Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Lalitha,Padmini and Ragini

Lalitha,Padmini and Ragini were three beautiful children of Thankappan Pillai and Saraswathi Amma of Poojappura in Trivandrum city.Padmini was born on June 12th in the year 1932..The children were trained in Indian Style of classical dance from childhood and they were extremely talented in that artform.Bharatnatyam,Mohiniyattam,Kuchippudi etc was taught to them by Guru Ramaiyyah Pillai and " Kerala Nadanam Dance' by Guru Gopinath.The three sisters conducted stage shows together and became very popular soon and earned the title 'Travancore Sisters'.  (At that time Kerala state was not formed yet.).After seeing Padmini's charismatic dance performance on stage, famous dancer Uday Shankar made her heroine of the Hindi film 'Kalpana' in the year 1948.The film Kalpana garnered her much praise and appreciation.
.Her entry in to Tamil movies was in the year 1950 with the film 'Manamagal' of Sri. N.S.Krishnan and very soon she started acting in  Telugu Kannada and Malayalam films also.
Lalitha had also acted in some films and was presenting stage shows as well but got married in the year 1957  quiting films and stage programs.The three sisters had acted together in films like 'Thooku Thookki'. Padmini and Ragini were brilliantly triumphant with their acting career and dance.They formed a dance troupe by the name 'Dancers of India'.Ambika the heroine of Malayalam movies at that time  and supporting actress 'Padmasree Sukumari 'who is still  active in Tamil and Malayalam movies were members of Padmini's dance troupe.Padmini and Sukumari are their relatives.Since dancing was a passion to the sisters they found time to present dance performances on stage while busy in acting also.
Padmini got best classical dance award from Moscow Youth festival in 1957.The classical dance form
Bharatanatyam is originated from Tamil Nadu,Mohiniyattam from Kerala and Kuchippudi is the dance form of Andhra Pradesh.Only talented people can get trained in these art forms and it needs years of training and practice.Vibrant expressions,Swift movements,flexible body postures,precise gestures to the tune of appealing melodious music was accepted widely and the audience was thrilled to watch their dances.
The sisters helped a lot to popularize the classical dance varieties through out India and abroad.Since the audience liked their performance dance sequence was included in all of their films.They greatly helped to shape the Indian Cinema as we see today with contemporary dance sequences,melodious songs etc which seduced the masses.Talented actresses Vaijayanthimala,Hemamalini,Sreedevi etc helped a lot to keep on that track.
In all languages both Ragini and Padmini used to give their own voice to their characters.Dubbing in own voice is necessary to gain self identity.Even though their voice was husky they were intellectual to build their own identity.More over they were very keen to act only one film at a time for creating perfection.Padmini had the habit of reading screen play before accepting the role.
Since the sisters were fantastic dancers they could show all the expressions well on their face.The charming appearance of the sisters and their superb dances seduced the masses.Padmini was lucky enough to act in more than 400 movies in Malayalam,Tamil Telugu,Kannada  and Hindi.Ragini had also acted in Malayalam,Tamil and Hindi films but the number of films were less.
In Tamil with Sivaji Ganesan Padmini had acted in more than 60 films.'Panam' which was released in 1952 was the first movie of Padmini with Sivaji Ganesan.At that time Sivaji-Padmini,Gemini Ganesan-Savitri,MGR-Saroja pairs were accepted widely.In famous films Mannadhi Mannan,Madurai Veeran and Rani Samyuktha,  Padmini paired with MGR.'Valli was the first colour film of Padmini in Tamil.Padmini and Ragini were friends with Raj Kapoor and Nargis from the year 1952 itself.Raj Kapoor film 'Jis Desh Mem Ganga Behti Hai' earned much fame and reputation to Padmini.That film was a big success.In Mera Nam Joker also Padmini made her presence remarkable.Padmini got much accolades for the film 'Chanda aur Bijali ' also.
Padmini had acted with Prem Nazir,Sivaji Ganesan,MGR,NTR,Raj Kapoor, Raj Kumar,Gemini Ganesan etc.
Some Malayalam films of Padmini are Prasanna,Snehaseema,Adhyapika, Kumara Sambhavam,Nokketha Doorathu Kannum Nattu etc.
Ragini's famous Malayalam films include Unniyarcha,Bharya,Manavatty,Thurakkatha vathil,Ara nazhika neram and Panchavan Kadu,
Bharya was a block buster film produced and directed by Studio owner Kunchacko.The character of that film earned much love and sympathy from the audience.Sathyan and Ragini were excellent in that movie.
In Ara Nazhika neram, which was a film made from a novel written by 'Parappurathu' actor 'Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair' excelled as 'Kunjenachan' and Ragini was fabulous in her role.
Tamil film 'Thillana Mohanambal' was a challenge for Padmini.The story was about a competition between a dancer and musician.She performed stunning dance performances to the tune of 'Nadaswaram' in that film which created loud applause from the audience.
Padmini received 'Kalaimamani' award from Tamil Nadu in 1958.Film fare award for best supporting actress was given to Padmini for film 'Kajal'.Best actress award was given to her by film fare in 1985 for Tamil movie 'Poove Poo Chooda Vaa'
Famous South Indian actress and dancer Shobhana,South Indian actor- dancer Vineeth and actor Krishna
are their relatives.
Padmini got married to Dr.Ramachandran and settled in America.She had her dance school at New Jersey.
Ragini had some health problems later and died earlier.Padmini died at Appollo Hospital Chennai due to heart attack on 24th September 2006.
They will be remembered always by film goers and classical dance lovers.
Some films of Ragini
Thookku Thookki(T)                                                          
Payal (H)                                                                            
Sitamger (H)                                                                      
Amar deep(H)                                                                  
Veera Pandya Katta Bomman (T)                                          
Unniyarcha (M)                                                                    
Bharya (M)                                                                        
Naag Rani (H)                                                                      
Manavaatty (M)                                                                    
Othenante Makan (M)                                                        
Ara Nazhika Neram (M)                                                      
Lanka Dahanam (M)                                                          
Jai Jagat Janani (H)
Mr X (H)
Mujrim (H)
Nayaru Pidicha Pulival (M)
Amar Shaheed(H)
Ayi phir se Bahar(H)
Puthiya Akasam Puthiya Bhoomi(M)
Gehra Daag(H)
Aadhi raat ke Baad(H)
Thurakkatha Vathil (M)
Panchavan Cadu (M)
Ernakulam Junction(M)
Some Hindi Films of Padmini
Mera Naam Joker                                                                
Hum Hai lajawab                                                                  
Jis Desh Mem Ganga Behti Hai                                            
Dana Paani                                                                            
Bhai Bahan                                                                            
Amar Deep                                                                        
Pyar Kiya hai pyar karenge
Hum Intezar Karenge
Bolo Ram
Yeh ishq nahi Aasan
Rahi badal gayi
Ladke Bap se Badhke
Chanda aur Bijali
Dard ke Ristha

Some of Padmini's Tamil Films
Thooku Thookki                                                                    
Uthama Puthiran                                                                    
Thaye unakkaka                                                                    
Kulama Gunama                                                                  
Iru Dhruvam                                                                    
Raja Rani                                                                              
Veera Pandya Katta Bomman                                                
Nan Vanagum Deivam                                                          
Iru Malargal                                                                          
Uzhakkum Karngal                                                                
Amar Deepam
Thillana Mohanambal
Poove poo chooda vaa
Deiva piravi
Mangayar Thilakam
Madurai Veeran
Mannadhi Mannan
Saraswathi sapatham
Vasantha sena
Enkalukkum kalam varum
Vietnam Veedu
Some Malayalam Films of Padmini
Ponnu Vilayum Bhoomi                                                          
Kumara Sambhavam                                                              
Vaasthu Haara                                                                      
Ezham Kadalinakkare
Nokketha Doorathu Kannum Nattu



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