Forgotten Indian actress from #Gwalior. Vanamala born Susheela Devi Pawar was an Indian actress, appearing in many films in Hindi and Marathi. She was brought up in the lap of #luxury in Gwalior, she was trained in horse-riding, #swimming, polo and fencing as a child. She completed her early education from #Sardar Daughter’s School and received her Bachelor’s degree from Gwalior. She is best known for the role of the mother in the Marathi movie Shyamchi Aai, which won the Golden Lotus Award (Swarna Kamal) for Best Film at the 1st National Film Awards in 1954.
Her dreamy eyes won her the role of the legendary Rukhsana in Minerva Movietone’s blockbuster ‘Sikandar’ in which she starred along with Sohrab Modi and Prithviraj Kapoor.
Some notable films that Vanmala acted in include Sikandar (1941) Sharbati Ankhen (1945), Payachi Dasi (Marathi) Charnon ki Dasi (1941), Vasantasena (1942), Raja Rani (1942), Dil ki Baat (1944)), Sharbati Aankhen (1945), Hatim Tai (1947), Beete Din (1947) and Shyamchi Aai (1953) (Marathi).
Vanmala was a staunch nationalist and was deeply involved in the #freedom movement along with stalwarts like Aruna Asaf Ali and Achyut Patwardhan. She was also involved in several social causes and was a member of the Chhatrapati #Shivaji National Memorial Committee, besides running a school to train children in traditional Indian arts and culture, The Haridas Kala Sansthan.
It is said her strict father, Bapurao Pawar, connected to the ruling #Scindia family of Gwalior, sought banning her films in Gwalior and legend has it that apart from cutting off all ties with her and banning her entry in Gwalior, he even fired a #gun at the screen when Vanmala made her first appearance on the silver screen!
She had been suffering from #cancer, passed away in Gwalior on May 29, 2007 at an age of 92.