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Veteran Actor Shashikala Dies at 88

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Shashikala at the audio release of 'From Sydney With Love' (Photo Source: http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/more/photos/view/stills/parties-and-events/id/1458520 Licensed Under CCA 3.0 Unported)

Shashikala Om Prakash Saigal, the Padma Shri awardee film and television actor who was best known by her first name, died on Sunday at her Mumbai residence.

She was 88.

With a career spanning over 30 years, Saigal worked in more than 100 films primarily from the 1950s to 1980s in a wide range of roles, including supporting roles and negative roles. Best known for her roles in Aarti (1962) and Gumrah (1963), she was decorated with the Padma Shri (the fourth highest civilian award in India) in 2007 for her contribution to Indian cinema.

Saigal starred in Hindi films such as Waqt, Rahgir, Junglee, Anupama, Gumrah, Phool Aur Patthar, Shart, Daku, Jugnu, Khubsoorat, Pardesi Babu, Badshah, Mother, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Jhankaar Beats, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, and many others. She has also appeared in television daily soaps including Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai for Sony, Son Pari for Star Plus and a few others.

Born in Maharashtra’s Solapur, Saigal won two Filmfare awards for the Best Supporting Actor, several awards in the same category from Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards, and the Lifetime Achievement Award at the V Shantaram Awards in 2009.

Several actors, scriptwriters, singers from the film fraternity, politicians such as Maharashtra Cabinet minister Nawab Malik, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and several other celebrities took to social media to pay tribute to Saigal’s demise and offer their condolences.

Paying his tribute through Facebook, Praful Patel, politician and president of the All India Football Federation wrote: “Deeply saddened by the demise of veteran actress Shashikala ji. She made a noteworthy contribution to Indian cinema by portraying several pivotal roles. My heartfelt condolences to her family members. May her soul rest in peace.”

Noted singer Lata Mangeshkar took to Facebook to pay her tribute to the actor while praising the actor’s versatility and the variety of roles she had played over the years.

Gurchet Chitarkar, the Punjabi actor, comedian and painter, wrote about late Saigal’s birth, family and how she started and rose in her career in the film industry.

Jitendra Singh, a Bharatiya Janata Party national executive member, quoted a Hindi song from Saigal’s film and wrote: “#Shashikala no more. She was among the last from that Golden Age genre of Bollywood. RIP. “Kyon Mujhe Itni Khushi De Di Ke Ghabrata Hai Dil…”

Actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas tweeted about how “honoured” she feels to have worked with the late actor while actor Dharmendra Deol quoted a dialogue from Saigal’s film in his tweet.

Actors Farhan Akhtar, Dipannita Sharma, director Anil Sharma, choreographer and director Naved Jafri, singer Adnan Sami, journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, chef Kunal Kapur, the National Film Archive of India, All India Mahila Congress, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh also took to their social media handles to remember the actor.

Saigal is survived by her younger daughter Shailaja.

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