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Saroja Devi Biography

Saroja Devi was born on 7th January 1942 in Bangalore, Karnataka. She is the youngest of the four children. Her father Bhairappa was a Police Officer. Her mother Rudramma was a house wife. She had her schooling in St. Theresa School, Chamarajpet. Saroja Devi was first spotted by Honnappa Bhagavathar while she was singing at the school function at the age of 13. Initially, she refused his offer to act in movies. But her mother convinced her to act in that particular film and she debuted with the Kannada film Mahaakavi Kaalidasa in 1955-56, which went on to win the National Award. She wept at the thought of being separated from her school and her dreams to become a teacher. She kept thinking that she would again join school after her first film but film offers came pouring in. She made her Tamil debut film Thedi Vantha Selvam through director Neelakandar. Her second Kannada film Kacha Devayani was shot at Madras Studios, Chennai.

During the shooting she was spotted by late actor M.G.R. to do one of the lead roles in the legendary film Nadodi Mannan along with actresses Banumathy and M.N.Rajam. She made her colorful enrty though the popular dance number \"Manai Thedi Machan Vara Poran…\". She married Sri Harsha an engineer in 1967. They have three children, daughters Bhuveneshwary, Indira and son Gautam. Her husband died in 1986. One of her daughters Bhuveneshwary, a victim of migraine, died in 1997. 

She paired with actor M.G.R. in 30 films. They both were the best on screen pair. She gave romantic performance in the mega hit film Anbe Vaa. She exhibited two equal emotions of both as a CID officer and a romantic lover in the box office hit film Puthiya Paravai with actor Shivaji Ganesan.
She acted with actor Gemini Ganesan in the film Kalyana Parisu. With it becoming a big hit, she shot to popularity and began to work four shifts everyday. Her performance as a Tuberculosis patient in the legendary film Paalum Pazhamum with actor Shivaji Ganesan won her many accolades. She has performed a range of amazing roles from an alluring lover, an authentic wife, an affectionate mother, a brave soldier and to a sick patient. She is known for her Demure, sweet way of talking, Expressive big eyes, Gorgeous looks, and Brilliant histrionics. She paired with Gemini Ganesan in film Naan Anayittaal which was her 100th film. She continued to give a string of successful super hit films like Panama Paasama, Kulavilakku, Padakotti, Parambhariyam, Vaazha Vaitha Deivam, Parthiban Kanavu, Aadi Perukku, Bagapirivinai, Deivathai, Paarthal Pasi Theerum, Aalayamani, etc. She went on to become the highest paid actor (Tamil film industry used to pay her four and a half lakhs).
Sarojadevi as the dancer in the Kannada’s first color film Amarashilpi Jakkanachari, who inspires the sculptor Jakkana, in fact had surpassed the screen presence of hero Kalyan Kumar. The Abhinaya Saraswathi title was conferred on her by the ex-Chief Minister of Karnataka, S.Nijalingappa, for her dazzling dance performance in the Kannada historical Amara Silpi Jakkanna. The film was shot at real locales at Hampi. She did the same film in Telugu opposite Akkineni Nageswara Rao. As if to justify the honor bestowed on her, she underwent rigorous dance training subsequently under the master Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai. 
In the Kannada film Bhagyavantharu, she and Rajkumar are disillusioned parents and both of them die together. Her acting of a cancer patient, who is helpless at the hands of death, was well appreciated by the audience. Her performance as the brave Rani Chennamma of Kittooru who had fought the British, in the Kannada film Kittooru Chennama came out with her over all emotions. She continued with her excellent performance in films like School Master, Anna Thangi, Beretha Jeeva, Mallammana Pavada, etc.
After popular Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan praised her performance in the Kannada film School Master, she was inundated with Hindi film offers. She was cast as actress Vyjyanthimala’s sister in the Hindi film Paigham with actor Dilip Kumar in 1959. She went on to do several hit Hindi films like Dooj Ka Chand, Dilwar, Beti Bete, Pyar Kiya To Darna Kiya, Hong Kong Pareeksha, Opera House, Haridarshan, and so on. Her incredible performance in the Hindi film Sasuraal won the hearts of the audience. Saroja Devi’s dedicated attitude in learning other languages and dubbing in her own voice with a flawless diction lent authenticity to her acting talent.
She gave her entry in the Telugu film Industry through the film Panduranga Mahatyam with N.T.Ramarao. She paired with him in super hit films like Seetha Rama Kalyanam, Danasoora Karna and so on. She was rated as one of the top Tollywood heroines through mega hit films like Sri Krishnarjuna, Yudham, Pandanti Kapuram, etc. She paired with Akkineni Nageshwaro Rao in film like Bhukailasa, Pelli Sandadi , Pelli Kanuka, etc. Saroja Devi, who came to be popularly known as the \"Chaturbhasha Taaare\" (the film star of four languages), was the first choice as a heroine opposite stalwarts like Raj Kumar, M.G.R. and N.T.R. from Kannada, Tamil, and Telugu film industries. 
In her later career, she switched on to do lead character roles. She gave notable performances in films like Ellaimaan, Nammina Thayi Annamma, Ugra Nagu, Ladies Hostel, Thaimel Aanai, Guru, Bhale Chatura, Thai Thande, Dhana Veera Soora, Dharma Devan, Ponmana Selvan, Oray Thai Oray Kulam, etc. After a long interval she again paired with Shivaji Ganesan in the Tamil film Once More through director S.A.Chandrasekar. Even in her old figure she mesmerizes the audience with her versatile performances. She is affectionately called as Kannadathu Paingili. Over than a half a century in the film Industry, she has acted in more than 200 films.
Saroja Devi known for her philanthropic gestures has donated a computer science hall in Poorna Prajna School, Bangalore and also got a class room constructed and donated for the handicapped children at Cluny Convent, Malleshwaram, in the memory of her late husband Sri Harsha. She organized many donation camps in the name of her late husband Sri Harsha, daughter Bhuvaneshwari and her mother. Charitable Trusts, rehabilitation centers and health programs organized by her stand evidence to her immense concern towards the society. 
She was the first woman Chairperson of the feature film Jury for the 45th National Film Festival in 1997. She was also in the committee of the National Film Development Corporation. She is the Chairperson of the Kannada Film Development Corporation and also the Chairperson of Kantheerava Studios, Bangalore. She has been the head of National Award jury twice. 
She has received honorary doctorate from Bangalore University and M.G.R. University.
She adores memorable awards like:
• Padma Shri -1969.
• Padma Bhushan – 1992.
• Rajyoth Sav Award - Karnataka Government 1989.

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