1980s Bollywood masala has been called a kitsch violent affair,
full of stock revenge dramas with bad clothes and even worse hair. Comely
village lass heroines were often abducted and brutalized by evil villains
only to be saved by the heroes macho heroics. The heroine danced in village
festivals, or was forced by circumstance to perform a cabaret item number.
Heroines of the 1980s were feisty, simple, and long suffering. They were
good girls with great bodies. No matter the trials, tribulations, and
humiliation they were put through, and it was often for the titillation
of a voyeuristic audience, even if their clothes were soiled and torn,
their faces, remained simple and pure. One actress above the others exemplified
this model of the 1980s masala revenge drama heroine, that was Padmini
Padmini Kolhapure was 'discovered' by Raj Kapoor and had her break
through role in his film"Satyam Shivam Sundaram" . However Padmini
had already been a popular child star known as Baby Padmini before "Satyam
Shivam Sundaram" thrust her into the spotlight at the tender age of 12
years old. When one considers her age Padmini was a phenomenon,
she won her two Filmfare acting awards for Best Supporting Actress in
"Insaaf Ka Tarazu"  and Best Actress for "Prem Rog"
 when she was 13 and 15 years of age respectively.
Padmini though is best remembered as one of the queens of 1980s
masala entertainers and was a favorite of the frontbenchers, the masses
of Indian viewers who bought tickets to see Padmini and Mithun in an
endless stream of passtime revenge dramas.
Padmini Kolhapure's acting career spanned the 1980s and in a way
she defined the look and semiotics of the film heroine of that garish
and loud decade. During the making of the film "Aisa Pyar Kahan"
she met her future husband Tutu Sharma and at the age of 22 after marrying
him Padmini officially 'retired' from films.
Today Padmini is active in both India and the United States fronting
many film related ventures from acting schools to film production. Padmini
is still not even 40 years old and it is incredible to think that she
is considered a 'yesteryear' film star of a bygone nostalgic era of Bollywood.
Occasionally she still makes an appearance in films and television.
One amusing Padmini anecdote was when Prince Charles visited India
in 1980. At an event he met with some famous people and Padmini Kolhapure
created a media scandal by giving him a peck on the cheek.
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