Lalita Pawar

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Lalita Pawar
Lalita Pawar (1916—1998).jpg
Born Amba Laxman Rao Sagun
(1916-04-18)18 April 1916
Nasik, Bombay Presidency, British India
Died 24 February 1998(1998-02-24) (aged 81)
Pune, Maharashtra, India
Years active 1928–1997
Awards 1959: Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for her role in Anari
1961: Sangeet Natak Akademi Award - Acting

Lalita Pawar (18 April 1916 – 24 February 1998)[1] was a prolific Indian actress, who later became famous as a character actress, appearing in over 700 films in Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati cinema, where she gave hits like, Netaji Palkar (1938), made by Bhalji Pendharkar, New Hana Pictures’ Sant Damaji, Navyug Chitrapat’s Amrit, written by VS Khandekar, and Chhaya Films’ Gora Kumbhar. Her other memorable roles were in film, Anari (1959), Shri 420 and Mr & Mrs 55, and the role of Manthara, in Ramanand Sagar's television epic serial, Ramayan.


Born Amba Laxman Rao Sagun on 18 April 1916, into an orthodox family in Yeola in Nashik, where her father Laxman Rao Shagun was a rich silk and cotton piecegoods merchant,[2] she started her acting career at age nine in the film, Raja Harishchandra (1928), and later went on to play lead roles in silent era and 1940's films, in a career that lasted until the end of her life, spanning seven decades.

She co-produced and acted in a silent film, Kailash (1932), and later produced another film, Duniya Kya Hai in 1938, a talkie.

Lalita Pawar, playing the lead in film, Himmat-e-Marda (1935).

In 1942, as a part of a scene in the movie Jung-E-Azadi, actor Master Bhagwan was to slap her hard. Being a new actor, he accidentally slapped her very hard, which resulted in facial paralysis and a burst left eye vein. Three years of treatment later, she was left with a defective left eye; thus she had to abandon lead roles, and switch to character roles, which won her much of her fame later in life.[3]

She was known particularly for playing maternal figures, especially wicked matriarchs or mothers-in-law. She also notably played the role of the strict but kind Mrs. L. D'Sa in Anari (1959) with Raj Kapoor, under Hrishikesh Mukherjee's direction, she gave the performance of a lifetime,[4] for which she received Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award; as the tough matriarch who falls in love in Professor (1962), and the devious hunchback Manthara in Ramanand Sagar's television series Ramayan. She was honored by the Government of India as the first lady of Indian cinema, in 1961.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Her first marriage was to Ganpatrao Pawar, which went sour after his affair with her younger sister. She later married film producer Rajprakash Gupta, of Ambika studios, Bombay.[6] She died on 24 February 1998 in Aundh, Pune, where she had been staying, for a while. She was survived by her husband, a son and daughter-in-law. Her death was unnoticed for two days when her family was in Mumbai for her husband's throat surgery.

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Film Character
1944 Ram Shastri Anandi Bai (wife of Peshava Raghoba Dada)
1950 Dahej Mrs. Biharilal (Suraj's mother)
1951 The Immortal Song
1952 Daag (1952 film) Shankar(Dilip Kumar)'s Mother
1952 Parchhain Badi Rani
1955 Shri 420 Ganga Mai
1955 Mr & Mrs 55 Seeta Devi, Anita's Aunt
1957 Nau Do Gyarah
1959 Anari Mrs. L. D'Sa
1959 Sujata Giribala, Buaji/aunt
1961 Hum Dono[7] Major's Mother


Sampoorna Ramayana Manthara
1962 Professor Sita Devi Verma
1963 Sehra Angara's mother
1963 Grahasti Harish Khanna's sister
1963 Ghar Basake Dekho Mrs. Shanta Mehra
1966 Khandan Fufi
1967 Boond Jo Ban Gayee Moti Shefali's mother
1968 Aabroo Mrs. Verma
1970 Anand Matron
1970 Pushpanjali Rani Sahiba
1970 Gopi Lilawati devi
1974 Doosri Sita
1976 Aaj Ka Ye Ghar Mrs. Shanti Dinanath
1976 Tapasya Mrs. Varma
1977 Aaina Janki
1980 Yaarana mother
1980 Kali Ghata Ambu, House keeper
1980 Phir Wohi Raat Hostel Warden
1981 Naseeb (1981 film)[8] Mrs. Gomes
1980 Sau Din Saas Ke
1997 Bhai[9]
1989 Bahurani
1988 Pyaasi Atma
1987 Uttar Dakshin



  1. ^ "Lalita Pawar". 
  2. ^ "Tribute to Laita Pawar". Screen. 
  3. ^ "Lalita Pawar – Memories". 
  4. ^ Anari Indian Cinema, University of Iowa.
  5. ^ "Lalita Pawar – Memories". 
  6. ^ "Lalita Pawar..". Indian Express. 26 February 1998. 
  7. ^ Filmography at
  8. ^ Naseeb (1981 film) [].
  9. ^ Pawar, Lalita. "Lalita Pawar Filmography".  External link in |publisher= (help)
  10. ^ Awards Internet Movie Database.
  11. ^ Sangeet Natak Akademi Award - Acting Official listing at Sangeet Natak Akademi Official website.

External links[edit]