Telugu cinema's first Sita, Geetanjali passes away
Geetanjali's mortal remains will be kept for public viewing at Film Chamber and her funeral rites will be performed later today
Veteran Telugu actor Geetanjali died in Hyderabad early this morning. She complained of uneasiness at 11:45 pm on Wednesday and was rushed to a private hospital in Film Nagar where she suffered cardiac arrest.
Born on December 24, 1946, into a middle-class family in Kakinada, Geetanjali is survived by a daughter and a son. A trained Bharatanatyam dancer, Geetanjali spent her childhood in Kakinada and Pune, where she would actively perform in dance shows and later moved to Chennai when she was about 14.
She made her acting debut in a classical dancer's role in late director BA Subba Rao's Rani Ratnaprabha (1960) and soon drew the attention of its lead actor late NT Rama Rao (NTR). That same year, she made her first impact with her performance as Telugu cinema's first-ever Sita in Seetharama Kalyanam, which marked the directorial debut of NTR. Her acting prowess made many take notice and since then she appeared in several acclaimed hits like Dr Chakravarthy, Murali Krishna, Leta Manasulu, Bobbili Yuddham (1964), Devata (1965), Gudachari 116 (1966), Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna (1967), Sambarala Rambabu (1970) and Kalam Marindi (1972).
Geetanjali's original name was Mani. After acting in 75 films, she adopted the screen name Geetanjali during the filming of director Babubhai Mistri's Hindi film Parasmani (1963). In a career spanning over 50 years, Geetanjali performed in more than 300 films in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, and Hindi. She also played an important role in late actor Bhanumathi Ramakrishna's television serial Athamma Kathalu and produced a film titled Ramapuramlo Seetha (1981) starring Chandra Mohan.
Geetanjali married her Pelli Roju (1968) co-star and late actor Ramakrishna and went on a break from acting for over three decades. She made her comeback as Jagapathi Babu's grandmother in Pellaina Kothalo (2006) and played prominent roles in films like Mogudu (2011), Greeku Veerudu and Bhai (2013). Her last film That Is Mahalakshmi is due for release. She was also a member of the Nandi Award committee.
Her son Adith Srinivas also tested waters in the Telugu film industry as an actor with Bhuma (2008).
Several actors mourned Geetanjali's death and in his condolence message, Movie Artist Association (MAA) president VK Naresh fondly remembered her. "We have lost a family head. She shared a special bond with my mother, Vijaya Nirmala. She was an affable person and carved out a unique place for her across the film industries. Till her last days, she was happy and independent. Her death has created a void not only in the industry but also to MAA," said Naresh.
Geetanjali's mortal remains will be kept for public viewing at Film Chamber and her funeral rites will be performed later today.