Vijaya Nirmala, who passed away following a heart attack on Thursday morning, starred in over 200 films in Telugu, Malayalam and Tamil in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. She got registered her name in the Guinness Book of Records for the highest number of films as a female director.
Vijaya Nirmala was born in Tamil Nadu and her father worked in film production, which paved a way for her to enter the film industry at the tender age of seven. She began her career as a child artist with Tamil movie Machcha Rekhai (1950). Later, she played supporting roles in late NT Rama Rao's Telugu movies like Panduranga Mahatyam (1957) and Bhookailas (1958).
In 1964, Vijaya Nirmala turned heroine with Prem Nazir's hit Malayalam film Bhargavi Nilayam, which catapulted her to stardom. Following this success, she was flooded with several offers from the Telugu and Tamil industries. She made her debut in Tollywood with Manchi Kutumbam and in Kollywood with Enga Veetu Penn in 1965. Later, she starred in more than 200 films in these three languages.
In 1971, Vijaya Nirmala made her debut as a director with Telugu movie Meena, which was based on Yaddanapudi Sulochana Rani's novel of the same name. Later, she directed 44 films in Telugu. After actress Savitri, she was the only woman who directed legendary actor Sivaji Ganesan.
It has been more than two decades since Vijaya Nirmala stopped directing movies. Even today, we groan about the lack of female directors in India. We have very few such people and their film count is minimal.
Vijaya Nirmala also launched her own banner called Vijaya Krishna Movies and produced 15 films. She made her debut on the small screen with Balaji Telefilms' Pelli Kanuka. She was honoured with the Raghupathi Venkaiah Award for her amazing contribution to the Telugu cinema in 2008.
Vijaya Nirmala was initially married to Krishna Murthy and has a son named Naresh. Before divorcing her first husband, she met superstar Krishna on the sets of Saakshi in 1967 and they starred together in 47 films. Their relationship became fodder for the rumour mills as they were still married to their respective spouses with children.
After marrying superstar Krishna, Vijaya Nirmala settled down in Hyderabad. She managed Padmalaya Studios and Padmalaya Telefilms Ltd, which the superstar launched with his brothers in 1983. She never had children with Krishna.
Vijaya Nirmala was rushed to Continental hospital at Gachibowli in Hyderabad after she suffered a heart attack on Wednesday. She breathed her last late on June 26. Her son Naresh broke the news about her sudden death on Twitter on Thursday morning.
Actor Dr VK Naresh tweeted, "I regret to inform you that my Mother senior Artiste, prominent Producer & Director, Dr. G Vijayanirmala Garu passed away during early hours today, that is, 27.6.2019, at Continental Hospitals, Hyderabad, due to sickness. She was 75."
Dr Naresh also informed that her mortal remains will be kept at her residence for public darshan and her funeral will be held on Friday. He tweeted, "Her body will be kept at our residence (Nanakramguda) today from 11am Her final rites will be held tomorrow, that is, 28.6.2019. Further information will be updated."