Actress Jamuna, who acted in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi films in lead roles for over three decades, passed away on Friday in Hyderabad at age 86, leaving behind an incredible legacy. Jamuna shined her best in the 1950s and ’60s.
Her song Amuthai Pozhiyum Nilave from the Tamil movie Thangamalai Ragasiyam (1957) is still vivid in memory, Vamanan, a film historian, told The Federal.
“She was a versatile actor who was able to adapt with senior actors as well as upcoming young actors. Her body language and expression were befitting be it with Sivaji Ganesan or rising young stars like Jaishankar,” he said.
Jamuna acted in 198 films across various film industries.
The Telugu film industry went into mourning as her death became known. Even though Jamuna acted in lead roles and hogged the limelight in Tamil movies in the mid-50s and 60s, she was overshadowed by legendary actors like Savitri and Devika, said Vamanan. “But no one can take away her contributions to the Tamil film industry too,” he said.
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Top Telugu celebrities including Jr NTR mourned her passing away.
Jr NTR termed her the “Maharani of Telugu film industry, an influence spanning three decades.” Telugu actor Mahesh Babu said he was saddened to hear about the demise of “Jamuna garu” (respected one).
“I will fondly remember her for all her iconic roles and her immense contribution to the industry,” he shared on Twitter.
Actor Chiranjeevi said the actress had left an indelible mark in the hearts of Telugu people.
“Though her mother tongue is Kannada, she is a multi-lingual actress known for many successful films,” he said.
In Telugu too, Jamuna acted in lead roles with top stars like NTR and Nageswara Rao.
She also acted in scores of Hindi movies. The Hindi film Milan (1967) won her the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress award.
Jamuna was born on August 30, 1936 in Hampi, in the erstwhile kingdom of Mysore. She is a recipient of Padma Bhushan (2010), the third highest civilian award.
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The Telugu film industry honoured her with the NTR National Award in 2008.
Jamuna will be remembered for the way she gelled with lead actors of various age groups, said Vamanan.
“After acting for 10-15 years, actors face a problem. How to adapt your body language and movement with young stars? Jamuna stood apart (in this).”