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Vyjayanthimala; the Beautiful Actress of Bollywood During 1950-1970

Radhika likes watching classic movies. She likes to appreciate the beauty and acting skills of actresses of her interest.



Tan dole mera man dole………………

Mera dil ye pukare aaja………..

Maangke saath thumhara maine maang liya sansaar………

ude jab jab zulfe theri...............

Dil thadap thadap se keh raha hai aabhi jaa……………….

Aaja re mein tho kabse khadi is paar……………..

Hoton meim aisi baath ko dabaake chali aayi…………

The communion of dance, music, act and beauty together would define the great actress Vyjayanthimala. This South Indian actress had once conquered Hindi movies not only with her awesome facial features, but also with her glamorous body shape and glorious performance. Her contributions to Hindi film world will remain immortal; no one else can substitute her forever.

Life of Vyjayanthi

Vyjayanthi was born to Sri M.D. Raman and Smt. Vasundhara devi, in an orthodox Tamil Brahmin Iyengar family in Chennai. Her mother was a leading Tamil films actress in the 1940s. She was raised mainly by her maternal grandmother Smt. Yadugiri Devi. At age 5, Vyjayanthimala was chosen to perform a classical Indian dance for Pope Pius XII. She had her school education in Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School, Presentation Convent, Church Park, Chennai. She learned Bharata Natyam from Guru Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai and had her debut in the same at the age of 13.

Acting Career

The period 1949-1953 witnessed Vyjayanthi’s debut and breakthrough in film industry. Her film role started with AVM Productions’ Tamil film “Vazhkai” directed by M.V.Raman. The success of Vazhkai in South India inspired AVM Productions to remake it in Hindi as Bahar in 1951. Vyjayanthimala was put in the lead role with the name ‘Padmini’ along-with Karan Dewan, Om Prakash and Pandari Bai. She learned Hindi at the Hindi Prachar Sabha in order to dub her own voice for her character in the film. She could bring up the film look live with her outstanding dance performances which the North Indian audience welcomed with cheers then. The second venture was the film ‘ladki’ which became the second highest grossing film of 1953 with verdict hit.

Film Nagin

Vyjayanthimala in film Nagin

Vyjayanthimala in film Nagin

The year 1954 was the turning point in the actress’ life at the age of 18 when she was chosen as the heroine of the magnum opus film Nagin. The film was a blockbuster hit of 1954. Vyjayanthi had the role of the chief of ‘Nagi’ tribe. The sequence of dances in the film towards the finish in which she performed daintily illuminated the screen along-with her lovely eyes of expression. She was featured as the belle of the hills in Nagin. The song ‘tan dole mera man dole’ by Lata Mangeshkar in this film is still being pondered by music-savvy minds of the nation. The film ‘Nagin’ was a breakthrough in Vyjayantimala’s life and she became one of the leading actresses of Bollywood then.

Film Devdas

Vyjayanthimala in film Devdaas

Vyjayanthimala in film Devdaas

In the year 1955, director Bimal Roy cast her as Chandramukhi in film Devdas along-with Dilip Kumar, based on a novel by Sarath Chandra Chatterjii. As Vyjayanthi was too young to do that role, the industry didn’t approve of this first. But Roy had to carry on as part of the commitment made to distributors. But she could par-take the character as much as she could and her transformation from a dancer to the mainstream woman was transparent throughout. The pain of hopeless love which Chandramukhi had was delivered to the audience that could consider the character with true sympathy. Though the film was critically successful, it could not become a box office hit.

In the year 1956, even if she was portrayed in a number of films, the comedy film “New Delhi” with Kishor Kumar came to be noticed as a super hit.

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Film Naya Daur

Vyjayanthimala in film Naya daur

Vyjayanthimala in film Naya daur

This film brought success and stardom in the actress’ life which she enjoyed completely. Director B.R.Chopra chose Vyjayanthimala and Dilip Kumar in the main roles for the film “Naya Daur” in the year 1957. The film was based on the theme “man vs machine” and the duo had handled their roles very humanly. Vyjayanthi has been featured as the village belle “Rajni” who is clever and brave. She is a hands-on worker who comes up with the ideas of how to ford the river and even risks her life to save the bridge. The song “Maangke saath thumhara” is a major highlight of this movie in which Vyjayanthi has done justice to the song through her blatant expressions. The movie was a major hit and was the second highest grossing film of 1957.

Vyjayanthi’s next venture was the film “Kathputli” in which she co-starred with Balraj Sahni for the first time. Then she signed up a new contract for the film “Aasha” in the same year with Kishor Kumar which was a box office hit. The movie is best known for the song “Eena Meena Dekha” sung by Kishor Kumar and Asha Bhonsle.

Film Madhumati

Vyjayanthimala in film Madhumati

Vyjayanthimala in film Madhumati

In this film, Vyjayanthi had triple-act as Madhumati, Madhavi and Radha. Madhumati was a nature’s girl who loved birds and was innocent and beautiful. Madhavi was brought up in city and she lacked the qualities that Madhumati had. She was poised, curious and pitiful. Vyjayanthi could successfully handle both the characters which marked the success of the film. Dilip Kumar had the character role of Madhumati’s lover who excels in revealing the grief that he had for his dead love. The stunning scenario in which the film was shot also adds up to its grandeur. The dizzying success of Madhumati took Vyjayanthimala to the highest degrees of stardom which every actress in Bollywood aspires to achieve.

“Aaja re mein tho” by Lata Mangeshkar is one of the sought-after songs of this picture. “Dil thadap thadap” also would never go behind while recalling the songs of Madhumati. The music composer Salil Chaudhary had contributed his finest talents to the songs of this picture.

Film Ganga-Jamna

Vyjayanthimala in film Ganga Jamna

Vyjayanthimala in film Ganga Jamna

After a short break, Vyjayanthimala re-entered Hindi film world in the year 1961. This time she signed up for Gunga Jamna, Dilip Kumar’s home production film. Directed by Nitin Bose, she co-starred Kumar in this film. Vyjayanthi had the role of a village washerwoman who had to speak Bhojpuri, a Hindi language dialect spoken by East India region. She learned the same very easily and got praise from the critics that she spoke the dialect like a native despite her South Indian upbringing.

Film Sangam

Vyjayanthimala in film Sangam

Vyjayanthimala in film Sangam

There were ups and down in her acting career in the years that followed. In 1964, she again tasted the fruit of success from the film “Sangam”, a lavishly budgeted movie from R.K. Films. Rajendra Kapoor and Raj Kapoor were the heroes in which the trio formed a love triangle. Vyjayanthi’s radiant performance was unforgettable and the film was a blockbuster hit.

After some box office flops, Vyjayanthimala’s romantic movie Suraj alongside Rajendra Kumar directed by T. Prakash Rao in the year 1966 was the last hit.

Film Amrapali

film Amrapali

film Amrapali

This film marked the end of the actress’ Bollywood life. She played the title role in this historic film along-with Sunil Dutt who enacted the role of Ajathasathru. Amrapali was the royal courtesan (Nagarvadhu) of Vaishali which was directed by B.R.Chopra.

The great actress Vyjayanthimala gave Bollywood a golden period through 1950-1970 with her magical and magnetic performances. Her dizzying dances could not only captivate the audience, but also could bring out a new style in Indian Bollywood. Vyjayanthimala is an example of true art, great wisdom and astonishing beauty.

Vyjayanthimala in the song "dil thadap thadap"

© 2012 Radhika Sreekanth


Radhika Sreekanth (author) from Mumbai,India on December 12, 2013:

Hi Akhil,

Vyjayanthimala is a great dancer.

Akhil on December 10, 2013:

I am very much impressed with dance, acting of Vyjayanthimala. My email harekrishna (dot) 5500 (at) gmail (dot) com

Radhika Sreekanth (author) from Mumbai,India on January 08, 2013:

Thanks prasadjain for adding to the discussion. Vyjayanthimala was indeed a beautiful actress with many talents. Of course, Meena kumari also was on the same line with Vyjayanthi. The trio Lalitha, Padmini and Ragini were her contemporaries who've contributed their most to South Indian movies.

Thanks for voting this up. Take care.

Dr.S.P.PADMA PRASAD from Tumkur on January 07, 2013:

A highly satisfactory hub on the actress who held the young hearts of ours spellbound for years together.She and Meena Kumari were most beautiful actresses of those days.We saw Sangam so many times for her beauty, music, shooting done in many foreign countries etc.In Amrapali also, her performance was superb.

Gone are the days when Indian cinema was a cultured show.

Vyjayanthimala was giving separate dance performances. AS her contemporaries, were- Lalitha,Padmini and Ragini- equally beautiful and talented actresses.

Voted up!

Radhika Sreekanth (author) from Mumbai,India on October 25, 2012:

Hi yyyyyyyy,

Thanks for the comment.

yyyyyyyyy on October 24, 2012:

i too like vyjayanthi mala but i never knew she was born in TN

Radhika Sreekanth (author) from Mumbai,India on August 03, 2012:

Thank you very much IntegrityYes!!

IntegrityYes on August 02, 2012:

OOH!,Radhikasree! That is very useful and awesome. I miss her dearly. I voted up for sure.

Radhika Sreekanth (author) from Mumbai,India on May 26, 2012:

Thanks yssubramanyam for voting the artist Vyjayanthimala up.

yssubramanyam from india, nellore. andhrapradesh on May 25, 2012:

one of the famous artist of India. versatile artist besides classic dancer.

Radhika Sreekanth (author) from Mumbai,India on May 11, 2012:

Vyjayanthimala was a South Indian Bollywood actress who paved the way for other South Indians to enter Bollywood and show their talents. Glad to know that you would watch movies of this actress and thanks for the compliment.

traslochimilano from USA on May 10, 2012:

I don't know much more about bollywood movies but now i will try to see movie of Vyjayanthi mala.

Nice hub

Radhika Sreekanth (author) from Mumbai,India on April 10, 2012:

Thanks Rahul for adding plus points. Yes, Vyjayanthi is the pillar of Indian Bollywood.

Radhika Sreekanth (author) from Mumbai,India on April 10, 2012:


I'm glad that my hub could give you some nostalgic feelings. Thank you so much for crediting me and supporting my view points on the great actress Vyjayanthimala.

Jessee R from Gurgaon, India on April 10, 2012:

Awesome hub! Even I consider her as a pillar of bollywood cinema

dinkan53 from India on April 10, 2012:

Went through some nostalgic feelings. So nice of you that you give a chance to remember one amoung the greatest actors of past time. You are absolutely right with your writings that 'no one else can substitute her forever'.

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