Lakshmi was born and brought up in Chennai. Her father’s name is Yaragudipati Varada Rao, a veteran Telugu filmmaker and her mother’s name is Kumari Rukmini, who was a Tamil actress. Lakshmi’s grandmother Nungambakkam Janaki was also an actress. Lakshmi’s parents were divorced, when she was 2 years old. Then her mother moved to the United States to escape from the divorce stigma in India. Lakshmi lived with her grandparents for two years, then she started living with her mother in the USA. Later, both of her parents were remarried and Lakshmi has a half-brother and a half-sister on her father’s side. She grew up in Los Angeles with her mother and stepfather. But she used to visit India on a regular basis for several months each year to visit family. Lakshmi had a car crash, at the age of 14, which changed her life.
Lakshmi started acting in the film, at the age of nine. She debuted in the Tamil film with Sri Valli in 1961, under the direction of T. R. Ramanna, in which was played a young role of Valli in the.
Lakshmi is known as a successful and popular actress in the South Indian film industry in the 1970s. She acted in all four major South Indian languages, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada. She made her debut in the Malayalam film with Chattakkari in 1974, under the direction of K. S. Sethumadhavan. She gave an excellent performance in this film and won the Kerala State Film Award for The Best Actress. Chattakkari ran continuously for 40 weeks in Bangalore theater. The was a remade in Hindi as Julie (1975). She is a very versatile actress and gave one of the best performances.
Lakshmi appeared in many other Malayalam films, after the success of her in the film Chattakkari. Later she acted in Chalanum opposite KPAC Lalitha, under the direction of NR Pillai and then acted in Mohiniyottam. In both films, she gave a brilliant performance and won the Filmfare Best Actress Award. She acted in many successful films opposite many famous actors like Nithya Haritha Nayakan, Kamal Haasan, Mohan Sharma, MG Soman, Mammooty, Dr. Rajkumar. She acted with almost all the major actors and superstars of South India.
Even after Lakshmi’s success in the Hindi film Julie, she didn’t act in many Hindi films and instead always concentrated on doing more South Indian films. She acted in Sila Nerangalil Sila Manithargal, directed by A. Bhimsingh in 1976 and for her performance in this film, she won the National Film Award for Best Actress.
In the 1980s, when Lakshmi’s career as a leading lady ended, she appeared in several films as a supporting actress.
Lakshmi was married thrice. Her first marriage in 1969 to Bhaskar, a Malayali, her second marriage was with Mohan Sharma in 1975. Later, she married K. S. Sivachandran, an actor, and director in 1989.
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