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The Beginning

Born to Bhairappa and Rudramma in Karnataka on January 7, 1942, Saroja Devi was their fourth daughter. But this wasn't a happy occasion for her family, especially her grandfather, Mayanna Gowda. Still, Bhairappa managed to overrule him and insist on raising the child. Perhaps he had noticed her charm, as he was responsible for her slow and steady rise to superstardom.

Her indulgent father was the first to inform her that she would take acting as her career. A young Saroja Devi was often chaperoned to studios by him. He would patiently tie on her salangais, often massaging swollen feet after her dancing stints.

In the picture: A still from Irumbu Thirai.

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