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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Legendary Heroines of India


India Post issued a set of 6 stamps and a Miniature Sheet to honor the Legendary heroines of Indian cinema.

Devika Rani
The first lady of Hindi cinema, Devika Rani was the star and late manager of Bombay Talkies. Grand niece of Rabindranath Tagore, Devika Rani was one of the greatest actresses of the black and white era.

Devika Rani got the first taste of Indian Cinema through her husband Himanshu Rai, whom she first met when he approached her for the construction of a huge set for his first production – ‘Light of Asia’. After marriage, they left for Germany and once there, Rai joined hands with Universal Films AG and made ‘A Throw of Dice’.

It was in 1933 that Himanshu Rai signed Devika Rani for her first film ‘Karma’ which made her an actress of great acclaim. After a couple of years, Rai and Devika Rani set up the famous Bombay Talkies Studio, and she became the studio’s first heroine with Jawani ki Hawa, where she starred opposite Ashok Kumar. The two of them starred in a series of films starting with Jeevan Naiya (1936) but it was Achut Kanya (1936), which capitulated Devika Rani and Ashok Kumar to big time fame.

Kanan Devi
The actress and singer, started with the name Kananbala. Debuting as child actress in Joydev; she worked under contract with Radha Films where she acted in Jyotish Banerjee Films. P.C.Barua was unable to obtain her for the role of Paro in ‘Devdas’ (1935) but she played the lead in his next film, Mukti, which made her a star and launched her long association with New Theatres.

Meena Kumari
She was born on August 1, 1932 as Mahjabeen Bano to Ali Baksh and Iqbal Begum. The actress has two elder sisters: Khursheed and Madhu. After her birth she was left at the Muslim orphanage as her parents could not pay the fees to the doctor. Her father was also interested in music, poetry and was a part of Parsi theater. Meenas mother’s actual name was Prabhwati Devi, a Hindu girl who converted to Islam after marriage and changed her name to Iqbal Begum, a dancer and stage actress.

The beautiful Mehejabeen, stepped into the world of grease and glamour from the tender age of six. Her first film as a child artist was Vijay Bhatt’s ‘Leather Face’ (1939). She then metamorphasised into a beautiful heroine and did some heartrenching movies like ‘Baiju Bawra’ (1954), ‘Parineeta’ (1955), ‘Ek Hi Raasta’, ‘Sharda’ (1957), ‘Aarti’ (1963) and ‘Kaajal’ (1966).

Nutan
She was an Indian actress, who appeared in several successful Hindi movies of the 50s and 60s. Highly regarded for her acting abilities, Nutan was recognised as an accomplished dramatic actress, and her performances often received praises and accolades. She started her career as actress as a fourteen-year-old in Hamari Beti (1950). This film was produced by her mother, Shobhana. In 1952 she was the winner of Miss India.

Savithri
She was an Indian actress, director and producer. She had appeared in Telgu, Tamil, and Hindi languages. She was known for her liveliness and captivating performance and is still treated as the benchmark for acting in movies. She learned music and Indian classical dance under Sista Purnayya Sasthri. She performed stage shows during her childhood. She acted in 318 films in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Hindi languages, with ten to fifteen movies released per year.

Leela Naidu
She was an Indian actress who starred in a small number of Hindi and English films.Born to an Irish mother and an Indian father. Was a Femina Miss India. Quit movies to marry (and later divorce) hotelier Tilakraj Oberoi. She later married Goan poet Dom Moraes, who was her childhood sweetheart. Vogue named her as one of most beautiful women in the world, along with Maharani Gayatri Devi. Became an icon for women’s liberation in India after her non-orthodox role with Sunil Dutt in “Yeh raastae hain pyar kae”.

Title: Legendary Heroines of India
Date of Issue: 13 February 2011
Country: India
Denominations: 500p x 6