Tollywood woke up to the news of the death of veteran actor and former parliamentarian J Jamuna on Friday, 27 January.
The 86-year-old actor died at her residence in Hyderabad due to age-related issues.
Born in Hampi, Karnataka, on 30 August, 1936, as Jana Bai, Jamuna debuted in the tinsel world with the Telugu film Puttilu in 1953. Her breakthrough, however, came with Missamma, two years later.
Post-Missamma, there was no looking back for Jamuna, who ruled the industry in the 1960s and 1970s. She acted alongside legends such as NT Rama Rao, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Dr Rajkumar, Krishna Ghattamaneni, Shobhan Babu, Krishnam Raju, and others.
Jamuna acted in more than 150 movies in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Hindi during the golden era of films. Her passing away has left an eternal void in the film industry.
She also had a brief stint as a Lok Sabha member, when she was elected from the Rajahmundry (now Rajamahedravaram) constituency as the Congress candidate in 1989.
For actor Sumalatha Ambareesh, the passing away of Jamuna is an irreparable loss of a motherly figure.
Speaking to South First, Sumalatha said it was Jamuna who predicted her future as an actor. “Jamuna ma’am crowned me as the queen at a beauty pageant 43 years ago. I was just 15 years old then,” the Lok Sabha MP from Mandya in Karnataka recalled.
“That’s not all, it was she who predicted my future as an actress at the very same event, saying that I will have a bright future soon,” Sumalatha said.
Jamuna’s prediction soon became a reality. “She came to bless me when I started my journey as an actress,” she reminisced.
Sumalatha recalled a fond memory. “We were traveling from Chennai to Hyderabad by train. During our conversation, she recollected her prediction. I still remember her saying, ‘See, it was me who told you that you will be an actress soon.’ She was so kind-hearted that she hand-fed me during our journey.”
“Whenever Jamuna ma’am met Ambareesh, she would always remind him about it,” Sumalatha said.
The Mandya MP said that all of those incidents seemed to have happened just yesterday. “I could never act with her since she had stopped acting by the time I entered the industry.”
Sumalatha could not meet Jamuna after she became active in politics.
“I was looking for her contact a few months ago. We would often meet during celebration parties organised by B Saroja Devi Amma. I now regret not talking to her,” she shared her experience.
The parliamentarian said Jamuna’s Mooga Manasulu, which was also made in Hindi and won several awards, is her favoruite.
Sumalatha’s other favourite is the Kannada classic Sakshatkara, directed by Puttanna Kanagala. Jamuna acted with Dr Rajkumar in the movie.