Meenakshi Seshadri

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Meenakshi Seshadri
Born Shasikala Seshadri
(1963-11-16) 16 November 1963 (age 54)
Sindri, Bihar, India
(now in Jharkhand, India)
Occupation Film actress, dancer
Years active 1982–1996
Title Eve's Weekly Miss India 1981
Spouse(s) Harish Mysore (m.1995)
Beauty pageant titleholder
Major
competition(s)
Eve's Weekly Miss India 1981
(Winner)
Miss International 1981
(Unplaced)

Meenakshi Seshadri (born 16 November 1963) is an Indian model, film actress and dancer who mainly appeared in Hindi films. She was one of the highest paid actresses of her times. Her appearance in a Tamil film, paired with Prabu fetched her more credits. Meenakshi has appeared in a range of movies from comedy, drama, and action to romance. She won the Eve's Weekly Miss India contest in 1981 at age 17.[1][1][2]

Seshadri made her film debut in Painter Babu (1983) and received wider public recognition with the film Hero (1983), which was followed by a number of films in the 1980s and 1990s. She was noted for her performances in films, including Hoshiyar (1985), Bewafai (1985), Meri Jung (1985), Swati (1986), Dacait (1987), Inaam Dus Hazaar (1987), Shahenshah (1988), Mahaadev (1989), Jurm (1990), Ghayal (1990), Ghar Parivar, Damini (1993), and Ghatak (1996) among others.[3] Whereas she received immense critical acclaim for her films such as Swati (1986), Dahleez (1986), Satyamev Jayate (1987 film), Awaargi (1990) and Damini (1993).[4] She went on to establish herself as one of Hindi cinema's leading actresses in the 1980s and 1990s, and was acknowledged for several of her performances, her beauty, and her accomplished dancing.[3]

After the release of her film Ghatak, she left the film industry to raise her children and resides in the US, with her husband and children. She has been partially active in the US, where she runs her dance school "Cherish Dance School". Recently, a documentary was also made on her life called Meenakshi Accept Her Wings.[5][6]

Early life[edit]

Meenakshi Seshadri was born into a Tamil family[7][8][9] in Sindri, Jharkhand.[10][11] She is trained in four Indian classical dance forms, namely, Bharata Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak and Odissi. She studied dance under Vempati Chinna Satyam and Jaya Rama Rao. She won the Eve's Weekly Miss India contest in 1981 at the age of 17. She represented India at Miss International 1981 held in Tokyo, Japan but did not place.[12][13]

Career[edit]

Debut and Early Success (1983–1985)[edit]

Meenakshi Seshadri, born as Shashikala Seshadri, made her debut in the flop film Painter Babu, a 1983 Telugu/Hindi bilingual film opposite Rajiv Goswami, brother of Manoj Kumar. After Painter Babu, Seshadri decided to quit acting. She was encouraged by Subhash Ghai who cast her as his leading lady alongside another newcomer Jackie Shroff in Hero. The film went on to become a blockbuster and Seshadri became an overnight star. She, immediately after the success of Hero, got offers to star with Superstar Rajesh Khanna. She then appeared with Rajesh Khanna in Awara Baap in which she had a double role, but the film underperformed. She then appeared in many commercially unsuccessful films, mainly Love Marriage, Paisa Ye Paisa, and Lover Boy. Her next film Bewafai, again opposite Rajesh Khanna with Rajinikanth in a negative role. The film became one of the highest revenue earning films of the year 1985. This resulted in her gaining a major foothold in the industry. Some of her films were moderately successful, namely Swati, Mera Jawab and Aandhi Toofan. She then appeared in the film Hoshiyar alongside Jeetendra. Subhash Ghai again cast her in his next film Meri Jung, alongside Anil Kapoor, which became one of the highest-grossing films of the year. In the same year she acted with Rajinikanth in Mahaguru as his heroine.

Established Actress (1986–1989)[edit]

She appeared in many critically acclaimed films in 1986, mainly Swati, a woman-centric art house film, she performed the title role amongst an ensemble cast. The film gained immense critical acclaim and many critics said Meenakshi Seshadri has acted in Swati the way Amitabh Bachchan acts in his films. That same year she appeared in a romantic drama Dahleez alongside Jackie Shroff and Raj Babbar, which dealt with the taboo topic of infidelity, the film though underperformed at the box office. Her other releases that year such as Dilwaala (1986) and Allah Rakha were average performers at the box office. In 1987, she appeared in the hit film Inaam Dus Hazaar alongside Sanjay Dutt. She also appeared in Dacait, an action drama alongside Sunny Deol, it was a commercial failure. In 1988, she appeared in Yash Chopra's Vijay, Seshadri was called the saving grace of the film and Yash Chopra filmed all the songs on her in his trademark use of Switzerland. In 1988, she appeared in Shahenshah alongside Amitabh Bachchan. The film was heavily hyped. [3][14] After the mega success of Shahenshah, Meenakshi teamed up with Bachchan for films like Toofan, Akayla and Gangaa Jamunaa Saraswati but all three became box office flops. In 1989, she was directed by Dev Anand in the film Sachché Ká Bol-Bálá. In 1989, she made her Tamil film debut with En Rathathin Rathame, which was remake of the Hindi film Mr. India, opposite Bhagyaraj, which bombed at the Box office. In 1989, she appeared in the woman-centric family drama Bade Ghar Ki Beti in the title role and the family drama Gharana and these two films were moderate successes.[3]

Her pairing with Mithun Chakraborthy one as both were great dancers and complimented each other in Aandhi Toofan, Main Balwan, Dilwaala, Parivaar, Bees Saal Baad, Pyar Ka Karz and Shandaar. Her best & successful pairing and on-screen her chemistry with Anil Kapoor people like the most, and also her pairing with Jackie Shroff, Rishi Kapoor, Sunny Deol and Vinod Khanna was often cited by the media as successful.[3][15] Her successful films with Anil Kapoor include Aag Se Khelenge, Meri Jung, Awaargi and Ghar Ho Toh Aisa, but the rest, such as Love Marriage, Amba, Joshilaay, Vijay and Humlaa were box office duds. The actual number of films with Anil Kapoor are more than 9, unfortunately, a few of them are not complete; Prakash Mehra annouced Dhan Dhahej Stars Anil Kapoor pairing with Meenakshi, Raj babbar pairing with Padmini Kholapuri along with Rakhee and 1988 Sanjay Khan annouced the most expensive movie Sarzameen (Anil and Meenakshi along with Vinod Khanna). At the same years Ramesh sippy announced Laadla with Amitabh Bachchan & Meenakshi Seshadri it was barely just announced only.

She was given the best Tandav dance performance in her best film Damini, it was choreographed by Ravindra Atibudhi.

1990–1996: Commercial Success[edit]

In 1990, she appeared in two films of Mahesh Bhatt, first Awaargi, an art house film. Meenakshi's performance was critically acclaimed and many critics call it her best performance,[16] the second film was Jurm, released in the same year. The film was a critical and commercial success. Her role of a wife who has to face problems after her husband gets involved with another woman gained immense critical praise. She received her first nomination for the Filmfare Award for best actress for her role in the film. She also appeared in the woman-centric film Ghar Ho To Aisa opposite Anil Kapoor, the film was a hit and Seshadri was noted for her comic timing in the film.[4] She then appeared in Ghayal alongside Sunny Deol. This film started her long association with Rajkumar Santoshi. Ghayal was the highest-grossing film of the 1990s and became a blockbuster upon its release. In 1991, she appeared in Akayla, directed by Ramesh Sippy, opposite Amitabh Bachchan, despite being overly hyped, the film flopped at the box office. Her on-screen pairing with Vinod Khanna was widely appreciated, and the pair gave successful films such as Satyamev Jayate, Mahaadev, Jurm, Humshakal and Police Aur Mujrim. She acted in the family drama Ghar Parivar in 1991, with Rajesh Khanna and Rishi Kapoor as her co-stars and the film did very good business. She made her Telugu film debut with Brahmarishi Vishwamitra in 1991. In 1992, she appeared in the Telugu film Aapad Bandhavudu opposite Cheeranjeevi. In 1992 her film Aaj Ka Goonda Raaj opposite Cheeranjeevi was hit. In 1993, she appeared in the woman-centric film Damini – Lightning. Directed by filmmaker Rajkumar Santoshi, it also starred Rishi Kapoor, Sunny Deol, Amrish Puri, Tinnu Anand, and Paresh Rawal. The film was based on the sensitive subject of injustice towards a rape victim. Damini received a number of awards, including a National Film Award. She was nominated for a Filmfare Award for her role in the film Damini.[3] Her portrayal as Damini was highly praised and she won many accolades for her performance in the film. Damini is regarded as Seshadri's career-defining role.[17]

She also had the privilege to work with the thespian Dilip Kumar in his directorial debut Kalinga. Meenakshi was chosen by Kumar to enact the main role in the film. Though 80% of the film was made, unfortunately the film did not see the light of the day and was never released.

She acted in many films with Anil kapoor (9 movies), of which two films have an interesting story, Vijay and Inteqam (both released in 1988), in Vijay she does a hot kissing scene with Anil Kapoor in a Fiat car and in Inteqam she tied a Rakhi to Anil Kapoor, the scene was co-incidentally filmed in Fiat car too.

In 1992 she did the Telugu film Apathbandavudu, with Cheeranjevi, under direction of K. Vishwanath. In 1993, she also appeared in Aadmi Khilona Hai, opposite Govinda; and Kshatriya opposite Vinod Khanna – both the films were successful at the box office. In 1994, She was in a dance show songs of Damini 'Bin Sajan Jhula Jholu" with Aamir Khan, and same Raj Kumar Santoshi announced film Dil Hai Tumhara with Meenakshi pairing first time with Salman Khan, the film shelved after biggest Mahurat. she appeared in the Tamil film Duet, opposite Prabhu Ganeshan, directed by K. Balachander. Meenakshi played the female lead in the 1996 film Ghatak: Lethal, opposite Sunny Deol, directed by Rajkumar Santoshi and this film became a hit and was one of the highest-grossing films of 1996. This was her last film. After this film, she got married and settled in the United States.[5][6]

1997–present Retirement[edit]

After her marriage she was seen making a rare appearance on Shekhar Suman's talk show. After a few years of her marriage she shifted her base to the US. In an interview she stated: "belonging from a very Indo-centric background, life abroad shook me, I just could not relate myself with the US environs". However, with the passage of time she has settled there. Now she is successfully running her own dance school in Dallas called "Cherish Institute of Dance"; the school is described as "an assembly of talented dancers, a voluntary body to enhance multi-culture, revealing the best talent of people of all ages". Besides running a dance school in the US, a documentary film was made on her life by Margret Stephens called 'Meenakshi Accept Her Wings'; the two-hour musical documentary depicts the transitional lifestyle of the dancer-actress to a homemaker. The movie tells about her life after movies and marriage.[5][6]

Personal life[edit]

She retired from cinema after marrying investment banker Harish Mysore. She had a civil wedding and a registered marriage in New York.[18] The couple has three children, daughter Kendra and sons Josh and Matt. Meenakshi lives in Plano, Texas.[19] There, she teaches Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Odissi. She performs with her students at charity events and fundraisers.[6] A philanthropist, Meenakshi and her disciples performed at the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) convention in California.

Artistry[edit]

Dance[edit]

Meenakshi Seshadri is not only known for her acting skills, but for her dancing skills as well.[20] Often referred to as "Damini", she is famous for her dance in the song "Tu Mera Hero Hai" from the film Hero. She is also known for her dance sequences accompanying Bollywood songs such as "Pyar Karne Wale" (from Hero), "Jaane Do Jaane Do" (from Shahenshah) opposite Amitabh Bachchan, "Badal Pe Chalke" (from Vijay) opposite Anil Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor, "Bin Saajan Jhula" (from Damini) opposite Aamir Khan, "Sajan Mera Uss Par Hai" (from Gangaa Jamunaa Saraswati), "Mujre Wali Hoon" (from Awaargi), "Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaye" (from Jurm) and "Badan Main Chandni" (from Ghatak). Her Tandav dance in Damini is considered to be the best and most intense dance performance in Indian cinema.[6]

She relates to herself more closely as a dancer than an actress.[6] With a desire to continue the art and extend this culture in a foreign land, Meenakshi, with the support of her husband Harish, introduced "Cherish Dance School".[6]

Documentaries and television appearances[edit]

She made few appearances on talk shows and rarely gave interviews. In 1987, she appeared in an interview held in London, in which she discussed her personal and professional life.

In 1992 Seshadri featured in a documentary made for television called World of Film: India, the documentary was about the Indian film industry and Seshadri featured with stalwarts such as Shashi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan and Mira Nair

In 1997 she made a rare public appearance on Shekhar Suman's talk show Movers and Shakers, this was also her last television appearance before she left the industry to raise her children. She discussed her entire career as well as personal life along with her passion for dance and her stage performances.

In 2006 a documentary was made on her life called Meenakshi Accept Her Wings, which was directed by Margret Stephens; the two-hour musical documentary depicted the transitional lifestyle of a dancer-actress to a homemaker. The movie gave a deeper insight to her life after quitting films and her successful marriage.[6]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • 1991 – Filmfare Nomination as Best Actress for Jurm
  • 1994 – Filmfare Nomination as Best Actress for Damini[21]
  • 1993 – Smita Patil Memorial Award for Best Actress[22]

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1983 Painter Babu Renu Kailashnath Debut with Raijiv Goswami
1983 Hero Radha Mathur Jakie shroff
1984 Love Marriage Ritu Mafatlal Anil Kapoor
1985 Paisa Yeh Paisa Sapna Jakie Shroff
1985 Hoshiyar Jyoti Jeetendra
1985 Awara Baap Rupa Rajesh Khanna
1985 Mera Jawab Poonam Jakie Shroff
1985 Aandhi-Toofan Meena Kapoor Mithun
1985 Pahuche Hue Log Guest Appearance Director Johnny Walker
1985 Mahaguru Basanti Rajnikant
1985 Bewafai Vinny Rajesh Khanna
1985 Maha Shaktimaan-3D Movie Madhuri Raj Babbar
1985 Meri Jung Geeta Mathur Anil Kapoor
1985 Mera Ghar Mere Bachche Sarita Raj Babbar
1985 Lover Boy Radha Rajiv Kapoor
1986 Ricky Kunal Goswami
1986 Main Balwaan Natasha Mithun
1986 Maa Beti Meenu / Asha Karan Shah
1986 Dahleez Naini Saxena Raj Babbar
1986 Allah Rakha Rani Jakie Shroff
1986 Dilwaala Padma Mithun
1986 Swati Swati Akbar Khan
1987 Satyamev Jayate Seema Vinod Khanna
1987 Dacait Javli Sunny Deol
1987 Inaam Dus Hazaar Kamal Malhotra aka Sonia Sanjay Dutt
1987 Muqaddar Ka Faisla Meena Raj Babbar
1987 Parivaar Anita Mithun
1988 Main Tere Liye Rinku Sagar Suniel Anand
1988 Aurat Teri Yehi Kahani Savitri Raj Babbar
1988 Bees Saal Baad Kiran Thakur Mithun
1988 Gangaa Jamunaa Saraswati Jamuna Amitabh Bachchan
1988 Inteqam Sita/Sitara Sunny Deol and Anil Kapoor
1988 Vijay Sapna Anil Kapoor
1988 Shahenshah Shalu Amitabh Bachchan
1989 Aag Se Khelenge Geeta Anil Kapoor
1989 Toofan Radha Amitabh Bachchan
1989 Bade Ghar Ki Beti Mala Rishi Kapoor
1989 Sachché Ká Bol-Bálá Reema Jakie shroff
1989 Joshilaay Mangala Anil Kapoor
1989 Gharana Radha Rishi Kapoor
1989 En Rathathin Rathame Sudha Tamil film; Remake of Mr.India
1989 Mahadev Geeta Vinod Khanna
1989 Mohabat Ka Paigham Zeenat Banu Aditya Pancholi & Raj Babbar
1989 Nache Nagin Gali Gali
1990 Amba Lajjo Anil Kapoor
1990 Jurm Meena S. Varma Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress
1990 Ghayal Varsha Bharti Sunny Deol
1990 Awaargi Meena Govinda /Anil Kapoor
1990 Ghar Ho To Aisa Seema Anil Kapoor
1990 Pyar Ka Karz Dr. Naina Mithun
1990 Shandaar Rani Mithun
1991 Akayla Seema Amitabh/Jakie
1991 Brahmarishi Vishwamitra Menaka Telugu film
Co-Star : N.T.Rama Rao
1992 Aapad Bandhavudu Hema Telugu film
Co-Star : Chiranjeevi
1992 Humshakal Sarah
1992 Police Aur Mujrim Kiran
1992 Aaj Ka Goonda Raj Shalu Sharma Cheeranjevi
1992 Humlaa Seema Anil Kapoor
1992 Yeh Raat Phir Na Ayegi
1992 Kalinga Unreleased (Director Dilip Kumar)
1993 Sadhna Madhu
1993 Bari Behen Jyoti Dwarkaprasad
1993 Aadmi Khilona Hai Punam Verma
1993 Ghar Parivar Mohanji Prasad
1993 Kshatriya Madhu J.P.Dutta
1993 Damini-Lightning Damini Gupta Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress
1993 Teri Payal Mere Geeth Laila jaan Govinda
1994 Swarg se Pyara Ghar Humara Unreleased
1994 Duet Anjali Tamil film
1996 Ghatak: Lethal Gauri
1997 Mil Gayee Manzil Mujhe Director Lekh Tondon (Unreleased) Milind Gunaji
1998 Swami Vivekananda Young woman who desires to marry Narendranath Datta and later becomes Sannyasini
2016 Ghayal Once Again Varsha (flash back)

Television[edit]

Year Show Role Notes
1999 Movers and Shakers Herself Last talk show appearance, Interviewed by Shekhar Suman
1999 Star Yaar Kalakaar Herself TV Reality show , Host by Farida Jalal

Documentary[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1992 World of Film: India Herself Appeared alongside Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor and Mira Nair
2006 Meenakshi Accept Her Wings Herself Directed by Margret Stephens

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Actress missing from Action – Meenakshi Seshadri". Zee News. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "Miss India and their Bollywood breaks". Retrieved 25 June 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Boxofficeindia.com. "Top Actress". Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "BoxOffice India.com". BoxOffice India.com. Archived from the original on 18 September 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c "Box Office 1996". Retrieved 5 June 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Miraculous Meenakshi | Lights Camera Action | Houston fSouth Asian Lifestyle Society News". lcahouston.com. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ "Daily Bhaskar: Bollywood's 'Damini' Meenakshi Seshadri turns 51". Daily Bhaskar. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  10. ^ "Bollywood actress Meenakshi turns 48". Awaztoday.com. 16 November 1959. Retrieved 11 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "Meenakshi Seshadri | Meenakshi Seshadri news | Meenakshi Seshadri movies | Meenakshi Seshadri pics | photos | images | Meenakshi Seshadri hits | Full movies | Meenakshi Seshadri hot pics". TollywoodTimes. 16 November 1959. Retrieved 11 March 2014. 
  12. ^ Kothari, Sunil; Avinash Pasricha (2001). Kuchipudi. Abhinav Publications. p. 203. ISBN 8170173590. 
  13. ^ Mandhir Saikia and Avani Saxena (22 September 1999). "Meenakshi magic". Express. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  14. ^ [3]
  15. ^ "Top Grosser of 1990". Boxoffice India. Archived from the original on 18 September 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "Awaargi – Film Review". Planet Bollywood. Archived from the original on 30 August 2010. Retrieved 2 September 2010. 
  17. ^ [4][dead link]
  18. ^ "civil wedding". Archived from the original on 16 November 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  19. ^ "Spurred by success: Meenakshi bares her claws!". Stardust. 31 October 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  20. ^ "rediff.com: Bollywood's best dancing girls". Rediff.com. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  21. ^ "Download Attachment" (PDF). Deep750.googlepages.com. Retrieved 11 March 2014. 
  22. ^ "Photo Gallery". Priyadarshniacademy.com. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 

External links[edit]