I pray I am active till my last breath
You could never call her a neglected or forgotten actress
Many veteran filmmakers and actors -- Raj Kapoor, Sivaji Ganesan, Kamal Haasan, and more -- called upon Padmini, who made New Jersey her home for nearly three decades until her recent return to Chennai, whenever they were in New York. And often, particularly during the 1980s and 1990s, she would be asked by some of the best-known directors including Hrishikesh Mukherjee (who directed her opposite Raj Kapoor in Aashiq) if she could do a significant character role in their films.
"I don't feel a compelling urge to go back and resume my career," the actress had told me 25 years ago, weighing her career options following the death of her husband, physician KT Ramachandran. "I have done practically everything an actress wants to do, I have played all kinds of roles. I have even played a man!" She was referring to her role as a street performer in Mera Naam Joker, befriended by a down and out loser (Raj Kapoor) who realises, in a scene that shocked many, that his new friend is indeed a woman. "And I have also worked with some of the best actors and actresses, and for some of India's best-known directors," she continued. "I think I am doing something very interesting here," she said, looking at over a dozen children practicing their Bharata Natyam steps. "I just cannot leave them and go back to India." "When they are done, I am sure there are going to be more students,"