Meenakshi Sheshadri is a renowned Indian actress and a distinguished classical dancer. Born as Shashikala Sheshadri on November 16, 1963 in Sindri, Jharkhand, she adopted the screen name Meenakshi when she appeared in Subhash Ghai’s blockbuster film ‘Hero’ opposite Jackie Shroff.
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Meenakshi’s both parents were originally from Tamil Nadu, however since her father worked at the Sindri Fertiliser plant, she was brought up in Jharkhand and Delhi. Meenakshi attended the Mount Carmel in New Delhi during her father’s tenure in Delhi. Initially Meenakshi’s dancer mother taught her Bharatnatyam and later she was trained in four different Indian classical dance forms.
Mennakshi was crowned as the Miss India 1981 at an age of 18 after which she received countless offers from filmmakers. She first appeared in the 1982 release Hindi film ‘Painter Babu’ opposite veteran actor Manoj Kumar’s younger brother Rajiv Goswami. The film failed at the box office and Meenakshi did not receive favorable response. Shashikal then re-christened to Meenakshi and appeared in the 1983 blockbuster ‘Hero’.
Directed by ace filmmaker Subhash Ghai, ‘Hero’ starred Meenakshi Sheshadri and Jackie Shroff in the lead roles. ‘Hero’ became a box office success and Meenakshi consolidated her status in the Hindi film industry.
Meenakshi appeared in a number of films like ‘Awara Baap’ alongside Madhuri Dixit and Rajesh Khanna, ‘Bewafai’ alongside Rajnikant and Rajesh Khanna, ‘Meri Jung’ opposite Anil Kapoor, ‘Inaam Dus Hazaar’ opposite Sanjay Dutt, ‘Shahenshah’ alongside Amitabh Bachchan, ‘Vijay’ opposite Anil Kapoor. Meenakshi Sheshadri had the privilege of working with the best Bollywood banners as well as distinguished actors.
Known for her angelic beauty and impeccable dance performances, Meenakshi Sheshadri is among the few actresses who did not stereotype their on screen image. Meenakshi’s magnetism would add oodles to liveliness to every film she worked in. Though she was been appreciated for all her films, her groundbreaking performance was seen in ‘Damini - Lighting’ released in the year 1993.
Directed by famed filmmaker Rajkumar Santoshi starred Rishi Kapoor, Meenakshi Sheshadri, Sunny Deol, Amrish Puri, Tinu Anand and Paresh Rawal; however Meenakshi played the protagonist, Damini in the film. The film was based on the sensitive subject of injustice towards a rape victim. ‘Damini’ became a mega success and received a number of awards including the coveted National Film Award. Meenakshi was accolade for her versatility and display of varied set of emotions on screen.
The flamboyance of Meenakshi Sheshadri dazzled the silver screen in nineties appearing in films like ‘Aadmi Khilona Hai’ alongside Govinda, ‘Kshatriya’ alongside veteran actors like Sunil Dutt, Dharmendra and Vinod Khanna. Meenakshi played the female lead in 1996 blockbuster ‘Gathak: Lehal’ opposite Sunny Deol. Directed by Rajkumar Santoshi, ‘Ghatak’ was Meenakshi’s last film.
Meenakshi Sheshadri retired from cinema after getting married to investment banker Harish Mysore and the couple is blessed with two children, daughter Kendra and son Josh. Meenakshi lives in Sugarland, Texas with her family and teaches Indian classical dance forms, namely Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Odissi and performs with her students at charity events and fundraisers. A philanthropist, Meenakshi Shesadri and her disciples performed at the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) convention in California.
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