Entertainment industry is male dominated but everyone secretly knows that 75% of the shows run because of women. Not just they add their worth by playing their own roles, it is they who bring glitz and glamour to the shows and even help publicise the projects. But they are almost always short charged by the industry for the majority of the times.
But there are superstars - lady superstars - as the industries try to differentiate as if the word superstar is patented for men only who went by their own rules and are recognised on par or sometimes above their male counterparts. The below are the boss ladies of Telugu Cinema who carried films on their own in the similar manner to the lead acting male stars. Let’s talk about them a bit on this Women’s Day.
She’s the literal unicorn in Indian Cinema in the manner that the only star actress who dictated terms in front of the male superstars. Bhanumathi was the genuine superstar in many ways. She’s a top class actress. One of the greatest singers who could even compose her own songs. She made the likes of NTR and ANR being cautious in her presence. She’s the First Lady filmmaker in Telugu. And the first actress to play a dual role. A writer who won Sahithya Academy Award. The list of her achievements is endless. A true boss lady.
The Mahanati! One of the pillars of Telugu Film Industry during the Golden Age. An actress of highest class whose achievements are yet to be equalled let alone surpassed, Savitri remains the benchmark to all the South Indian actresses who are currently ruling the roost and those who are yet to come.
To be able to make herself a name in the industry despite the presence of an actress like Savitri and be at loggerheads with superstars of her time when self-respect matters, Jamuna is one of her kind actresses. And one of the best who trademarked certain pouranick characters like Kaikeyi, Yashoda, and Sathya Bhama.
Known for her fashion statement and her roles of young lady with self respect, Vani Sri excelled alongside both the senior superstars of her generation like NTR and ANR, and younger generation stars like Krishna and Shobhan Babu. She later reinvented herself as the shrewish aunt with aplomb and drove millions of fans to the theatres on her own.
Karthavyam! This one film is enough for any actress to be immortalised in the history of films. But Vijayashanthi hasn’t least half a dozen roles of such caliber. Not for nothing she’s called lady Amitabh and in a literally truer sense, she’s the lady superstar of her generation.
Sri Devi is Sridevi of the Indian film industry. Angelic beauty. Ability to ace any sort of role. To be able to be the national crush. And as RGV puts, it’s still a wonder how such a woman was born on earth and go through all the frailties of human beings.
From being an actress who was ridiculed for her early failures and lack of glamour to be the prime choice of top filmmakers for roles of substance, the journey of Ramya Krishnan is as fascinating as the characters she aced - Sivagami and Nilambari.
A rebel without being a rebel. She’s so sweet that it’s still a wonder how she has become the actress of her generation by playing ferocious roles like Jejamma in Arundhati, Deva Sena in Baahubali, and Bhaagamathie. The boss lady of Tollywood in the last couple of decades is a peerless star heroine.
A lead actress in hundreds of films. She entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the female director of the most films (44). Enough proof of her contribution to Telugu Cinema. Vijaya Nirmala also holds the distinction of being the only second lady filmmaker to direct Sivaji Ganeshan. She’s also the reason behind superstar Krishna holding the record for being the actor who collaborated with women directors in most number of films.
Apart from being one of the most successful and well aprespected Telugu actresses of all times, the versatile Anjali Devi is the most successful woman producer who’s also an actress in South Indian Cinema.