VISHAL TAPREwrote on May 1 2010 1:45PM
Meenakshi Sheshadri is the very epitome of elegance and grace. Her unparalleled beauty and dancing skills have earned her a name in the film industry- a name that is written with indelible ink in the pages of history of Bollywood.
Life before Bollywood:
Meenakshi, a Tamilian, was born as Shashikala, on 16th November, 1958 in Jharkhand. In 1981, when she was 23, she won the coveted Miss India beauty pageant.
• Her first Bollywood film was the romantic Painter Babu (1983).
• Her next film gave her a real taste of success: Hero (1983). She played Radha, a girl kidnapped by a group of men, including Jackie Shroff. Her naïve character and innocence only added charm to her fresh and youthful looks.
• Meri Jung (1985) is another Subhash Ghai film, in which she played Anil Kapoor’s love interest.
• In Ganga Jamuna Saraswathi (1988) she played Jamuna, the female lead, with Amitabh Bachchan.
• In the same year she worked with Amitabh in another film: Shahenshah (1988). The film was a huge hit.
• 1988 was a good year for Meenakshi. She played Sapna in Yash Chopra’s Vijay (1988), also starring Rajesh Khanna, Anil Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor and Hema Malini.
• She played the female lead in the love story Gharana (1989).
• She made her presence felt in the action film Joshilaay (1989).
• In Toofan (1989) she played Radha once more; the film had Amitabh in double role- 2 brothers separated at birth. Meenakshi played the lover of one of the brothers, and Amrita Singh was the other one.
• In the family drama Ghar Ho To Aisa (1990) she played the stubborn feminist Seema, opposite Anil Kapoor.
• In the critically acclaimed Ghayal (1990) she played a journalist, Varsha Bharti, in love with Sunny Deol, who is wrongly accused of his brother’s murder.
• Meenakshi then played the role of her lifetime in Rajkumar Santoshi’s Damini (1993). As Damini she essayed not just a strong character, but one of the strongest characters that Bollywood has seen.
• In 1996 she worked in another Rajkumar Santoshi film, Ghatak. This film has been touted to be her last one.
• Do Rahain (1997), as per some sources, is actually her last movie. There isn’t any information on this one.
Meenakshi married an investment banker, Harish Mysore and settled down in Texas, USA. She has 2 children: a daughter Kendra and a son Josh. Apparently she is teaching Bharatnatyam, Kathak and Odissi.
Apparently Subhash Ghai believed it was lucky for him if the leading lady of his film had a name starting with the letter M. Meenakshi worked with him in Hero and it was a huge hit. What if she had not changed her name from Shashikala to Meenakshi? Would the film have flopped? Can’t say!