Lalita Pawar (18 April 1916 – 24 February 1998) from Nashik ,was a prolific Indian actress, who later became famous as a character actress, appearing in over 700 films in Hindi and Marathi cinema, where she gave hits like, Netaji Palkar (1938), made by Bhalji Pendharkar, New Hana Pictures’ Sant Damaji, Navyug Chitrapat’s Amrit, written by VS Khandekar, and Chhaya Films’ Gora Kumbhar. Her other memorable roles were in film, Anari (1959), Shri 420 and Mr and Mrs 55, and the role of Manthara, in Ramanand Sagar’s television epic serial, Ramayan.
She was the ultimate vamp of Indian cinema who can never be forgotten. Lalita Pawar has acted in a wide variety of challenging and off beat roles. Her popular screen image was that of a schemer, envious, jealous and vampish mother-in-law. She had one of the longest careers in films from 1928 to 1998. She started at an early age of 12, in the silent era, and went to act till the age of 82, in the digital sound era. Her last Hindi film was released in 1993, where she played the role of Pooja Batra’s granny and Om Puri’s mother in Bhai(1997). Within seventy years of her career she acted in seven hundred films.
Lalita Pawar was born on 18th April, 1916 in a small village, Yevle in Nashik, Maharashtra and named Amba Laxman Rao Sagun by her parents. In 1927, she went Pune with her brother and father, where she visited Aryan Productions and was offered the child’s role in the film Patit Uddhar. She was given the screen name of Lalita in this film. In the film she played the role of an innocent child and she performed it very well. She worked in almost 20 films with the company and then worked for other companies. After her first film she was flooded with roles and within the next 18 years, she acted in various roles. When she grew up, she played the leading lady in many films and was one of the “most ravishing beauties of the silent movies”.
In 1932, Lalita Pawar produced a silent film titled Kailash, and even acted in it. In the film she performed triple role of the heroine, vamp, and mother. In 1937, she produced another film, Duniya Kya Hai that was a talkie film. In an fatal accident, she had facial paralysis and her eyesight was impaired. After four years of treatment she joined the film industry. Few of Lalita Pawar’s mega hits in Marathi films are Netaji Palkar (1938), Sant Damaji, Amrit, Gora Kumbhar.
Lalita Pawar has acted in all types of films from historical to social, costume drama to mythological, from comedy to tragedy, from thriller to musical, and from serious to romance. Some of her memorable movies are Thaksen Rajputra, Prithviraj Chauhan, Gamini Kawa, Chatur Sundari, Padmavati Parini, Shri 420, Prem Bandhan, Song Of Life, Daler Jigar and many more. The two films Thaksen Rajputra and Chatur Sundari ran in Mumbai theatres for a record period. In the film Chatur Sundari she played the role of 17 different characters.
Lalita Pawar spent her last days in Pune where she died alone and lonely on 24th February 1998.