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Sitara Devi (B. 1919)

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Sitara Devi in Hulchul (1951)

Actress born in Calcutta. One of the foremost exponents of classical Kathak dance, with notable appearances as a dancer in early Mehboob films. Daughter of Sukhdev Maharaj of Benares, former court musician at Nepal, she was trained by her father and by Achan Maharaj at the palace of the Rajah of Mymensingh and later by Kathak maestros Shambhu and Lachhu Maharaj. Entered films as a child actress at Sagar where she first worked with Mehboob, with whom she later did her best-known films. Turned lead player with his Watan (1938). Salaried artist at Ranjit Studio, working with Chandulal Shah (Achhut – 1940) and on some famous films by Kardar (Holi, Pagal, Pooja). Her amazingly lively performance as a ‘tribal’ practising primitive communism and Anil Biswas’ music were responsible for the successful use of the parable form in Roti (1942). Married K. Asif and acted in his Phool (1944).

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