Divya Solgamawrote on Aug 11 2008 7:11PM
Usha Kiran was born on April 22, 1929. This Filmfare award Winner never wanted to be an actress in the first place. She was a good student and, left to herself, Usha would have been quite happy going through the everyday grind of school and studies. However, destiny had some other plans for her and she ended up amongst the arc-lights at a very early age.
At the age of 10, Usha was enrolled in a dance class and was learning Kathak. Very soon, she started her acting career on stage with M.G. Rangnekar’s Marathi play "Ashirward". At that time, Uday Shankar was scouting for talent for his ambitious film fantasy Kalpana . Usha and her sister were shortlisted and spent a few days at their dance academy. This provided her the first break in Hindi Cinema. Usha has acted in successful Hindi films like Patita with Dev Anand, Nazrana with Raj Kapoor, Daag with Dilip Kumar, Badhwa , Kabuli Wala with Balraj Sahani, Chupke Chupke and Musafir. Her Marathi films include blockbusters like Kanyadaan, Shikleli Bayko, Bala Jo Jo Re, Postatil Mulgi, Udyacha Sansar, Garibagharchi Lek, Garambicha Bapu, Stree Janma Tujhi Kahani, Doodhava and Jasachya Tasa. Usha acted with greats like Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan.
In a career spanning over four decades, she acted in over 300 Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati films. Her most successful films include "Nazrana"; "Daag"; "Kabuliwala"; "Patita"; "Musafir" and "Bawarchi". She married Dr Manohar Kher in 1954 and soon had two children Adwait and Tanvi. Although, she continued to work even after marriage but quit after her daughter's birth. She made a comeback to films with a character role in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Bawarchi. She also acted in Hrishida's Mili and Chupke Chupke. In 1955, Usha Kiran won the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress for the role portrayed by her in Baadbaan (1954). She was recipient of Maharashtra government award for best actress for her role in Kanyadaan.
Usha Kiran passed away on 9th March 2000 in Nashik due to cancer. She was 71. She is survived by her talented actress-daughter Tanvi Azmi, son Adwait Kher and husband Dr.Manoher Kher. Usha Kiran had also been Sheriff of Mumbai. She penned her autobiography, aptly named - Ush-kal.