Full Biography of Actress Padmini
Padmini (12 June 1932 – 24 September 2006) was an Indian actress and trained Bharathanatyam dancer who acted in over 250 Indian films. She acted in the Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi language films. Padmini, with her elder sister Lalitha and her younger sister Ragini, were called the \"Travancore sisters\".
Padmini was born and raised in Thiruvananthapuram in what was then the princely state of Travancore (now the Indian state of Kerala). She was the second daughter of SreeThankappan Pillai and Saraswathi Amma both comes from noble Nair families. Her sisters, Lalitha and Ragini, were also well known film actresses. Together, the three were known as the Travancore sisters.
Padmini and her sisters learnt bharathanatyam from Vazhuvoor B. Ramaiah Pillai. The trio were the disciples of Indian dancer Guru Gopinath. They learnt Kathakali and Kerala Natanam styles of dancing from him. N.S. Krishnan noticed her talents while she was presenting Parijatha Pushpapaharanam in Thiruvananthapuram. After that performance, he said that in the future she will become an actress. She was thus cast as heroine in his own production Manamagal.
The Travancore Sisters grew up in a joint family tharavadu \'Malaya Cottage\' in Poojappura, Trivandrum. The matriarchial head of the family was Karthiyayini Amma whose husband was PK Pillai (Palakunnathu Krishna Pillai of Cherthala) alias \'Penang Padmanabha Pillai\'. PK Pillai had six sons of whom Satyapalan Nair (Baby) was a leading producer of many early Malayalam films. Another son, Raveendran Nair\'s daughter Latika Suresh, is a leading producer of Malayalam TV programs. They performed at the 1955 Filmfare Awards.
At the age of 14, Padmini was cast as the dancer in the Hindi film Kalpana (1948), launching her career. She acted in films for nearly 30 years.
Padmini starred with several of the most well-known actors in Indian film, including Sivaji Ganesan, M. G. Ramachandran, N. T. Rama Rao, Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Prem Nazir, Rajkumar, Gemini Ganesan and S. S. Rajendran. She appeared with Sivaji Ganesan in 59 films.
She acted mostly in Tamil films. Ezhai Padum Padu released in 1950 was her first film in Tamil. Her association with Sivaji Ganesan started with Panam in 1952.
Some of her noted Tamil films include Thanga Padhumai, Anbu, kattu roja, Thillana Mohanambal, Vietnam Veedu, Edhir Paradhathu, Mangayar Thilakam and Poove Poochudava. Some of her popular Malayalam films include Prasanna, Snehaseema, Vivaahitha, Adhyaapika, Kumara Sambhavam, Nokkethadhoorathu Kannum Nattu, Vasthuhara and Dolar.
In two of her popular Bollywood films — Mera Naam Joker and Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai — she was paired with Raj Kapoor. She did another film with Raj Kapoor AashiQ (1962). Her other Bollywood films include Payal (1957), Afsana (1966), Vaasna (1968), Chanda Aur Bijli (1969) and Babubhai Mistry\'s Mahabharat.
Her most famous was Thillana Mohanambal, a Tamil film, where she plays a dancer competing against a musician to see whose skills are better. She also acted in a Indian-Soviet film Journey Beyond Three Seas (Hindi version: Pardesi) based on the travelogues of Russian traveler Afanasy Nikitin (called A Journey Beyond the Three Seas, which is now considered a Russian literary monument), in which she plays the role of Lakshmi, a royal dancer.
After her marriage to Ramachandran, a U.S.-based physician in 1961, she retired temporarily from films and focused on family life and refining her classical dance.
She settled in the United States and in 1977 opened her classical dance school in New Jersey, the Padmini School of Fine Arts. Today, her school is considered as one of the largest Indian classical dance institutions in America.
Actress Sukumari is the trio\'s maternal first cousin. Shobana, the famous dancer, is the niece of Padmini. Actors Vineeth and Krishna are relatives.Padmini died of a heart attack at the Chennai Apollo Hospital on 24 September 2006. She is survived by a son, who is settled in the United States.
Padmini was well known for her professional rivalry with actress Vyjayanthimala, the successful dancer-actress. They performed a dance number in the Tamil film Vanjikottai Valiban; the well known song was \"Kannum Kannum Kalanthu\" which was sung by P. Leela and Jikki. In the song they were pitted against each other. Due to their professional rivalry the song has a cult following since the film was released; the popularity of the song surpasses the popularity of the film.
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