B. Saroja Devi is an Indian actress. She has acted in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi movies. She is referred to as Abhinaya Saraswathi by the Kannada film industry and as Kannadathu Paingili by Tamil film industry. She has acted in nearly 200 films in a period of more than three decades.
Her father asked her to learn dance and encouraged her to venture into films when film offers started coming to her. A young Saroja Devi was often chaperoned to studios by him. He would patiently tie on her salangais, often massaging swollen feet after her dancing stints.
Saroja Devi was first spotted by B.R. Krishnamurthy singing at a function at the age of 13. Initially, she declined his offer to act in movies. She debuted with the Kannada film Mahakavi Kalidasa in 1955. It was followed by B R Panthulu's Thanga Malai Ragasiyam, where her eyes enacted a magical drama, in a dance sequence.Her debut movie in Telugu was Panduranga Mahathmyam (1957) in which she acted opposite N.T. Rama Rao.
After this she came under the notice of the MGR for the very first time, on K Subramaniam's sets and MGR casted her in Nadodi Manan(1958). People doubted her ability to speak Tamil, but MGR had faith in her and encouraged her to learn and speak Tamil.
She never allowed any one to dub for her and insisted that she would speak by herself as a result none of her Tamil movies her voice was dubbed by any other artiste since the beginning of her career.
Then she gave hits opposite Gemini Ganesan in Manalane Mangayin Bhagyam, Kalyana Parisu, Ode Velaiyadu papa, Kairasi and opposite Sivaji Ganeshan in Baga Pirivinai,Vidi Velli,Palum Pazhamum, Iruvar Ullam(1958 till 1960).After this she started getting offers from Tamil,Kannada, and Telugu films. She was working more than 20 hours a day in this peak period of her career(1960–69).
Saroja chose to do more films in Tamil in the period 1958-1969 and after her mairrage she was more active in Kannada and Telugu films from (1970–1984). Saroja Devi's energetic performance as a patriotic queen raging against the British in Kannada flick Kittooru Rani Chennamma, brought her much acclaim.
She had mincing accent, smart and perky attitude and this made her popular among the audience of all the four languages Tamil, Hindi, Telugu and Kannada. She concentrated more in Tamil films as a result though she had all her films as hits in Hindi, after Preet Na Jane Reet opposite Shammi Kapoor she did not do more Hindi films.
Another leading Telugu actress Krishna Kumari had dubbed her voice in Panduranga Mahathmyam for Saroja devi and few more films in the initial part of her career in Telugu Films. But in subsequent years, without any external source of dubbing, Saroja Devi acted in her Telugu films.For her films in Hindi, Kannada and Tamil she always dubbed for herself since the beginning of her career.
She made a fashion statement too as women adored her dressing sense and her saris and blouses, ornaments, hairstyles were copied by girls and women. After Jayalalitha become a star and her pair with MGR was appreciated and after Saroja got married in 1967, Sarojadevi did not get the opportunity to work opposite MGR. Saroja Devi's last film oppsoite MGR was Arasa Katalai, which also starred Jayalalithaa. However Saroja continued having hits opposite Sivaji like En Thambi, Anjal Petti 520, etc.
She mesmerized audience of all sections with her lively action, eye-catching looks and sweet articulation and got critical acclaims for her roles in the few Telugu films she did like Rahasiyam and in Aathma Balam and Amarashilpi Jakanna, both with A Nageshwara Rao. From the late sixties till mid 70's she formed popular on screen pair with NTR in Telugu films with Dagudu moothulu,Shakuntala,Bahakiyachakaram, Mayani Mamata and Daana Veera Shoora Karna.
Saroja Devi accepted supporting roles in very few films.She took up very few assignments and even those films turned out to be popular. She said in an interview 'I have four homes in Chennai: the residences of MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan, and MR Radha,' she had once said. 'But now, they have all gone—and I remain alone, with only their memories in my heart, and tears in my eyes.' B. Saroja Devi was Chairperson of the Karnataka Film Development Corporation. She was also the chairperson of Kantheerava Studios, Bangalore.
Mahakavi Kalidasa (debut)
Sri Rama Pooja
Manalane Mangayin Bhagyam
Thedi Vantha Selvam
Kudivazhanthal Kodi Nanmai
Vaazha Vaitha Deivam
Ellorum Innatto Mannargal
Intiki Deepam Illalae
Jagadeka Veeruni Katha
Sri Seetha Rama Kalyanam
Thai Sollai Thattathey
Kitturu Ranee Chennamma
Parthal Pasi Theerum
Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya
Periya Idathu Penn
Neethikku Pin Pasam
Sri Krishnarjuna Yudham
Dooj Ka Chand
Enga Vettu Pillai
Preet Na Jaane Reet
Pen Endral Pen
Uma Chandi Gauri Shankarula katha
Anjal Petti 520
Sri Krishna Rukmini Satya Bhama
Sri Srinivasa Kalyana
Paththu Matha Bandham
Sri Chamundeeswari Mahimai
Shri Ramanjaneya Yudhamu
Sree Ram Hanuman Yudh
Sri Ram Vanavas
Sri Renukadevi Mahathme 150th film
Sree Tirupathi Kshetra Mahathmyam
Daana Veera Shoora Karna
Guru Sarvabhowma Sri Raghavendra Karune
Nammina Thayi Annamma
Oray Thai Oray Kulam
Agni I P S
Jannai Janma Bhoomi