Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Jayapradha's classic features, a flawless peach complexion and incredible nose coupled with a quiet aristocratic demeanor made her a favorite star of 1980s Indian Popular Cinema. Primarily a Telugu actress Jayapradha began acting at the age of 14 and was a star in that film industry before she tried the break into Bollywood. Jayapradha burst into Hindi films in the early 1980s about the same time as Sridevi, her 'South Films' compatriot. They actually co-stared together in a half dozen films where Jayapradha often played the older sister to the younger Sridevi.

Her breakthrough performance in Hindi Cinema came opposite Rishi Kapoor in "Sargam" [1979]. Jayapradha's portrayal of a mute who is in love with dancing (and Rishi Kapoor) connected with the public and was a big hit. The film is a classic of late 70s and early 80s Bollywood.

During the 80s Jayaprada had a successful film couple pairing with Jeetendra. They churned out a number of masala tear jerkers that portrayed her in film after film as the tough, dutiful and all-enduring wife. These films endeared Jayapradha to the traditional conservative section of filmgoers. It was an image that would serve her well when she started a new career as a politician.

Jayapradha began her political career as a celebrity campaigner for the Telugu Desam Party. She was drawn to the political arena because of her interest in the rights of rural woman and that cause has been the focal point of her agenda. Jayapradha eventually held a seat as a Member of Parliament, a post that she is now retired from. Still outspoken Jayapradha currently runs a charity involved in setting up computer centers to educate girls in the Andhra Pradesh. By her own accounts over 180 such centers have been set up so far.

The acting bug is still with Jayapradha and she is still active in Telugu Cinema. Currenty she is planning a Telugu verison of the Bollywood film "Satta" that is a film about a woman who is compelled to enter politics. It would be a role almost hand written for the actress. Whether this star of the South film industry who has made over 250 films in 6 languages will make another Hindi Bollywood film is yet to be seen, but whatever you do, don't count Jayapradha out.


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