Veteran actress Shashikala Om Prakash Saigal (née Jawalkar) passed away at her residence on Sunday. Better known by her first name Shashikala, the actress was 88 years old. However, the reason for her demise is unknown. The family is yet to release an official statement.
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 the 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. 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.
Based on a Bengali short story of the same name by Subodh Ghosh, “Sujata” saw Shashikala play the real daughter of the Brahmin family that adopts Nutan’s protagonist, an orphan from a low caste.
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 1980’s “Khubsoorat”, fronted by Rekha, Sunny Deol-led “Arjun” (1985), “Khamosh Nigahen” (1986), “Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani” (1988), “Sach” (1989), Govinda’s “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.
Shashikala switched to television in the 2000s and went on to play pivotal parts in serials “Apnaapan”, “Dil Deke Dekho” and “Son Pari”. She received Padma Shri, the country’s fourth-highest civilian award, in 2007 for her contribution to the Indian cinema.
In her early 20s, she married Om Prakash Saigal, who belonged to the KL Saigal family, and had two daughters, one of whom later passed away due to cancer.