Meenakshi Seshadri

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Meenakshi Seshadri
Shasikala Seshadri

(1963-11-16) 16 November 1963 (age 56)[1]
OccupationFilm actress, Dancer
Years active1981–1997
TitleEve's Weekly Miss India 1981 in Japan.
Harish Mysore (m. 1995)

Meenakshi Seshadri (born 16 November 1963) is an Indian actress, model and dancer who mainly appeared in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu films. She won the Eve's Weekly Miss India contest in 1981 at age 17.[3][4]

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), Awaargi(1990), Jurm (1990), Ghayal (1990), Ghar Ho To Aisa (1990), Damini (1993), and Ghatak (1996) among others.[5] Whereas she received immense critical acclaim for her films such as Swati (1986), Dahleez (1986), Satyamev Jayate (1987 film), Awaargi (1990), and Damini (1993).[6] 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.[5] As she was a dancer, she performed at the famous "KHAJURAHO" dancing festival in the 1990s.

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.[citation needed] She has been partially active in the US, where she runs her dance school "Cherish Dance School".[citation needed] Recently, a documentary was also made on her life called Meenakshi Accept Her Wings.[7][8]

Early life[edit]

Seshadri was born into a Tamil family[9][10][11] in Sindri, Jharkhand.[12][13] 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.[14][15]


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

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.[citation needed] After Painter Babu, Seshadri decided to quit acting.[citation needed] 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[16] She, immediately after the success of Hero, got offers to star with Superstar Rajesh Khanna.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] She then appeared in the film Hoshiyar alongside Jeetendra.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] The film gained immense critical acclaim and many critics said Meenakshi Seshadri has acted in Swati the way Amitabh Bachchan acts in his films.[citation needed] That same year she appeared in a romantic drama Dahleez alongside Jackie Shroff and Raj Babbar, which dealt with the taboo topic of infidelity,[citation needed] the film though underperformed at the box office.[citation needed] Her other releases that year such as Dilwaala (1986) and Allah Rakha were average performers at the box office.[citation needed] In 1987, she appeared in the hit film Inaam Dus Hazaar alongside Sanjay Dutt.[citation needed] She also appeared in Dacait, an action drama alongside Sunny Deol, it was a commercial failure.[citation needed] In 1988, she appeared in Yash Chopra's Vijay In 1988, she appeared in Shahenshah alongside Amitabh Bachchan.[citation needed] The film was heavily hyped.[5][17] After the mega success of Shahenshah, Seshadri teamed up with Bachchan for films like Toofan, Akayla and Gangaa Jamunaa Saraswati but all three became box office flops.[citation needed] In 1989, she was directed by Dev Anand in the film Sachché Ká Bol-Bálá.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] In 1989, she appeared in the woman-centric family drama Bade Ghar Ki Beti[citation needed] in the title role and the family drama Gharana[citation needed] and these two films were moderate successes.[5]

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.[citation needed] 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.[5][18] 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.[citation needed] The actual number of films with Anil Kapoor are more than 9, unfortunately, a few of them are not complete; Prakash Mehra announced Dhan Dhahej Stars Anil Kapoor pairing with Seshadri, Raj Babbar pairing with Padmini Kholapuri along with Rakhee and 1988 Sanjay Khan announced the most expensive movie Sarzameen (Anil Kapoor and Seshadri along with Vinod Khanna).[citation needed] At the same years Ramesh Sippy announced Laadla with Amitabh Bachchan and Seshadri it was barely just announced only.[citation needed]

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

1990–1996: Commercial Success[edit]

In 1990, she appeared in two films of Mahesh Bhatt, first Awaargi, an art house film. Seshadri's performance was critically acclaimed and many critics call it her best performance,[19] the second film was Jurm, released in the same year.[citation needed] The film was a critical and commercial success.[citation needed] Her role of a wife who has to face problems after her husband gets involved with another woman gained immense critical praise.[citation needed] She received her first nomination for the Filmfare Award for best actress for her role in the film.[citation needed] 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.[6] She then appeared in Ghayal alongside Sunny Deol.[citation needed] This film started her long association with Rajkumar Santoshi.[citation needed] Ghayal was the highest-grossing film of the 1990s and became a blockbuster upon its release.[citation needed] In 1991, she appeared in Akayla, directed by Ramesh Sippy, opposite Amitabh Bachchan, despite being overly hyped, the film flopped at the box office.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] She made her Telugu film debut with Brahmarishi Vishwamitra in 1991.[citation needed] In 1992, she appeared in the Telugu film Aapadbandhavudu opposite Cheeranjeevi.[citation needed] In 1992 her film Aaj Ka Goonda Raaj opposite Cheeranjeevi was hit.[citation needed] In 1993, she appeared in the woman-centric film Damini – Lightning.[citation needed] Directed by filmmaker Rajkumar Santoshi, it also starred Rishi Kapoor, Sunny Deol, Amrish Puri, Tinnu Anand, and Paresh Rawal.[citation needed] The film was based on the sensitive subject of injustice towards a rape victim.[citation needed] Damini received a number of awards, including a National Film Award.[citation needed] She was nominated for a Filmfare Award for her role in the film Damini.[5] 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.[20]

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

She acted in many films with Anil kapoor (9 movies), of which two films have an interesting story, Vijay[citation needed] and Inteqam[citation needed] (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 coincidentally filmed in Fiat car too.[citation needed]

In 1992, she did the Telugu film Apathbandavudu, with Chiranjeevi under direction of K. Vishwanath.[citation needed] 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 In 1991 Raj Kumar Santoshi started the film Dil Hai Tumhara with Sunny Deol, Seshadri pairing first time with Salman Khan, they unfortunately got together for one schedule of the shoot and film was shelved.[citation needed] she appeared in the Tamil film Duet, opposite Prabhu Ganeshan, directed by K. Balachander.[citation needed] Seshadri 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.[citation needed] This was her last film.[citation needed] After this film, she got married and settled in the United States.[7][8]

1997–present Hiatus[edit]

After her marriage, she was seen making a rare appearance on Shekhar Suman's talk show.[citation needed] After a few years of her marriage she shifted her base to the US (Plano, Texas).[citation needed] 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".[citation needed] However, with the passage of time she has settled there.[citation needed] Now she is successfully running her own dance school in Dallas called "Cherish Institute of Dance";[citation needed] 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".[citation needed] Besides running a dance school in the US, a documentary film was made on her life by Margret Stephens called 'Meenakshi Accept Her Wings';[citation needed] the two-hour musical documentary depicts the transitional lifestyle of the dancer-actress to a homemaker.[citation needed] The movie tells about her life after movies and marriage.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Seshadri retired from cinema after marrying investment banker Harish Mysore in 1995. She had a civil wedding and a registered marriage in New York.[21] The couple has two children, a daughter and a son. Seshadri lives in Plano, Texas.[22] There, she teaches Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Odissi. She performs with her students at charity events and fundraisers.[8] A philanthropist, Meenakshi and her students performed at the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) convention in California.



Seshadri is not only known for her acting skills, but for her dancing skills as well.[23] 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.[8]

She relates to herself more closely as a dancer than an actress.[8] With a desire to continue the art and extend this culture in a foreign land, Seshadri, with the support of her husband Harish, introduced "Cherish Dance School".[8]

Seshadri is a singer too, she was sang some poetry notes in J.P. Dutta's Movie Khatriya in a Laxmikant Pyarelal composing. She sang the song in another movie called "Tadap" leading with Chunkey Pandey and Nana Patekar but the movie was not released. she sung the song "Tumhare Roop ka" with Amit Kumar and Suresh Wadekar under R.D. Burman's composing.

Documentaries and television appearances[edit]

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

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] She discussed her entire career as well as personal life along with her passion for dance and her stage performances.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] The movie gave a deeper insight to her life after quitting films and her successful marriage.[citation needed]

Awards and recognition[edit]


Year Film Role Notes
1983 Painter Babu Renu Kailashnath
1983 Hero Radha Mathur
1984 Love Marriage Ritu Mafatlal
1985 Hoshiyar Jyoti
1985 Mera Jawab Poonam
1985 Aandhi-Toofan Meena Kapoor
1985 Mahaguru Basanti
1985 Bewafai Vinny
1985 Maha Shaktimaan-3D Movie Madhuri
1985 Mera Ghar Mere Bachche Sarita
1985 Paisa Yeh Paisa Sapna
1985 Meri Jung Geeta Srivastav
1985 Lover Boy Radha
1985 Awara Baap Rupa / Deepa
1986 Ricky
1986 Main Balwaan Natasha
1986 Maa Beti Meenu / Asha
1986 Dahleez Mrig Nayani
1986 Pahuche Hue Log Guest Appearance
1986 Allah Rakha Rani
1986 Dilwaala Padma
1986 Swati Swati
1987 Satyamev Jayate Seema
1987 Dacait Chavli
1987 Inaam Dus Hazaar Kamal Malhotra aka Sonia
1987 Muqaddar Ka Faisla Meena
1987 Parivaar Anita
1988 Main Tere Liye Rinku Sagar
1988 Aurat Teri Yehi Kahani Savitri
1988 Bees Saal Baad Kiran Thakur
1988 Gangaa Jamunaa Saraswati Jamuna
1988 Inteqam Sita/Sitara
1988 Vijay Sapna
1988 Shahenshah Shalu
1989 Aag Se Khelenge Geeta
1989 Tohfan Radha
1989 Bade Ghar Ki Beti Mala
1989 Sachché Ká Bol-Bálá Reema
1989 Joshilaay Mangala
1989 Gharana Radha
1989 En Rathathin Rathame Sudha Tamil film; Remake of Mr.India
1989 Mahadev Geeta
1989 Mohabat Ka Paigham Zeenat Banu
1989 Nache Nagin Gali Gali Mohini
1990 Amba Lajjo
1990 Jurm Meena S Verma Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress
1990 Ghayal Varsha Bharti
1990 Awaargi Meena
1990 Ghar Ho To Aisa Seema
1990 Pyar Ka Karz Dr. Naina
1990 Shandaar Rani
1991 Akayla Seema
1991 Brahmarishi Vishwamitra Menaka
1992 Aapadbandhavudu Hema Telugu film
1992 Humshakal Sarah
1992 Police Aur Mujrim Kiran
1992 Aaj Ka Goonda Raj Shalu Sharma
1992 Humlaa Seema
1992 Yeh Raat Phir Na Ayegi Radha
1992 Kalinga Unreleased (Director Dilip Kumar)
1993 Sadhna Madhu
1993 Badi Behen Jyoti Dwarkaprasad
1993 Aadmi Khilona Hai Punam Verma
1993 Ghar Parivar
1993 Kshatriya Madhu
1993 Damini Damini Gupta Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress
1993 Teri Payal Mere Geeth Laila Jaan
1994 Duet Anjali Tamil film
1996 Ghatak: Lethal Gauri
1996 Swami Vivekananda Young woman who desires to marry Narendranath Datta and later becomes Sannyasini
2016 Ghayal Once Again Varsha (flash back)


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


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


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