Veteran actress ‘Alek’ Vijaya Nirmala passes away

Chennai: Veteran actress and director Vijaya Nirmala passed away while undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Hyderabad late last night.

She is survived by her husband and popular yesteryear Telugu hero Krishna and a son. She was 73.

Nirmala, who had acted in over 200 Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam films, was born in Tamilnadu. She started her career as child artiste at the age of seven with a Tamil movie Machcha Rekhai (1950).

She became popular in Tamil cinema with her roles in films including Panama Pasama, Uyira Manama, Nilagiri Express, En Annan, Gnana Oli and Chithi among others.

Vijaya Nirmala appeared in the evergreen song ‘Elandha Pazham…’ in Panama Pasama that became an instant hit. L R Eswari rendering the song in a husky voice and Vijaya Nirmala’s dance movements made sure it caught the admiration of youngsters then. Another song in the same movie, Kothavaranga Pola Udambu Alek, where she paired with comedian Nagesh, won  her the sobriquet ‘Alek’ Nirmala among her Tamil fans.

She acted as Sivaji Ganesan’s heroine in Gnana Oli and played MGR’s sister in En Annan.

She acted opposite Krishna in Telugu movie Sakshi in 1967. They paired up in over 40 films. They fell in love and got married. In Telugu, she acted in lead roles in films like Alluri Seetharama Raju, Meena, Poola Rangadu, Asadhyudu, Bangaru Gajulu, Mosagallaku Mosagadu and Thatha Manuvadu, etc.

Though she made a name for herself as a versatile actress, she ventured to produce and direct movies. In 2002, she entered the Guinness Book of Records as woman director of most number of films (44). In 2008, she received the Raghupathi Venkaiah Award for her contribution to Telugu cinema.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and film personalities have condoled her demise.

NT Bureau