Leena Chandravarkar, who was a prominent face in the film industry in the 70s, had a very interesting life with ups and downs. After working in advertisements, she later foraged her way into Bollywood and soon became a very sought-after actress. In 1968, she made her way into the Hindi film industry with Sunil Dutt’s film Maan Ka Meet, where she shared screen space with Rajesh Khanna.
Chandravarkar has a career spanning over many years and arrays of sectors – she has starred in reality shows, is a songwriter, and also won the Fresh Face Competition as the runners-up, organised by Filmfare. This was the win which changed her career trajectory forever. However, today, we stumbled on some lesser-known facts about her that makes her life more gripping for us.
1. Chandravarkar won the Fresh Face Competition when she was just 15. Interestingly, she came runners-up to Rajesh Khanna and Farida Jalal.
2. During her first film Maan Ka Meet, it was actress Nargis who groomed her. Chandravarkar was from Karnataka, and her Hindi accent was not fit for the screen. Nargis taught her Hindi and driving. She soon went on to become one of the successful actresses.
3. At the age of 25, Chandravarkar had an arranged marriage with Siddharth Bandodkar, who came from a prominent Goan political family. However, a few days into the marriage, Siddharth died from a gunshot wound and left the actress widowed.
4. After a few years, she met Kishore Kumar on the sets of the 1973 film Manchali. They soon got married, but her father did not agree to the marriage. Kumar had already married thrice before and Chandravarkar’s father was not convinced if he was a fit groom for her daughter. However, he soon came onboard and welcomed Kumar in the family.
5. Kumar passed away in 1987, leaving her again a widow at the age of 37. She has a son with Kumar – Sumit Kumar.
6. She is 70 now and currently stays with son Sumit, step son Amit and his wife.
7. She appeared in the reality show K For Kishore in 2007.
Chandravarkar’s life is a plethora of struggles and success. The actress is celebrated for her performances in films such as Manchali, Qaid, Bidaai, Bairaag, Anhonee and Humjoli, among others. She was last seen in the 1989 film Mamta Ki Chhao Mein. She keeps making appearances in several reality shows, till date.