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04 Aug 1932

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Shashikala Biography

Shashikala was one of six children born in Solapur, Maharashtra to a well-to-do Marathi-speaking Jawalkar family. By age 5, she had already been dancing, singing, and acting on stage in many towns in Solapur district. When Shashikala was in her pre-teens, through ill luck, her father became bankrupt, and he brought his family to Bombay (now Mumbai) where they thought that Shashikala, the best-looking and most-talented among his children, could find work in movies. For some time, the family lived with friends and barely survived, while Shashikala wandered from one studio to another looking for work. She earned in bits and pieces till she met Noor Jehan, the reigning screen queen. Noor Jehan's husband, Shaukat, was making a movie Zeenat then, and included Shashikala in a qawwali scene. She received 25 rupees for her role. She struggled on and got small roles in movies made by P. N. Arora, Amiya Chakravarti, and a few other producers. She got roles in V. Shantaram's Teen Batti Char Raasta (1953) and a few other movies. While in her early twenties, Shashikala met and married Om Prakash Saigal, who belonged to the Kundan Lal Saigal family, and had two daughters.


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