A Miniature Sheet consisting of 6 nos of commemorative postage stamps on Legendary Heroines of India :
Issued on Feb 13, 2011
Issued to Commemorate the Legendary Heroines of India – Devika Rani, Kanan Devi, Meena Kumari, Nutan, Savithri & Leela Naidu
Picture : The portraits of six actresses along with pictures of some of their Film Characters
Designed by : Sankha Samanta (Stamps)
Type : Miniature Sheet, Mint Condition
Watermark : No
Colour : Multicoloured
Denomination : 500p, 500p, 500p, 500p, 500p & 500p
Printing Process : Wet Offset
Printers : India Security Press, Nasik
About Devika Rani :
- Devika Rani was the star and late manager of Bombay Talkies, from where she dominated the first decade of the Indian sound film and set the standard for the post-1950 Hindi film heroine. Daughter of Col. Choudhury, surgeon-general of Madras, and grandniece of Tagore, she studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and at the Royal Academy of Music (London) and also held a degree in architecture and was a successful designer of Paisley textiles. She married Himansu Rai in 1929. Her first film produced by Rai and directed by Osten, was as costume designer (and probably as an extra) for “Prapancha Pash” (1929). In Germany, where the film was edited. Rani was able to see Fritz lang, G.W. Pabst and Sternberg at work and assisted Marlene Dietrich on the set of ‘Derblaue Engel’ (1930). She also worked briefly with Max Reinhardt. One of the early BBC broadcasts to India featured a Devika Rani recital (15 May 1933). When European Co-Production, especially with Germany, became difficult after 1933, the couple returned to India. She starred in Rai’s first sound film, ‘Karma‘, made in English and sold as ‘the first Indian talkie with English dialogue‘. The couple started Bombay Talkies in 1934 In ‘Achhut Kanya’, her arched eyebrows, beads and the vaguely Rajasthani-style, knee-length dress defined the ‘village belle’
for the Hindi cinema.
- She and Ashok kumar remained the studio’s stars until Rai died (1940) and she took over its management until she retired in 1945. She later married the Russian emigre painter Svetoslav Roerich.
About Kanan Devi :
- Kanan Devi, actress and singer, started with the name Kananbala. Debuting as child actress in Joydev, she worked under contract with Radha Films where she acted in Jyotish Bannerjee Films. P.C. Barua was unable to obtain herforthe role of Paro in ‘Devdas’ (1935) but she played the lead in his next film, Mukti, which made her a star and launched her long association with New Theatres. The success of ‘Bidyapati, and her duets with K.C.Dey, made her the top star of this studio 1937-40. An untrained singer when she entered films, she later studied briefly with Ustad Allah Rakha at Lucknow. She was employed as singer at Megaphone Gramophone and received further training from Bhishmaadev Chatterjee, who was possibly responsible for her distinctive Bengali style. She later learnt Rabindra Sangeet with Anadi Dastidar. She considered Rai Chand Boral to be her real teacher. One of the few New Theatres lead players not to have a stage background, her impact on Bengali film paralleled Shanta Apte’s on Marathi cinema. Her singing style, usually in rapid tempo, is still identified with some of the biggest studio era hits (esp. Bidyapati, Street Singer, Sapurey). She resigned from New Theatres, (1941) and freelanced in Bengali and Hindi films. She turned producer with shrimati Pics (1949) and later launched the Sabhyasachi collective with the film ‘Ananya’. She wrote an autobiography Sabare Ami Nomi (1973).
About Meena Kumari :
- Meena Kumari was born in Bombay, one of the daughters of the Parsee theatre actor, singer and music teacher Ali Bux and dancer lqbal Begum. Having hit upon hard times and living near the Rooptara Studios, Ali Bux sought to get his three daughters into films. The middle daughter, Mahajabeen, was hired aged 6, renamed Baby Meena and cast by Vijay Bhatt in ‘Leatherface’. Later, for Bhatt’s big musical ‘Baiju Bawra’ she was named Meena Kumari. She acted in mythologicals by Homi Wadia and Nanabhai Bhatt. Best known in the 50s for comedies (Miss Mary) and socials (Parineeta), she gave a stellar performance in ‘Do Bigha Zameen’. Her main persona was constructed through movies like Kamal Amrohi’s ‘Daera’, Bimal Roy’s ‘Yahudi’ and Guru Dutt’s ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam’, culminating in her most famous film, ‘Pakeezah’. She married Amrohi, who directed some of her best work. The couple eventually completed the film they had jointly conceived, ‘Pakeezah’, in 1971 just before her death. She wrote Urdu poetry using the pen-name Naaz, a collection of which, Tanha Chand (The Solitary Moon), compiled by Gulzar, was published after her death and some of it was sung by her.
About Nutan :
- Nutan, top Hindi 60s star was introduced to films by her mother, Shobhana Samarth, in Hamari Beti. Her screen image was moulded by Bimal Roy (Sujata, Bandini) and by those who continued in the Roy tradition: Hrishikesh Mukherjee (Anari), Bimal Dutt (Kasturi) and Sudhendu Roy (Saudagar). She was known for an equal flair at performing in both serious and light hearted cinema, shifting with ease from Saraswati Chandra to ‘Tere Ghar Ke Samne’, from roles with Kishore Kumar and Dev Anand to Ashok Kumar and Balraj Sahni. She performed romantic roles with a forthy uninhibitedness such as the Filmistan musical ‘Paying Guest’ and could enact character roles of her later years with equal dignity. She brought a stunning authenticity to her roles in films such as ‘Sujata’, ‘Seema’ and ‘Bandini’.
About Savithri :
- Savithri Telugu-Tamil actress and director, was born in Chirravuru, Guntur District, AP into a wealthy family. She learnt music and dance under Sista Purnayya Sastry and gave some public performances as a child in Vijaywada. After working in a theatre company run by NTR, K. Jaggaiah etc., she started her own group, the Navabharata Natya Mandali. She acted in a play ‘Atma Vanchana’ by Buchi Babu. After her debut with L.V. Prasad’s ‘Samsaram’, she followed with.K.V. Reddy’s Patala Bhairavi, and minor film roles until ‘Pelli Chesi Choodu’ made her a star, and ‘Ardhangi’ and ‘Missamma’ established her acting credentials. She acted in several films by the choreographer-director Raghavaiah.
- She often starred with Gemini Ganesan and later married him. As director and producer (1968-71) she did not achieve much commercial success but is remembered for her roles in mythological and family dramas.
About Leela Naidu :
- Leela Naidu was an actress who starred in a small number of Hindi and English films, including ‘The Householder’, Merchant Ivory Productions’ first film. Selected Femina Miss India in 1954, she was featured in the Vogue along with Maharani Gayatri Devi in the list of ‘world’s Ten Most Beautiful Women’ and is remembered for her classical beauty and subtle acting style. Leela Naidu was born in Mumbai to Dr. Pattipati Ramaiah Naidu a well known nuclear physicist from Andhra Pradesh, and Dr. Marthe Naidu, an Indologist of Swiss-French origin. Naidu made her film debut alongside Balraj Sahni in ‘Anuradha’ in 1960. (directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee) a film that went on to win the National Award for Best Film, and garnered Naidu critical acclaim. She played an offbeat role as an adulterous wife in ‘Yeh Raaste Hain Pyar Ke’ (1963), directed by R.K. Nayyar.
- Naidu made a guest appearance in the Merchant-Ivory film, ‘The Guru’ (1969). She returned to cinema in 1985 to play a Goan matriarch in Shyam Benegal’s period film, ‘Trikaal’ and made a last appearance in ‘Electric Moon’ (1992), directed by Pradip Krishen. Leela Naidu died in Mumbai on 28 July 2009.