Meenakshi Seshadri

  • Actor

Nov 16, 1963  in Dhanbad, Jharkhand, India

Also Known as: Shashikala Seshadri

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Best remembered for her portrayal of the titular in the 1993 woman-centric movie Damini - Lightning, Meenakshi Seshadri is a dancer and former model and actress. Hailing from a Tamilian background, Meenakshi was named Shasikala at birth and has also trained in four Indian classical dance forms, namely Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, and Odissi under the guidance of Vempati Chinna Satyam and Jaya Rama Rao. At the age of 17, she won the Eve's Weekly Miss India title in 1981, soon after which she represented India at the Miss International beauty pageant held in Tokyo, however, she did not win.

Making her foray into the film industry, Meenakshi was cast alongside Rajiv Goswami in the 183 Telugu-Hindi bilingual movie Painter Babu, which bombed at the box office. Disheartened, Meenakshi decided to not pursue acting as a career and planned on quitting the industry. However, she was approached by director Subhash Ghai, who offered her the Hindi romantic movie Hero, which featured newcomer Jackie Shroff. Both the young actors became overnight sensations after the release of the movie, which was declared a blockbuster hit. Following the success of Hero, Meenakshi went on to work with big actors such as Rajesh Khanna, Rajinikanth, and Anil Kapoor.

Some of her most noteworthy performances came with movies like Bewafai, Swati, Mera Jawab, Inaam Dus Hazaar, Shahenshah, Ghar Ho Toh Aisa, Jurm, and Ghayal among many successful movies. Her performance in the 1993 crime-thriller Damini - Lightning is considered to be her career-defining role, where she played the titular role, demanding justice for a rape victim against the support and will of her in-laws. Damini went on to receive widespread critical acclaim, winning several awards and accolades. In 1996, she was cast alongside Sunny Deol in the action crime drama Ghatak: Lethal, which not only went on to become one of the highest-grossing movies of the year but also marked Meenakshi's last Bollywood outing.

Soon after marrying investment banker Harish Mysore, Meenakshi quit her acting career and moved to the US with him. After moving to the US, she established her own dance school in Dallas - Cherish Institute of Dance. Documentary filmmaker Margaret Stephens made a documentary about Meenakshi in 2006, calling it Meenakshi Accept Her Wings, which is a two-hour-long musical giving the audience an insight into the life of the dancer and actor, her transition into a homemaker, and her successful marriage.

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