Jais, Uttar Pradesh
|Died||January 17, 1988 (age 80)
|Other names||Leela Misra|
|Known for||Mausi in Sholay (1975)|
|Spouse(s)||Ram Prasad Misra|
Leela Mishra (1908 – January 17, 1988) was an Indian film actress, who worked as a character actor in over 200 Hindi films for five decades, eventually playing stock characters like aunts (Chachi or Mausi). She is most known for her role of mausi in blockbuster Sholay (1975) and Rajshri Productions hits like Geet Gaata Chal (1975), Nadiya Ke Paar (1982) and Abodh (1984).
Leela Mishra was married to Ram Prasad Mishra who was a character artist, then working in silent films. She got married at the very young age of 12. By the time she was 17 she had two daughters. She hailed from Varanasi, and she and her husband were from zamindar (landowners) families.
Leela Mishra was discovered by a man called Mama Shinde who was working for Dadasaheb Phalke’s Nasik Cinetone. He persuaded her husband to make her work in films. During those days there was a severe scarcity of women actors in films; this was evident in the paychecks that the Mishras received when they went to Nasik for the shooting. While Ram Prasad Mishra was hired on a salary of Rs. 150 per month, Leela Mishra was offered Rs. 500 per month. However, as they fared poorly in front of the camera, their contracts were cancelled.
The next opportunity that came their way was an offer to work in the movie Bhikarin which was being produced by a company owned by the Maharaja of Kolhapur. However, Leela Mishra lost out on this opportunity too as the role required her to put her arms round the actor (who was not her husband) while delivering a dialogue, which she point-blank refused to do.
She faced a similar problem while working in another film titled Honhaar. She was cast opposite Shahu Modak as a heroine and was supposed to hug and embrace him, which she again refused steadfastly. Since the company was legally in a weak position, they couldn’t turn her out of the film, which proved to be a blessing in disguise for her. She was offered Modak’s mother’s role in the film and it clicked instantly. This opened the doors for her to play mother roles at the young age of 18.
Early on in her career she acted in notable films like musical hit Anmol Ghadi (1948), Raj Kapoor's Awaara (1951) and Nargis-Balraj Sahni starrer Lajwanti (1958) which nominated for the Palme d'Or for Best Film at 1959 Cannes Film Festival.
Her roles varied from mothers, benign or evil aunts, to comic roles.
- Chitralekha (1941): Nandrekar, Mehtaab Bano, A.S.Gyani, Monica Desai, Leela Mishra, Ram Dulai, Ganpatrai Premi, Bharat Bhushan
- Anmol Ghadi (1946): Surendra, Noorjehan, Suraiya, Zahoor Raja, Leela Mishra, Murad
- Elan (1947): Surendra, Munawar Sultana, Mohd.Afzal, Zebunissa, Leela Mishra, Shah Nawaz, Reehan, W.M.Khan, Shaheeda, Rita
- Aaram (1951): Dev Anand, Madhubala, Premnath, Durgabai, Leela Mishra
- Awaara (1951): Prithviraj Kapoor, Leela Chitnis, Raj Kapoor, Nargis, Premnath, Nimmi, Leela Mishra
- Daag (1952 film) - as jagat's wife (Dilip kumar's neighbour)Dilip Kumar, Nimmi, Usha Kiran, Kanhaiyalal, Leela Mishra
- Aandhiyan (1952): Dev Anand, Nimmi, Shyama, Leela Mishra
- Shikast (1953): Dilip Kumar, Nalini Jaywant, Leela Mishra
- Ladki (1953) as Mrs. Hazurdas
- Pyaasa (1957): Guru Dutt, Mala Sinha, Johny Walker, Leela Mishra
- Sahara (1958)
- Lajwanti (1958): Balraj Sahni, Nargis, Baby Naaz, Leela Mishra
- College Girl (1960): Shammi Kapoor
- Suhaag Sindoor (1961): Manoj Kumar, Mala Sinha, Leela Mishra
- Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo (1962) Bhojpuri film: Nazir Hussain, Leela Mishra
- Leader (1964): Dilip, Vyjanthimala, Jayant, Leela Mishra
- Dosti (1964):
- Chhoti Chhoti Baten (1965)
- Raat Aur Din (1967): Pradeep Kumar, Nargis, Leela Mishra
- Ram Aur Shyam(1967) - Shyam's mother - Dilip, Waheeda Rehman, Dilip, Mumtaz, Pran, Nirupa Roy, Leela Mishra
- Majhli Didi (1967):
- Dharti Kahe Pukar Ke (1969): Jeetendra, Nanda, Sanjeev Kumar, Kanhaiyalal, Durgabai, Leela Mishra
- Tum Se Achha Kaun Hai (1969): Shammi Kapoor, Rajshree
- Suhana Safar (1970):
- Dushman (1971): Meena Kumari, Rajesh Khanna, Mumtaz, Leela Mishra
- Lal Patthar (1971): Raj Kumar, Priya Rajvansh, Leela Mishra
- Amar Prem (1971): Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore, Satyen Kappu, Vinod Mehra, Om Prakash, Leela Mishra
- Albela' (1971):
- Mere Apne (1971): Meena Kumari, Vinod Khanna
- Parichay (1972): Jeetendra, Jaya Bhaduri, Vinod Khanna, A.K.Hangal, Leela Mishra, Master Raju
- Annadata (1972):
- Saudagar (1973) as Badi Bi -Amitabh Bachchan, Nutan, Padma Khanna, Murad, Leela Mishra
- Honeymoon (1973): Anil Dhawan, Yogita Bali, Satish Chatwal, Nazneen, Utpal Dutt, Shyama
- Bada Kabutar (1973):
- Maa Ka Aanchal (1975):
- Jai Santoshi Maa (1975): Kanan Kaushal, Leela Mishra
- Sholay (1975): Sanjeev kumar, Amitabh, Jaya, Dharam, Hema, Leela Mishra, Amjad Khan, A.k.Hangal, Sachin
- Geet Gaata Chal (1975): Sachin, Sarika, Urmila Bhatt, Leela Mishra
- Khushboo (1975): Jeetendra, Hema Malini, Leela Mishra
- Bairaag (1976): Dilip Kumar, Saira Banu, Bindu, Leena Chandavarkar, Leela Mishra
- Mehbooba (1976): Rajesh Khanna, Hema Malini, Leela Mishra
- Paheli (1977): Firoz Khan, Tanuja, Leela Mishra
- Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein (1977):
- Kinara (1977): Jeetendra
- Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Man Bhaaye (1977): Prem Kishan, Rameshwari, Leela Mishra
- Shatranj ke Khilari (1977): Sanjeev Kumar
- Nasbandi (1978):
- Sunayana (1979):
- Sawan Ko Aane Do (1979): Arun Govil
- Baton Baton Mein (1979): Amol Palekar, Tina Munim, Leela Mishra, David
- Daasi[Hindi] (1981): Sanjeev Kumar, Sharmila Tagore, Leela Mishra
- Chashme Buddoor[Hindi] (1981): Farookh Sheikh, Dipti Naval, Leela Mishra
- Aamne Samne (1982): Mithun Chakravarty
- Katha (1983): Naseeruddin Shah, Dipti Naval, Leela Mishra
- Sadma (1983): Kamla Hassan, Sri Devi, Gulshan Grover, Leela Mishra
- Abodh (1984): Madhuri Dixit
She died of a heart attack in Bombay on January 17, 1988 at the age of 80.
- "10 things we miss in Bollywood". The Times of India. April 19, 2010.
- "A dekho at the Iconic ads over the years". Economic Times. April 22, 2009.
- S. Brent Plate (2003). Representing religion in world cinema: filmmaking, mythmaking, culture making. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 28. ISBN 1-4039-6051-8.
- "Leela Mishra interview on Cineplot.com".
- "Festival de Cannes: Lajwanti". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-02-14.
- "Strong at 50, Bhojpuri cinema celebrates". Indian Express. Feb 14, 2011.
- "First Bhojpuri Film To Be Screened During Bihar Divas". NDTV Movies. March 17, 2011.
- "Leela Mishra". New York Times.