Film star known for goddess role

Indian actress Anita Guha, who starred as a goddess in Hindu mythological pics such as “Jai Santoshi maa” died June 20 of heart failure. The actress, whose exact age is unknown but was reportedly in her 70s, had been ailing for some time.

Guha came at age 15 to Bombay (as Mumbai was known in the 1950s) to take part in a beauty contest.

Her first film was 1955’s “Tangewali” after which she had character roles in several other movies including 1957 hit “Sharada.” It was not until 1961’s “Sampoorna Ramayana”that she hit her stride portraying the Hindu goddess Sita. After that she toplined several period dramas as Hindu goddesses including two as Sita in “Shree Ram Bharat milap” (1965), “Tulsi vivah” (1971); as well as “Dekh Kabira roya” (1957), “Kavi Kalidas (1959) “Jai Dwarkadesh” (1977) and “Krishna Krishna” (1986).

But it was her role in 1975’s “Jai Santoshi maa,” (Praise to Mother Santoshi) that brought her the most fame. The low-budget pic was a surprise hit, giving Bollywood smash “Sholay” a run for its money at the box office and running full houses for months around the country.

Guha also starred in other period pics such as “Sangeet samrat Tansen” (1962), “Kan kan mein bhagwan” (1963), “Veer Bhimsen” (1964).

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