(Last Updated on : 12/03/2012)
Molina Devi was a prominent actress of Indian theatre
and immensely contributed to the betterment of Bengali theatre. She was trained in acting by Aparesh Chandra Mukhopadhyay
, she debuted in a silent movie as an 8-year-old. She began her stage career, like many of those times, as a dancing girl in the mythological and historical Bengali theatre
of the 1920s. After that she won promotion to the roles of young boys, like Dara mjahangir in 1929, before finally gaining the status to act heroines. She grew more famous and popular as a cine actress and her engagements in films, both Bengali and Hindi, became more frequent than those on stage. In movies she created an array of characters that offered excellent contrast and variety. She acted rescued wife in Abhijnan or 'Recognition' in 1938, the heroine in Rajat-Jayanti or "Rajat and Jayanti", the kind sister-in-law in Ramer sumati or "Lord Rama
's Good Sense' in 1947. She changed her role before getting typecast in matronly parts. Still, she always convinced, even in the most banal portrayal.
Her role of Rani Rashmoni
in the play Jugadebata or "Deity of the Age" in 1948 was the precursor of several devotional characterizations in which she later became typified. She teamed up with Gurudas Bandyopadhyay, her second husband, to form a troupe, M. G. Enterprise, which specialized in commercial productions of devotional drama where he enacted Ramakrishna
and other holy men. She made quite a stir as the lead in the Bengali version of Gorky's Mother in 1952. While she never failed in tearjerkers, spontaneity and innovation marked her comic acting. Molina Devi was a gifted singer. She released several discs and recorded for the radio. Highly respected by her colleagues, she took an important part in forming the Mahila Silpi Mahal, which, apart from various welfare activities for female artists, often staged plays with all-women casts. She also involved herself in other artists' organizations as well.
Molina Devi died in the year 1977.