Condolences are pouring in for veteran actor, director and producer Vijaya Nirmala who passed away in Hyderabad on Wednesday following a heart attack. She was 73 years old and was also the wife of yesteryear Telugu superstar Krishna.
Vijaya Nirmala, a trailblazer in the Telugu industry, holds the Guinness World Record for being the woman filmmaker who directed the most number of films. She began her career as a child artiste in Tamil with the film Machcha Rekhai (1950). She debuted in the Telugu industry with Rangula Ratnam. In 1964, she starred opposite Prem Nazir and rose to stardom with the Malayalam hit Bhargavi Nilayam. She once again opposite Prem Nazir in Udhyogastha directed by P Venu.
Vijaya Nirmala, who started started her career as a director in the Malayalam industry, went on to direct 44 films in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.
Originally named Nirmala, the actor took the name of Vijaya after she was signed by Vijaya Productions bosses Nagi Reddi and Chakrapani for their Tamil film Enga Veettu Penn. She prefixed her name with the name of the banner and became popular as Vijaya Nirmala.
Vijaya has a son, Naresh, actor and producer in Tollywood, from her marriage to Krishna Murthy. She later married actor Krishna, who was the father of five children from his earlier marriage, including superstar Mahesh Babu.
"I am shocked at the demise of legendary actor and director Vijaya Nirmala. At a time when it was considered that men's dominance prevailed in the industry, she proved her mettle as a director for which would be forever remembered in history. We can't find such a talented lady director now," director Maruthi penned a tribute to the actor on Twitter.
Actor turned politician Pawan Kalyan also gave his condolences.
â€śWe are saddened by the demise of Vijayanirmala. Our condolences to Krishna and Naresh. Her stamp on acting and direction cannot be erased,â€ť he said in an official release of his political party Jana Sena.
Actor Chiranjeevi, also released a note following her demise.
â€śIn our Telugu industry, after Bhanumati, Vijayanirmala Garu is our pride. She is multi-talented, she stamped in the hearts of the audience with her acting and as shown her great talents as a child artiste, heroine and director. We cannot see such a great personality in current times. She was always with Krishna and backed him all through. Her loss is not just a loss to Krishna but to the whole Telugu film industry. I wish her soul rests in peace and hope Krishna and Naresh get the strength to bear with her loss,â€ť he said.
Many young actors in the industry also paid their condolences, grieving the loss of the legendary actor.
Vijaya Nirmala Garu was a pioneering filmmaker whose life is an inspiration for many. Extremely saddened to hear the news. Extending my deepest condolences to her family. #RIPVijayaNirmalaGaruâ€” Jr NTR (@tarak9999) June 27, 2019
Shocked at the sudden demise of Iron Lady of Telugu film industry, Veteran actress, Director and Guinness Book Record Holder #VijayaNirmala Garu. May your soul Rest Peace. Your contribution to TFI will never be forgotten #RIPvijayanirmalaGaru pic.twitter.com/3jY9JoIZCfâ€” Eesha Rebba (@YoursEesha) June 27, 2019
Rest In Peace #VijayaNirmala garu, a trailblazer for women in Telugu Film. A true original!â€” Adivi Sesh (@AdiviSesh) June 27, 2019
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also paid his condolences, and remembered her for immortalising the character of Bhargavi Kutty in the superhit Malayalam film Bhargavi Nilayam.
Actress Radikaa Sarathkumar from the Tamil industry also paid her tribute to Vijaya Nirmala.
â€” Radikaa Sarathkumar (@realradikaa) June 27, 2019
As a tribute to the actor, 50 days of celebration of Maharshi, starring Mahesh Babu, has been stalled and Lyca productions has postponed the release of the Telugu title of Suriya starrer Kaapaan to Friday.
Rest In Peace Veteran Actress & Director #VijayaNirmala garu! We extend our deepest condolences to her family!#Kaappaan telugu title release has been postponed to tomorrow (28th June) at 10AM, will be released by @ssrajamouli garu!#RIPVijayaNirmalaGaru pic.twitter.com/4N6Wlb3Ql4â€” Lyca Productions (@LycaProductions) June 27, 2019
RIP Veteran Actress & Director #VijayaNirmala ji. Our deepest condolences to Krishnaji @urstrulyMahesh #Kaappaan Telugu Title will be released by @ssrajamouli tomorrow 28thJune @10am instead of today.â€” anand k v (@anavenkat) June 27, 2019