Actor-director Vijaya Nirmala passes away
She will be remembered for entering the Guinness Book of World Records (2000) for being the only woman director to have directed 42 films, the most for any woman director in the world
Veteran actor and filmmaker Vijaya Nirmala (73) breathed her last in the wee hours of Thursday at Continental Hospital, Gachibowli. She will be remembered for entering the Guinness Book of World Records (2000) for being the only woman director to have directed 42 films, the most for any woman director in the world.
She received Rahupathi Venkaiah Award for her contributions to Telugu cinema in 2008. Born as Nirmala on February 20, 1946, in a Telugu family settled in Tamil Nadu, she ventured into acting as a child artiste with Tamil film Matsyarekhai (1950). She followed it up with her Telugu debut film, Panduranga Mahatyam (1957) at the age of 11. Her performance as little Krishna has won accolades and the film ran for 100 days in nine centers and 24 weeks in Vijayawada and Guntur. Her second Telugu film Bhookailas starring late NT Rama Rao, Akkineni Nageswara Rao and Jamuna was released the following year and won her plaudits for her portrayal as Goddess Sita.
After a six-year hiatus, she played the lead role in the Malayalam horror movie Bhargavi Nilayam (1964), directed by A Vincent, wherein she was paired opposite Prem Nazir. The film was declared one of the biggest hits of that year. She signed her second Tamil film, Enga Veettu Penn (1965) produced by Vijaya Productions and after that film, she was widely known as 'Vijaya' Nirmala. She became a heroine in Telugu with Rangula Ratnam (1966) and went onto act in over 200 films in a career spanning over six decades.
She made her directorial debut with Meena (1973) and went on to direct over 44 films with her last film being Neramu Siksha (2009) starring Superstar Krishna. Among all the films she has appeared in, her chemistry with her husband Krishna impressed the audience greatly. From Saakshi (1967) to Sri Sri (2016), the duo was reckoned as a hit pair and together, they have shared screen space in about 50 movies. She made her small screen debut with Balaji Telefilms Pelli Kanuka.
After that, she launched her production house – Vijaya Krishna Movies and went onto produce 15 films. She also handled the operations of Padmalaya Studios and Padmalaya Tele Films.
Vijaya Nirmala is survived by her husband and veteran actor Krishna and son Vijaya Krishna Naresh. Renowned Telugu actor Mahesh Babu is her step-son.
The entire Telugu film industry is mourning her death and several celebrities have expressed their condolences to the bereaved family.
Expressing his condolence over the demise of Vijaya Nirmala, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao recalled her services in the Telugu film industry. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu have fondly remembered her contributions to cinema and said her death has created a vacuum in the creative arena.
Calling her a multi-faceted personality, actor Chiranjeevi said, "After Bhanumathi garu, Vijaya Nirmala garu is the only actor-director, who is known for her versatility. Nobody can replace her in these difficult times, but her work will continue to inspire us in the days to come."
Balakrishna stated that Vijaya Nirmala has been a source of inspiration and guidance to everyone. "She had been a symbol of women empowerment and always had her heart for the well-being of everyone," said Balakrishna. politician-actor Pawan Kalyan, director K Raghavendra Rao, veteran actors Kaikala Satyanarayana, Murali Mohan and playback singers SP Balasubrahmanyam and Rao Bala Saraswathi were among others who offered their tributes to the veteran actor.
Vijaya Nirmala's mortal remains were shifted to her residence in Nanakramguda and it would be moved to the Film Chamber tomorrow. Her last rites would be performed tomorrow at her farmhouse near Chilukur.