Anita Guha – The Queen of Mythological films!
was a beautiful actress and a star who ruled Bollywood in the 50’s and 60’s. She gave many hit movies opposite top stars like Sharda (with Raj Kapoor
), Goonj Uthi Shehnai
(with Rajendra Kumar
(with Pradeep Kumar
) Chacha Zindabad
(with Kishore Kumar
), Gate of India (with Bharat Bhushan
) etc. and the most memorable of them all Jai Santoshi Maa but still is remains an unsung actress.
Stereotyped as second lead she tried her luck in B-Grade mythological films and won stardom with Sampoorna Ramayana (1961) and later with Jai Santoshi Maa but it’s a tragedy that today nobody recognizes this Golden Era icon!
17th January 1939
Screen Name/ Original Name
Anita Guha / Anita Guha
One brother / Two sister
Manik Dutt (Character Actor)
Anita Guha spent childhood in the lap of nature
Anita Guha spent her childhood in the lap of nature and among birds and animal as her father was posted as Forest Officer in North East Jungles near Burmese border.
She spent her teens at Darjeeling and the Sunderbans. She was the youngest in the family. She had one brother and two sisters. She settled in Kolkata and did her schooling.
Anita Guha married a film star
Being an actress Anita Guha decided to marry a film star. Hence she married Manik Dutt, a character actor who did many films like Amanush, Do Anjane, Barsat Ki Ek Raat etc. He was a big star in Bengali films. The two had a good marriage life .
Anita Guha won Miss Kolkata at the age of 15
When Anita Guha was growing, she developed interest in modeling and drama during her teens. She was blessed with beautiful features hence when she participated in the beauty contest held in Kolkata; she won the Miss Kolkata Title. After winning the title her aspiration grew and she insisted her parents to try her luck in Bollywood.
Anita Guha wins Talent Hunt Contest and gets ticket to Bollywood
When Anita Guha was trying to convince her parents about making a career in Bollywood; lady luck knocked her door!
In the newspaper she read about a Talent Hunt Contest Kardar – Kolynos Talent Hunt Contest. The highlight of this contest was that it was the First Joint venture between Bollywood- Hollywood to seek brilliant actors for movies.
In an interview Anita Guha informed, “The Talent Hunt Contest was being sponsored by Bollywood’s most prominent A R Kardar Studio and Hollywood’s famous 'Lee Kamarin'.”
She added, “The contest was tough event and had several rounds but fortunately I won each stage and eventually won the contest. I was selected and Kardar studios signed me with a monthly salary of Rs 300/- !!!
Anita cancelled her contract with Kardar studio and left Mumbai
When Kardra Studio signed Anita Guha for the production company she was on sky nine but all her joy was shattered when A. R. Kardar came to know Anita Guha was not well versed with Hindi and Urdu, which were the key language used in cinema in those days.
Hence she was rejected. But when she insisted that she will master the languages in six months time, Kardar sahab agreed and Anita came to Kolkatta and began learning the languages.
But alas soon her father expired. Her mother could not bear the tragedy. She too became bed ridden. Hence left with no option Anita had to cancel her contract with AR Kardar studio.
Anita Guha becomes a rage in Bengali cinema
Though Anita Guha had canceled her contract with A.R.Kardar film studio but the news that Anita Guha had been signed by Bollywood ‘s leading film company send ripples in Bengali cinema. Anita was flooded with offers, which she accepted with little enthusiasm as her heart was in Bollywood.
The first Bengali film was Bansher Kella (1953) opposite Anup Kumar (Brother of actor Ashok Kumar ). The movie was hit and Anita became busy in Bengali cinema.
She did many hit films with Bengal Superstar Uttam Kumar like Chirakumar Sabha , Harjit, Ananda Ashram etc.
Though Anita Guha won stardom and became a huge star in Bengali cinema but she yearned to make her name in Bollywood.
Anita Guha’s Bollywoood dream turns true
When Anita Guha was struggling to make inroads in Bollywood she met Bollywood Actor – Producer Om Prakash (popularly recognized as character actor – the dadu of Amitabh Bachchan in Namak Halaal).
Om Prakash was Bollywood’s most prominent comedian and character actor and the money her earned he invested in producing films.
Om Prakash had come to Kolkata to promote his film when he met Anita Guha and signed her for his film Duniya Gol Hai (1956).
Anita was extremely happy. She was paired opposite Bollywood’s most popular star of that era Karan Diwan. Duniya Gol Hai was not a big hit but it brought her in tinsel town.
Her next film Tangewali (1955) however made her presence felt as she worked with top stars Balraj Sahni, Nirupa Roy and Shammi Kapoor !
Anita Guha’s first major hit film in Bollywood
Anita Guha’s first major hit film was Dekh Kabira Roya (1957) directed by the versatile filmmaker Amiya Chakravarty. Interestingly she was paired once again with Anup Kumar.
The movie was a big hit thanks to its good music by Madan Mohan.
Songs like Kaun Aaya, Mere Man Ke Dwaare….; Meri Veena Tum Bin Roye.....Humse Aaya Na Gaya.....
With success of Dekh Kabira Roya, Anita Guha was offered many A-Grade films with top stars like Sharda (Raj Kapoor ), Goonj Uthi Shehnai (with Rajendra Kumar), Sanjog (with Pradeep Kumar) Chacha Zindabad (with Kishore Kumar), Purnima (with Dharmendra), Gate of India (with Bharat Bhushan ) Chacha Zindabad ( Kishore Kumar )
Though Anita Guha was doing quite well but she was not contented as an actress as she was stereotyped in second lead roles.
Anita Guha becomes the queen of mythological films
Frustrated at being sidelined in A-Grade movies Anita Guha decided to try her hand at B-Grade mythological movies.
Her first film was Homi Wadia ’s Sampoorna Ramayana (1961). In this film she got the lead role of Sita opposite B-Grade film superstar Mahipal as Rama.
The movie was the biggest hit in the history of mythological films and Anita Guha became a household name as Sita.
The Anita Guha and Mahipal Jodi became as popular as Nargis and Raj Kapoor Jodi.
The two did many movies like Kan Kan Men Bagwan (1963), Shankar Seeta Ansuya (1965), Shri Ram Bharat Milap (1965), Hanuman Chalisa (1969)
Filmfare nomination -
Best Supporting Actress Award: Goonj Uthi Shehnai
The film Jai Santoshi Maa immortalized Anita Guha
In the 70’s after her husband’s death Anita Guha made her second inning as character actor and did some A-Grade films like Aradhana, Anuraag, Sharmeelee but once again lady luck smiled on her when she attempted a mythological film Jai Santoshi Maa (1975) in the title role.
The movie was such a hit that it re-wrote history and broke the record of Sampoorna Ramayana (1961) and became the biggest all time mythological hit film and till date no mythological film has been able to strike a fortune money that Jai Santosi Maa did!
The success of the film can be gauged from the fact in 1975 that it shared the spotlight with blockbuster films like Sholay which collected Rs 15 crore and Deewar while in the same year, Jai Santoshi Maa is said to have collected Rs 5 crore when the budget of the film was just Rs 50 lakh!!!
Later with Jai Santoshi Maa she literally began to be looked upon as goddess.
In an interview Anita Guha said, "I began to be recognized as Santoshi Maa and women used to bring their new born babies and put them in my arms to seek blessings.”
She died on 20 June 2007 due to heart attack.