When mom's the world

When mom's the world

From the albums

When mom's the world

This picture was taken in 1962 in Bengaluru during the shooting of ‘Raja Satyavrata,’ in which my mother Prathima Devi was the lead actor.

The film was directed by my father D Shankar Singh. My mother is carrying me in the photograph and I must have been six months old then. Whenever my mother was away for shooting, I would be looked after by her elder sister who was more like a godmother to her.

I also had the luxury of being driven to the shooting location where I would get to spend some time with my mother. In this picture, my mother is decked with a lot of jewellery because she was playing the role of a queen in the movie. I am wearing minimal clothes since it was very hot then.

I was told that I was a very quiet and happy child. Even if I was brought to the shooting location, I wouldn’t trouble my mother but would let her work without a fuss. We were four children and I was the youngest and the only daughter.  I have three older brothers — Rajendra Singh Babu (the oldest), Sangram Singh (who is no more) and Jairaj Singh. I was also the most pampered child.

My mother was a very disciplined person who struck the perfect balance between work and responsibilities at home. Although she was an actor and had a very demanding career, she took care of her children very well.

I still remember that as soon as she would return from work, she would quickly change and rush to the kitchen to cook something special for us. Such was her dedication when we were young and now at the age of 82, she continues to attend to us with the same commitment.

She is also a very calm person who doesn’t show any extreme emotion. I don’t recall her being extremely happy or sad at any point.

 She always maintained a balance of emotions. I lost my father when I was very young and was brought up by my mother. She was strict with me but gave me enough freedom to understand right and wrong.

She would advise me about what was good for me but also gave me the chance to explore, discover and understand things for myself.  She always believed that we should learn from our mistakes. My mother wasn’t overpowering at any point.

My mother was a progressive woman. She was born and raised in Udupi but left her hometown when she was 11 determined to become an actor. She joined the Hirannaiah Mitra Mandali.

She maintained a positive spirit in her younger days and continues to be spirited even today.

In fact, I always wish that I had at least half the energy she does.
I was and still am very close to her. As a child, I never hid anything from her and shared with her the good, bad and ugly moments in my life. This openness is something that I have passed onto my children as well.

Everything that she has done till date inspires me. I wished to become an actor by seeing her.

I began my career in the Kannada film industry 30 years ago with ‘Shriman’ and have come a long way since.  Today, I not only act but have also ventured into production and direction. I will soon be introducing my daughters Vaibhavi, Vainidhi and Vaisiri to the Kannada film industry through my directorial venture ‘Yaanaa.’  My husband Jai Jagdish has been extremely supportive and has been helping me in all aspects of filmmaking.

Heroines may come and go but my favourite heroine will always be my mother.
Vijayalakshmi Singh
(Actor and director)

Vijayalakshmi can be reached on vijayalaksshmisingh@gmail.com
(As told to Nina C George)

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