Vaijayantimala-the legendary dancer of bollywood.
Vaijayantimala can be considered as one of the greatest dancers of bollywood films who had glorified the films she has acted with her serene performance and notable creative art of choreography. Among all the South Indian actresses, she was probably the path-breakers who blended her acting capabilities with the mudras of Bharatnatyam and other forms of eastern classical dances and inspired the bollywood directors to make films based on those subjects.
She kept her mark in the film Nagin in 1955, opposite Pradeep Kumar, where her performance in the song “man dole” sung by Lata is worth mentioning. She played the role of Chandramukhi in Bimal Roy’s epic film Devdas opposite Dilip Kumar, in 1955. She tried to reform Devdas by preventing him from taking recourse to alcohol for forgetting Parbati whom he loved and was married to another person. The same role was played by another established dancer Madhuri Dixit when Sanjay Leela Banshali remade Devdas in recent years. Vaijayantimala received the film fare award for the best supporting actress in Devdas, and she refused it saying that her role was even more important than that of Parbati. In fact Parbati had led to the death of Devdas, on the other hand, Chandramukhi tried to give him a new life, although she could not succeed in her pursuit.
In Bimal Roy’s Madhumati, in 1958, Vaijayantimala exhibited her class of dancing opposite Dilip Kumar and showed her innocence in a role related to women of hilly region of India. Her performance in songs like “aaja re pardesi”, “dil tarap tarap ke keh raha hai a bhi ja”, composed by Salil Chowdhury had impressed the film lovers, and they lamented her death shown in the film. She also displayed her choreographic skills in the film Katputli, where songs like “bol re katputli” composed by Shankar Jaikishan became big hits.
In the early 60s she displayed the role of village girl in the film Ganga Jumna. She adapted herself to the bhojpuri accent used in the film. If the other films had marked her dancing capabilities Sangam marked her acting potentiality. She had an affair with Rajender Kumar, yet Raj Kapoor married her not knowing her liking, and at the frag end of the film, when Raj Kapoor wanted to sacrifice his love, she questioned his authority to take decision about her, because from the time she married him she fulfilled all the responsibilities of a hindu wife. Rajender Kumar sacrificed his life by killing himself. Vaijayantimala received the film fare award for the best actress for performing in the film Sangam.
At the same time she had acted in female oriented roles like Amrapali, where she depicted the role of a devdasi who performed her art in Indian temples.
Her films opposite Rajender Kumar including Zindagi, Aas ka Panchi, Ganwar, Suraj, Saathi, etc., were very successful. She played a very significant part in Vijay Anand’s crime thriller Jewel Thief in 1967. Her brother was kidnapped by the Jewel Thief played by Ashok Kumar and throughout the film she cultivated an image of a character Amar who never existed. Her lips in the song “rulake gaya sapna mera” is worth mentioning.
She also performed well in the film Choti Si Mulakat opposite Uttam Kumar which was based on child marriage. They were married together when they were infants but some of the family members did not accept the marriage. Later when they met each other not knowingly to be spouses, they entered into affair and the child marriage stood in their way. Them their identity was disclosed. Vaijayantimala almost acted with all the leading actors of the golden age of Indian cinema. He married Dr. Bali and left films in early 70s. Her success had paved way for other notable South Indian actresses like Hema Malini, Jaya Prada, etc., who made significant contribution to Indian films. Her films should be restored for cinematic, musical and choreographic landmarks they were created during that age.