance (Sabash excellent competition) in his own inimitable style.

Likewise, eccentric genius the late M R Radha, called as ''Nadikavel' in Chitti, narrated in the movie with intrinsic ability and uncanny anticipation, how a family woman should look like 'Padmini' in front of her. The Chavalier awardee 'Sivaji Ganesan's Vietnam Vidu drama was a super success with G Sakhuntala as the heroine, but the late 'Nadhikar Thilagam' preferred 'Padmini' for the film version.

If Gemini Ganesan-Savitiri and MGR-Saroja Devi were a formidable pair in 50s and 60s, Sivaji-Padmini combination was lethel preferred watching Uttamaputtharan, Thillana Moganambal, among others co-starring Sivaji. Movie watchers vividly remember her powerful dialogue delivery in 'Theiva Peravi'. Padmini gave stupendous performance co-starring MGR in Mannadhi Mannan, Rani Samyukta, Madurai Veeran, among others. The competition dance in Mannadi Mannan with MGR attracted the film lovers.

During the Indo-China war in 1962 Padmini went to the army camp and entertained them with her dance-drama performance. Late Pandjit Jawaharlal Nehru was impressed with her performance as a teenager. She was a Congress member and gave speeches in many meetings during the 1967 and 1971 Lok Sabha and assembly elections for the party. She was one of the favourites for the veteran directors Sridhar and K S Gopalakrishnan. Padmini was showered with accolades for her performance in Hindi film Chanda Aur Bijli with the late 'Sanjeev Kumar'. She gave a splendid performance with veteran actor 'Lakshya Nadikar S S Rajendran' in Kattu Roja. Padmini's favourite directors were 'Raj Kapoor, 'Shanta Ram', 'Guru Dutt', 'Sridhar', 'K S Gopalakrishnan, among others.

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