Veteran actor Shashikala dies at 88

Veteran actor Shashikala, best known for her supporting roles in 1960s-70s films like Aarti, Gumrah and Chhote Sarkar, passed away on Sunday at the age of 88.

BN Tiwari, president of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE), confirmed the news of her death.

“Shashikalaji has passed away. She was 88. We don’t know the exact details of her demise,” Tiwari said.

When contacted, filmmaker and president of the Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association (IFTDA), Ashoke Pandit said, “Shashikalaji has passed away.”

Born in Solapur, Maharashtra, Shashikala Jawalkar started acting on stage at the age of five in her hometown. After her father went bankrupt, she moved to Bombay (now Mumbai) with her family and started to look for work in movies.

She made her first big screen appearance in the 1945 movie Zeenat, directed by legendary actor Noor Jehan’s husband Syed Shaukat Hussain Rizvi.

Better known by her first name, Shashikala starred in over a hundred films in her career spanning around six decades.

She went on to play small parts in various films for almost a decade and then got an opportunity to feature in V Shantaram’s Teen Batti Char Raasta (1953) and Daku, the 1955 film starring Shammi Kapoor.

Her career breakthrough came in 1959 when she appeared in Bimal Roy’s Sujata, one of the early movies in Hindi cinema to explore the issue of casteism. Shashikala then appeared in Tarachand Barjatya’s Aarti (1962), starring Meena Kumari, Ashok Kumar, and Pradeep Kumar in the lead. The film proved to be a stepping stone for Shashikala as she went on to become one of the go-to actors for filmmakers to portray negative parts.

She then appeared in supporting roles in classics like Gumrah (1963), Waqt (1965), Anupama (1966) and Phool Aur Patthar (1966) and returned to playing a vamp in the Shammi Kapoor-Sadhana-starrer Chhote Sarkar (1974).

Later in her career, she switched to character roles appearing in 1980s Khubsoorat, fronted by Rekha, Sunny Deol-led Arjun (1985), Khamosh Nigahen (1986), Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani (1988), Sach (1989), Pardesi Babu (1998), Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Baadshah (1999), Karan Johar’s directorial Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, musical hit Jhankaar Beats (2003) and Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004) and Padmashree Laloo Prasad Yadav in 2005.

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