Marathi cinema, an integral part of the Indian film industry, has been renowned for its profound storytelling and hard-hitting realism and for being the birthplace of many gifted actors and actresses. Amid the glittering constellation of talent, a group of individuals shines with a remarkable luminescence – the old Marathi actresses.
These trailblazing women not only played pivotal roles in the evolution of the Marathi film industry but also broke boundaries, challenged stereotypes and left an indelible mark on the cinematic world.
This blog aims to tribute to these iconic figures, celebrating their contributions and reliving their unforgettable performances. As we delve into the illustrious past of the Marathi film industry, we invite you to join us in appreciating the legacy of the ‘old Marathi actress’ – a symbol of talent, resilience, and creativity.
The Golden Era of Marathi Cinema
The ‘Golden Era’ of Marathi cinema, which spanned the 1940s to the early 1970s, was a transformative period that saw the Marathi film industry become its own. This period is often hailed as the golden age due to the phenomenal talent and creativity that was on display, contributing to the rise of the industry and putting it on the national cinema map.
Old Marathi actresses like Sulochana (Ruby Myers), Shanta Apte, Lalita Pawar, and Sandhya became the defining faces of this era. They championed the emergence of woman-led narratives and challenged the status quo with their powerful performances. Through their extraordinary talent and dedication, these actresses played a crucial role in carving a niche for Marathi cinema in the larger realm of Indian cinema.
15 Notable Old Marathi Actress
Here is a list of 15 notable old Marathi actresses who have contributed significantly to Marathi cinema.
Sulochana Latkar (born 30 July 1928) is a veteran Indian film actress in Marathi cinema and Hindi cinema, best known for playing supporting roles as a mother in the 1960s and the early 1970s.
Born as Baby Latkar in the village of Khadaklat in Chikodi Taluka, Belgaum District, Karnataka, she moved to Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1946 to pursue a career in acting.
Her debut was a Marathi film titled “Vasant Joglekar’s ‘Kanyaadan’ ” (1948). She was widely loved for her motherly roles in Bollywood and was often cast as the mother of the lead characters in the films. One of her most famous roles is as Raj Kapoor’s mother in the film “Awaara” (1951).
She has worked in over 300 Hindi films and around 50 Marathi films. She is regarded as one of the most outstanding actresses in the mother’s role in Hindi cinema. For her contributions to Indian cinema, she was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1999.
Seema Deo, also known as Seema Gajanan Deo, is a well-known actress in the Marathi and Hindi film industry. She was born on 19 November 1932.
Seema Deo has a long career spanning many decades, during which she played numerous memorable roles in both films and television. Her notable works in Hindi cinema include “Saraswatichandra” (1968), “Anand” (1971), “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” (1971), and “Mere Apne” (1971). In Marathi cinema, she is known for films like “Saranga” (1960), “Jagachya Pathivar” (1960), and “Apradh” (1962).
She is married to the actor Ramesh Deo, and their sons Ajinkya Deo and Abhinay Deo are also involved in the film and television industry. Ajinkya is a prominent actor in Marathi cinema, while Abhinay is a director known for Hindi films like “Delhi Belly” (2011) and “Blackmail” (2018).
Usha Naik is a seasoned actress in Marathi cinema, known for her extensive work in films and television. She was born on 17 March 1946. Over her long career, she has demonstrated versatility, portraying a wide range of characters with conviction and depth.
Naik started her acting career in the Marathi film industry with “Samna” (1974), a film directed by Jabbar Patel. She then worked in several Marathi and Hindi movies in various roles, from serious to comic, making a mark for herself.
One of her most acclaimed performances was in the Marathi film “Ek Hazarachi Note” (2014), directed by Shrihari Sathe. Her performance in the film was critically acclaimed and won her several awards.
She also played significant roles in Hindi films like “Mirch Masala” (1987) and “Aakrosh” (1980). Apart from films, she has also worked in Marathi theatre and television shows.
Rohini Hattangadi is an Indian actress known for her work in Marathi, Hindi, and international films and in theatre. She was born on 11 April 1955.
Hattangadi started her acting career in theatre and was a part of the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA). She trained at the National School of Drama (NSD) in New Delhi, where she graduated in 1974.
Hattangadi debuted with the Marathi film ‘Sinhasan’ in 1979, but she gained wider recognition with her role in the film ‘Arth’ (1982). She also appeared in ‘Saaransh’ (1984), where she played the role of a grieving mother, a performance that earned her the Filmfare Best Actress award.
Internationally, she is best known as Kasturba Gandhi in Richard Attenborough’s biographical film ‘Gandhi’ (1982). She won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for this role.
Apart from films, Hattangadi has also acted in several popular Indian television series like ‘Chaar Diwari,’ ‘Junoon,’ and ‘Zindagi.’
Vandana Gupte is a highly respected actress in Marathi cinema, theatre, and television. She was born on 14 January 1952. Over her long career, she has demonstrated immense versatility, adeptly handling a variety of roles and genres.
Gupte started her acting career with theatre and then transitioned to films and television. Her contribution to Marathi cinema and theatre is significant, with performances in both severe and comic roles. She has also directed and produced several Marathi plays.
In cinema, she is known for her performances in films like “Fakt Ladh Mhana” (2011), “Ek Daav Bhutacha” (1982), “Timepass 2” (2015), and “Bucket List” (2018).
She is known on television for her work in popular Marathi serials like “Ghadlay Bighadlay” and “Avantika.”
Vandana Gupte has received numerous accolades for her work, including the Maharashtra State Film Award for Best Actress for her role in “Ek Hota Vidushak” (1992).
Reema Lagoo was a distinguished Indian actress best known for her roles in Hindi and Marathi films, primarily as a supportive mother. She was born on 21 June 1958 and passed away on 18 May 2017.
Reema Lagoo started her acting career in theatre and then transitioned to television and film. She was a significant presence in both Hindi and Marathi cinema. She debuted in 1979 with the Marathi film “Sinhasan.”
However, she gained mainstream popularity with Hindi films. Some of her best-known performances were in Bollywood films such as “Maine Pyar Kiya” (1989), “Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!” (1994), “Vaastav: The Reality” (1999), and “Kal Ho Naa Ho” (2003), where she often played the role of the protagonist’s mother.
She was also popular in Indian television series, such as “Shrimaan Shrimati” and “Tu Tu Main Main.” Her role in the TV serial “Naamkarann” was her last television appearance before her untimely death in 2017.
Lagoo’s performances have left a lasting impression on Indian cinema and television. Her death was a significant loss to the Indian entertainment industry.
Bhakti Barve was a renowned Indian film, theatre, and television actress in Marathi, Hindi, and Gujarati. She was born on 10 September 1948 and passed away on 12 February 2001.
Barve is best known for her role in the film ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’ (1983), where she played the character of Shobha Sen, an intelligent and cunning journalist. Her performance in the film is widely appreciated.
In Marathi cinema, she was known for her work in films like “Umbartha” (1982) and “Chaukat Raja” (1991). In Gujarati cinema, she starred in the award-winning film “Hun Hunshi Hunshilal” (1992).
Bhakti Barve also had a significant contribution to Marathi theatre. Her performances in plays like “Ti Fulrani,” an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” and “Hamidabaichi Kothi” are highly celebrated.
In addition to her acting career, Barve was a noted theatre producer and ran her own theatre company in Mumbai.
Sadly, Bhakti Barve passed away in a car accident in 2001. Her death was a significant loss to the Indian theatre and film industry.
Supriya Pilgaonkar, also known as Supriya Sabnis, is a well-known actress in the Indian film and television industry, renowned for her work in Marathi and Hindi cinema. She was born on 16 August 1967.
Supriya debuted with the Marathi film “Navri Mile Navryala” (1984), directed by Sachin Pilgaonkar. She later married Sachin, a renowned actor, and director in the Marathi film industry.
In Hindi cinema, she is known for films like “Awara Paagal Deewana” (2002) and “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” (1998), where she played the role of Anjali’s (played by Kajol) mother. In Marathi cinema, she is recognized for her roles in “Navri Mile Navryala” (1984), “Ashi Hi Banwa Banwi” (1988), and “Mumbai Pune Mumbai 3” (2018).
Supriya Pilgaonkar has also had a significant presence in Indian television. She is known for her roles in popular TV serials like “Tu Tu Main Main,” “Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi,” and “Sasural Genda Phool.”
She received several awards, including the Maharashtra State Film Award for Best Actress for “Chaukat Raja” (1991).
Nirmiti Sawant is a well-known Marathi actress recognized for her theater, television, and film work. She was born on 5 December 1963.
Sawant is best known for her comic roles and has a remarkable ability to connect with audiences through her humor. She gained popularity as a participant and winner of the first season of the Marathi reality show “Fu Bai Fu,” a comedy show aired on Zee Marathi.
One of her most recognized theatre performances is in Marathi play “Shrimant Damodar Pant.” She has also appeared in famous Marathi plays such as “Lagnachi Bedi” and “Hasva Fasvi.”
In terms of her film career, Sawant has acted in several Marathi films like “Aga Bai Arrecha” (2004) and “Khabardar” (2006). She has also acted in Marathi television series such as “Ghadlay Bighadlay” and “Comedy Chi Bullet Train.”
Nirmiti Sawant is celebrated for her comedic timing and unique style, making her a favorite among audiences in Maharashtra and beyond.
Nivedita Joshi-Saraf is a celebrated actress in Marathi cinema, known for her versatility and the depth of her performances. She was born on 5 December 1963.
She started acting at a young age and quickly made a name for herself in the Marathi film industry. Nivedita has worked in numerous Marathi films and is recognized for her roles in movies like “Hamal De Dhamal” (1989), “Navri Mile Navryala” (1984), and “Ashi Hi Banwa Banwi” (1988).
She is also known for her work in Hindi cinema, with notable roles in films like “Tezaab” (1988) and “Ghar Ho To Aisa” (1990).
Apart from films, Nivedita has also worked extensively in Marathi theatre and television. Her performance in the Marathi serial “Abhalmaya” is especially well-known.
Nivedita is married to the actor Ashok Saraf, a renowned Marathi and Hindi film industry figure. Together, they have performed in several films and plays.
Sukanya Kulkarni-Mone is a celebrated actress in the Marathi film and television industry. She was born on 1 December 1968.
Kulkarni-Mone started acting at a young age and has since worked in numerous Marathi films, television series, and theatre productions, earning wide acclaim for her performances. Her roles often showcase her ability to embody a wide range of characters, from severe to comedic, demonstrating her versatility as an actress.
In cinema, some of her notable performances include roles in Marathi films like “De Dhakka” (2008) and “Premankur” (1993). In television, she is best known for her roles in popular Marathi serials like “Avaghachi Sansar,” “Un Paus,” and “De Dhamal.”
Sukanya Kulkarni-Mone’s contribution to Marathi theatre is also significant, with performances in plays like “Dehbhan,” “Varhad Nighalay Londonla,” and “Lagnachi Bedi” being particularly well-received.
She is married to Sanjay Mone, a renowned Marathi actor and writer.
Alka Kubal is a renowned actress in the Marathi film industry, known for her impactful performances across various roles. She was born on 23 September 1961.
She made her acting debut in the film industry with the Marathi movie “Vahinichi Maya” at 17. She gained prominence and popularity with her role in the film “Maherchi Sadi” (1991), which was a major commercial success.
Kubal has acted in more than a hundred films in the Marathi cinema. Some of her other notable works include “Chaukat Raja” (1991), “Gangaajal” (2003), and “Mumbai Pune Mumbai 2” (2015).
She is known for her ability to portray diverse characters and has contributed significantly to the Marathi film industry with her performances. Over her career, she has received numerous awards for her acting.
Alka Kubal is also involved in social work and has worked towards uplifting underprivileged women and children.
Kavita Lad is a well-known Marathi actress who has contributed significantly to Marathi theatre, television, and cinema. She was born on 9 October 1968.
She is best known for her roles in popular Marathi television serials such as “Shriyut Gangadhar Tipre” and “Un Paus.” These roles earned her wide acclaim for her acting skills and ability to bring characters to life.
Lad has also participated in several Marathi films, including “Natrang” (2010), where she played a noteworthy role. In addition, her work in Marathi theatre is highly recognized.
Kavita Lad is known for her ability to portray a wide range of characters, from severe to comedic roles, showcasing her versatility as an actress. Her contribution to the Marathi entertainment industry has been significant, and she continues to be a prominent figure.
Varsha Usgaonkar is a famous actress in the Indian film industry who has appeared in many Marathi and Hindi movies. She was born on 28 February 1968.
Usgaonkar entered the film industry with the Marathi film “Gammat Jammat” in 1987. She then became one of the most famous faces in Marathi cinema during the late 1980s and early 1990s, starring in successful films such as “Dhumakul” (1995), “Lapwa Chhapwi” (1989), and “Aflatoon” (1991).
In addition to her work in Marathi cinema, Usgaonkar also appeared in several Hindi films. Her most notable Hindi movies include “Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi” (1993) and “Pathreela Rasta” (1994).
Aside from film, Usgaonkar has worked in several Marathi theatre productions and television shows, demonstrating her versatility as an actress.
Ashalata Wabgaonkar was a respected Indian actress known for her work in Hindi and Marathi cinema. She was born on 2 July 1941 and died on 22 September 2020.
Wabgaonkar made her acting debut with the Marathi film “Sangat” in 1978. She went on to act in over a hundred Hindi and Marathi films. Some of her notable Marathi films include “Umbartha” (1982) and “Sutradhar” (1987).
In Hindi cinema, she appeared in successful films like “Apne Paraye” (1980), for which she received a Filmfare nomination for Best Supporting Actress, “Namak Halaal” (1982), and “Shaukeen” (1982).
Besides her film career, Ashalata was a prominent Marathi theatre figure. Some of her well-known plays are “Varyavarchi Varaat” and “Chook Bhool Dyavi Ghyavi.”
Sadly, Ashalata Wabgaonkar passed away due to complications from COVID-19 in September 2020. Her contribution to the Indian film and theatre industry is highly valued, and she is remembered for her impressive acting skills and captivating screen presence.
These old Marathi actresses are not just the gems of the Marathi film industry but the shining stars of Indian cinema. Their influential work reminds us of the richness and diversity of our cinematic heritage and the power of storytelling.
As we reflect upon their enduring influence and legacy, we are reminded of these old Marathi actresses’ magical charm and unwavering dedication, who forever changed the landscape of Marathi and Indian cinema. Their names and performances continue to resonate, evoking nostalgia and admiration and ensuring their place in the annals of cinema history. As we look forward, we see their influence imprinted on future generations, ensuring their timeless legacy lives on.