The dancing star of films like Sangam and Devdas turns 83 today!
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Many years ago, as a small child, I watched Vyjayanthimala dance in a classical Bharata Natyam production called Chandralekha, based on the story of a beautiful woman who is enchanted by Prince Siddhartha, the Buddha. It starred and was created by Vyjayanthimala, and it was then that I decided I wanted to learn dance. Sadly, the lady was not available on the day I was taken to meet her, so I found another teacher…that is another story. But the charm, beauty and talent of the star have never faded in my mind.

At just 13 Vyjayanthimala made her film debut in the Tamil Vazhkai (1949), following that up with roles in Telugu and Hindi movies. Hard work, expressive eyes and astonishing dance skills propelled her up the star ladder in Hindi films too, her career lasting well over 20 years. She was, in fact, the first actress from South India to make it big in Bollywood and opened the doors for other would-be stars to try their luck. As a dancer, she was classically trained and used that to make magic in songs, earning herself the moniker of ‘twinkle toes’.

She quit movies to focus on dance once the younger actresses started flooding into the roles that were once hers, and took to golf and, surprisingly, politics. She now lives a retired life in Chennai, her home turf.

SoundboxIndia wishes the inimitable Vyjayanthimala a very happy 83rd birthday with 7 fabulous songs that she starred in…

Song: Hothon mein aisi baat
Movie: Jewel Thief
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar, Bhupinder Singh
Music: S. D. Burman
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

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Song: Maang ke saath tumhara
Movie: Naya Daur
Singer: Mohammad Rafi & Asha Bhosle
Music: O.P. Nayyar
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi

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Song: Manzil Wohi Hai Pyar Ki
Movie: Kathputli
Singer: Subir Sen
Music: Shankar Jaikishan
Lyrics: Shailendra

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Song: Aaja Re Pardesi Main
Movie: Madhumati
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Music:  Salil Chowdhury
Lyrics: Shailendra

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Song: Vyjayanthimala's Dance Face Off 
Movie: Amrapali
Music:  Shankar Jaikishan

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Song: Man Dole Mera Tan Dole
Movie: Nagin (1954)
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Music: Hemant Kumar
Lyricist: Rajendra Krishna

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Song: Main Kaa Karoon Raam
Movie : Sangam
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar
Music Director: Shankar Jaikishan
Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri

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