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Jaya Prada's birth name is Lalita Rani. She was born on April 3, 1962, into a middle-class family in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh. Jaya's father Krishna Rao was a Telugu film financier. (All photos/mid-day archives, AFP)
As a child, Jaya Prada aspired to become a doctor. However, her mother enrolled her in dance and music classes. From age seven, Jaya Prada began training in dance and music.
At age 14, she was introduced by actor Prabhakar Reddy, who gave her the name of Jaya Prada, in the Telugu film industry. She was featured in a three-minute song in the Telugu film Bhoomi Kosam.
After making her debut in Telugu film industry, Jaya Prada soon entered Tamil film industry, followed by Kannada, Hindi, Malayalam, Bengali and Marathi. Yes, Jaya Prada has acted in as many as seven regional film industries.
Legendary director Satyajit Ray had once referred to Jaya Prada as one of the prettiest Indian actresses.
After tasting success down south, Jaya took Bollywood by storm with 'Sargam' in 1979, in which she played a mute dancer. The film was a remake of the Telugu film 'Siri Siri Muvva', in which Jaya had played the same role.
Jaya was highly appreciated for her performance of a dancer in the Amitabh Bachchan starrer super hit 'Sharaabi'.
Since Jaya Prada couldn't speak Hindi, she failed to capitalise on her initial success in Bollywood.
It was in the 1982 hit film Kaamchor opposite Rakesh Roshan that she spoke fluent Hindi for the first time. Kaamchor was a remake of his Telugu film Subhodayam, and the film not only became a superhit, but its songs too were chartbusters.
Her challenging double role in Sanjog that of a mother and daughter is rated amongst her finest performances. The song 'Yashoda Ka Nandalala' is still one of the popular songs by Lata Mangeshkar.
Her film Tohfa, which also starred Jeetendra and Sridevi, was the highest grossing Bollywood film of 1984. Remember the song 'Pyar Ka Tohfa Tera'? The song was from this film!
In 1986, Jaya tied the knot with producer Srikant Nahata. However, her marriage called for controversy as the producer was already married and had children from his first wife.
Jaya Prada joined politics in 1994, at the age of 32. She was earlier with the Telugu Desam Party, but later shifted loyalties to the Samajwadi Party, from which she was expelled in 2010. In March 2019, Jaya Prada joined the Bhartiya Janta Party and announced that she is contesting from Rampur Lok Sabha seat.
Jaya Prada considers politician Amar Singh her 'godfather' but the actress dealt with a lot of negativity regarding her relationship with Singh. She recently went on records to say that people would continue to talk about them even if she tied him a rakhi.
Jaya Prada recently opened up on the controversial morphed photo of hers with Amar Singh. She said she contemplated suicide when her morphed pictures went viral on social media.
Jaya Prada, recounting the controversial phase in her life, said, 'Amar Singh was on dialysis and my morphed pictures were being circulated in the region. I was crying and saying I don't want to live anymore, I want to commit suicide. I was going through that trauma and no one supported me.'
'Only Amar Singh ji, who came out of his dialysis, stood next to me, supported me. What will you think of him? Godfather or someone else? Even if I tie rakhi to him, will people stop talking? I don't care what people say,' asserted Jaya Prada in a recent interview.
Jaya Prada believes it is a 'real war' for a woman to be a politician in 'this male-dominated set-up.' We must admit, the actress-turned-politician has come a long way and her work throughout the years is proof of it.
Here's wishing Jaya Prada a very happy birthday!