In her time during the 1970s, Leena Chandavarkar vied for the number
one spot as a heroine in Bollywood and appeared in a whole string of
fluff entertainers with all the top romantic actors of her day. Today,
as an actress she is nearly forgotten. Of her 40 or so films none could
be considered 'classic' yet they typified the light entertainment and
romantic melodrama that fuels the bread and butter of Hindi Popular
Leena Chandavakar possessed that modern freshness and vivacious
youthful energy that was the hallmark of the 'new' Bollywood heroine
that appeared in the late 60s and early 70s. She was modern, yet valued
tradition, sexy, but also a virginal innocent, and as Dinesh Raheja
termed her in his rediff.com profile, "positively perky" and
a "spitfire". She possessed that complete package of the quintessential
Bollywood heroine and captured the imagination of the Hindi movie going
Leena was 'discovered' by the actor/director Sunil
Dutt and he put her under the mentorship of his wife Nargis
to have her groomed for the Bollywood screen. Under Nargis, Leena who
was from the small South Indian city of Karwar was taught Hindi, Bollywood
and Western style dancing, and film acting techniques. She debuted in
the Sunil Dutt film "Man Ka Meet" (1969) opposite Dutt's brother
Som. Som went nowhere but Leena made an impact. Her youthful beauty,
flawless porcelain skin and perky personality more than made up for
her accented Hindi and limited acting skills and she soon rose to the
A-List of Bollywood heroines.
In 1974 Leena married Siddharth Bandodkar and retired from films.
Tragically Siddharth died in an accident early into their marriage.
Later Leena Married Kishore
Kumar and she began acting again, appearing in some films in the
1980s. Her son with Kishore, Sumeet Kumar is now a singer carrying on
in his famous father's shoes. Leena Chandavarkar is still as beautiful
as ever. She lives a domestic and serene life away from the footlights.
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