Sharada, a Telugu Padmashali, was born as Saraswati Devi in Tenali, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India. Her parents Venkateswar Rao and Sachyavathi Devi belonged to a family of agriculturalists. She has a brother, namely Mohan Rao. Sharada was sent to Madras in her childhood to live with her grandmother Kanakamma. Sharada describes her grandmother as a strict disciplinarian who in the later days wouldn’t even let the heroes touch her and allowed rehearsals only on Sundays. Sharada started to learn dance when she was six. She used to perform during Dasara and other temple festivals. It was because of her mother's desire that she learned to dance. Her mother wanted her to become a big star in the cine field. Though Sharada's father was not too interested in the idea, he didn't stop her either.
Sharada married Chalam, a famous Telugu hero, producer, and comedian. Chalam was the co-star of her debut film Tandrulu Kodukulu.
In 1959, she began her career as Sharada. The change in name was attributed to the presence of a few other actors in the industry with the name Saraswati. She came under contract to L.V. Prasad, a Telugu producer. Though she didn't get to act in any of his films, she got her formal training in acting under him, including the Navarasa lessons. She largely attributes her performances and growth in the field to this training. Her first break came with the Akkineni Nageswara Rao starrer Iddaru mithril, which was a major hit. Noted for the role in the film, she got chances from Tamil and Malayalam films as well. The year 1965 changed her career as Sharada carved her niche for herself in the Malayalam film industry with her performances in Shakuntala, Murappennu, Kattu Thulasi, and Inapravukal. After that, she focused on Malayalam films, acting only a few roles in other languages. Recognition came in 1967 in the form of a national honorary award for her performances in various films of 1966 including Iruttinte Athamavu. The award was the predecessor to the National Film Award for Best Actress, which was instituted in 1968. In 1969, she won her first National Film Award for Best Actress for her performance in Thulabharam. She went on to win the award 2 more times, for Swayamvaram (1972, Malayalam) and Nimajjanam (1978, Telugu). She also won the Kerala State Film Awards for Best Actress one time.
Later she saw success in Telugu films in protagonist roles. She was so popular that she did lead roles in films starring most of the successful heroes of Telugu film industry. Post-1993, she became choosy and did only a few films. Her major films off late were Mazhathullikkilukkam (2002, Malayalam), Rappakal (2005, Malayalam) and Stalin (film) (2006, Telugu). She owns a chocolate factory named Lotus Chocolates. She was elected as Member of Parliament on Telugu Desam Party ticket from her native town of Tenali.
Innocent Vareed Thekkethala (1948-2023) , a veteran Malayalam actor, the scrupulous politician and the former MP of Loksabha as well. In his career extending more than five decades, he performed in more than 750 films and is concerned one of the iconic comedian in Malayala cinema as well as few Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and English films.
National Award-winning actor Nedumudi Venu died at the age of 73 at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday. He had been in a critical condition for some time due to liver-related ailments.