Actress Baby Shakuntala died at a private hospital on Sunday following an age-related illness, family sources said. She was 82. She is survived by her son, daughter and grandchildren.
Umadevi Nadgonde, popularly known as Baby Shakuntala, began acting at the age of six and made her silver screen debut in Prabhat film company’s Daha Vajata.
She later acted in nearly 60 Marathi and Hindi films and worked with well-known filmmakers Bhalji Pendharkar, Anant Mane, Dinkar D Patil, Bimal Roy and B R Chopra. Shakuntala was born on November 17, 1932, and brought up in Pune where her father worked in a printing press.
Her mother was related to Damles, owners of the famous Prabhat Studios, who asked her parents to let Shakuntala appear in one of their films as a child star. Coming from a middle-class background and daring to join the film industry at a time when acting was frowned upon, Baby Shakuntala established herself through powerful roles in the 1944 Prabhat Films Marathi classic Ramshastri, Sharada (1951), Chimni Pakhare (1952), Aboli (1953) and Maya Bazaar (1949).
She also acted in nearly 40 Hindi films, including P S Arora’s Pardes which starred Madhubala and Rehman, Nunhe Munhe and Lahren. At the peak of her career with 15 silver jubilee hits in her kitty, the actress quit the films after her marriage to Babasaheb Nadgonde from Kolhapur.