María Elena Velasco

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María Elena Velasco
Pseudonym La India María
Birth name María Elena Velasco Fragoso
Born (1940-12-17) December 17, 1940 (age 73)
Puebla, Puebla, Mexico
Medium Film, television, music
Years active 1962–present
Genres Rural Mexican comedy
Spouse Julián de Meriche (m. ?–1974)

María Elena Velasco Fragoso (born December 17, 1940) is a Mexican actress, comedian, singer-songwriter, dancer, screenwriter, film producer, and one of Mexico's few major female film directors.[1][2] Best known for her successful "La India María" comic character, Velasco is the widow of Russian actor and choreographer Julián de Meriche.

Early life[edit]

María Elena Velasco Fragoso was born on December 17, 1940 to Tomas Velasco and María Elena Fragoso. She began to dance in theaters and to act in radio comedies. She was spotted by a film producer, who gave her minor roles. As she developed the India María, at first she named her "Elena María" and began to portray the character in the "Teatro Blanquita".

Rural Representation[edit]

Just as the popular rural-based American comedies of Ma and Pa Kettle and The Beverly Hillbillies, Velasco has made a highly popular comedic representation of rural Mexico as a typical Mexican indigenous woman named "Maria" who is often confused by urban life. The character she portrays is dressed in traditional garb consisting of traditionally braided and ribboned hair, colorful native-type blouses and skirts. In her films, she often goes out of her way to speak at least a few lines in native languages, such as Chichimeca and Nahuatl. Although she may be ignorant about some things, Maria is wise about peoples' ways and ideas.

Velasco has said publicly that she wants India María to represent Mexico's poor social classes, and she has tried to carry out social messages in most of the movies she has made. Velasco invented the India María character in 1972 for Mexican TV network Telesistema Mexicano (now Televisa) for a comic segment of the weekly program Siempre en domingo. It quickly became a hit and in the same year, Velasco began starring in an enormously successful series of low-budget comedies that became a mainstay in Mexican movie theaters through the mid-1980s.

Filmography[edit]

Velasco has starred in approximately 23 films in Mexico, and 3 television series. She received an Ariel Award in 2004 for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film Huapango (a film not of the India María series).

La India María series[edit]

Year Title Role
1972 Tonta, tonta, pero no tanto María Nicolasa Cruz
1973 ¡Pobre, pero honrada! María Nicolasa Cruz
1974 Algo es algo, dijo el diablo María Nicolasa Cruz
1974 La madrecita Sor María Nicolasa Cruz
1975 La presidenta municipal María Nicolasa Cruz
1976 El miedo no anda en burro María Nicolasa Cruz
1977 Sor Tequila María Nicolasa del Sagrado Corazón / Sor Tequila
1978 Duro pero seguro María Nicolasa Cruz
1978 La comadrita María Nicolasa Cruz
1981 Okey, Mister Pancho María Nicolasa Cruz
1982 ¡El que no corre... vuela! María Nicolasa Cruz
1983 El coyote emplumado María
1984 Ni Chana, ni Juana Juana Cruz / Emilia Falcón (Luciana)
1988 Ni de aqui, ni de alla María
1993 Se equivocó la cigueña María
1999 Las delicias del poder María / Lorena Barriga
2014 La hija de Moctezuma India María [3]

Other films[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Huapángo Dance instructor

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1972 Revista musical Nescafe La India María
1998 ¡Ay María qué puntería! La India María
2003 Mujer, Casos de la Vida Real María 1 episode – Amor Incondicional
2013 Corazón indomable Mama Esperanza de López / Maria Nicolasa

References[edit]

  1. ^ Biographical Dictionary of Mexican Film Performers: "U-Z". umd.edu
  2. ^ Google books, Women filmmakers in Mexico: the country of which we dream, Elissa Rashkin, 2001, Page 76
  3. ^ Graban película de “La India María” – Diario Eyipantla Milenio. Diarioeyipantla.com (2011-05-24). Retrieved on 2012-07-14.

External links[edit]