Jamuna (1936-2023) was a veteran Indian actress, director, and politician. She was known for working predominantly in the Telugu film industry. She was a member of the Indian National Congress, and later, she supported the members of the BJP. In 2023, she died of age-related ailments at the age of 86.
Jamuna Ramana Rao YouTube – 9sTV India was born as Jana Bai on Sunday, 30 August 1936 (age 86 years; at the time of death) in Hampi, Madras Presidency, British India (now Karnataka, India). Her zodiac sign was Virgo. When Jamuna was 7 years old, her family moved to Duggirala in the Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh, India. She did her schooling in Duggirala, where Kongara Jaggaiah, a veteran Indian actor, lyricist, and politician, was her school teacher. She completed her high school education by taking tuition privately. YouTube – Friday Poster Channel She used to perform on stage at school. An Indian actress, Savitri, introduced Jamuna to the film industry and invited her to act in films, when she stayed at Jamuna’s home for performing a drama in Duggirala, Andhra Pradesh.
Height (approx.): 5′ 5″
Weight (approx.): 75 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
She belongs to a Kannada family in Duggirala, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Parents & Siblings
Her father, Nippani Srinivasa Rao, used to do a business of turmeric and tobacco. Her mother’s name was Kowsalya Devi. Her father belonged to Madhva Brahmin, and her mother was a Vaishya. The couple had an intercaste love marriage. She had a sister.
Husband & Children
In 1965, she got married to Juluri Ramana Rao, a zoology professor at SV University in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. On 10 November 2014, he died of cardiac arrest at the age of 86.
The couple had 2 children; a daughter named Sravanthi Juluri, who is a painter, and a son named Vamsee Juluri, who is a professor of media studies at the University of San Francisco in San Francisco, California, United States.
At the age of 15, she began acting in films. Reportedly, Garikipati Raja Rao, a filmmaker, watched her acting in the stage show ‘Maa Bhoomi’ in school and cast her for acting in the 1952 Telugu film ‘Puttillu.’ In an interview, she revealed that Garikipati Raja Rao came to see Jamuna’s acting in ‘Maa Bhoomi’ drama as he had heard a lot about her acting and cast her in the film ‘Puttillu’ because she resembled veteran Indian actress Nargis. She said,
I was only a teenager when Raja Rao came to Duggirala from Rajahmundry looking for me because he had heard I was a good actress. He saw me perform and asked a photographer to take pictures of me with no makeup on. I was signed for ‘Puttilu’ because they thought I looked like Nargis. I earned Rs 500 per month for the project. The film didn’t work because Raja Rao was much older than me, but I clicked.” The Times of India
In 1952, she debuted with the film ‘Puttillu.’
In 1954, she worked in the film ‘Maa Gopi’ directed by B. S. Ranga. She played the role of Santha in the 1955 film ‘Bangaru Papa.’ In 1956, she played the role of Kamala in the political drama film ‘Tenali Ramakrishna.’ In 1958, she appeared as Mandodari in the Hindu mythological film ‘Bhookailas.’ She appeared as Subhadra in the 1964 film based on the Battle of Bobbili titled ‘Bobbili Yuddham.’
In 1954, she debuted with the film ‘Panam Paduthum Padu.’
She played the role of Sita in the 1955 romantic comedy film ‘Missiamma.’ In 1957, she appeared as Amutha in the adventure film ‘Thangamalai Ragasiyam.’ She was cast to play the role of Leela in the 1958 comedy film ‘Kadan Vaangi Kalyaanam.’ In 1961, she played the role of princess Rathna in the swashbuckler film ‘Marutha Nattu Veeran.’ In 1973, she was cast in lead roles as Rani Malini Devi and Kamala in the film ‘Anbu Sagodharargal.’ In 1983, she appeared as Anu in the film ‘Thoongathey Thambi Thoongathey.’
In 1955, she debuted with the film ‘Aadarsha Sathi.’ She worked in the 1957 film ‘Rathnagiri Rahasya.’ In 1971, she played the role of Uma in the drama film ‘Sakshatkara.’ In 1979, she worked in the film ‘Mayeya Musuku.’ She worked in the 1980 film Guru ‘Sarvabhowma Sri Raghavendra Karune.’ In 1991, she was cast in a supporting role in the action film ‘Police Matthu Dada.’
In 1957, she debuted with the comedy film ‘Miss Mary.’
In 1963, she worked in two films titled ‘Ek Raaz’ and ‘Hamrahi.’ She played the role of Lakshmi in the 1963 film ‘Beti Bete.’ She was cast to play the role of Kalpana in the 1965 film ‘Rishte Nate.’ In 1967 she played the role of Gouri in the film ‘Milan,’ which was the remake of the hit Telugu film ‘Mooga Manasulu.’ In 1974, she was cast in the film ‘Dulhan’ in which she played the role of Padma. In 1990, she worked in the film ‘Lady Tarzan.’
In the 1980s, she joined the Congress party. In 1989, she became a member of the Lok Sabha from the Rajahmundry constituency. In 1991, she again contested the Lok Sabha elections; however, she lost the elections. Later, she quit politics for a few years. In the late 1990s, she campaigned for BJP leader Bandaru Dattatreya for a brief period of time during the tenure of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Faced Backlash for Kicking NTR
In 1965, Jamuna was cast to play the role of Satyabhama opposite famous actor Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (NTR), who played the role of Krishna in the Telugu film ‘Sri Krishna Tulabharam.’ In one of the scenes in the film, Jamuna kicked NTR, which was not acceptable to the fans of NTR and criticised Jamuna for doing so. In an interview, she talked about the scene and said that it was just acting and her role demanded her to act like that and felt bad about kicking him. She said,
I had a soft corner for both Lord Krishna and NTR. I had prayed to Krishna to make me a star, and NTR was one of the few actors who respected women a lot. In the song ‘O Cheli Kopama’ from ‘Sri Krishna Tulabharam,’ I had to kick him, and I felt so bad that I apologised profusely after the scene. “Aaha em paravaledu (it’s all right), after all, it’s acting,” he replied in his baritone, making me feel better.” The Times of India
Awards & Honours
- 1968: Won Best Supporting Actress Award at Filmfare Awards for the 1967 Hindi film Milan
- 1972: Won Special Jury Award at Filmfare Awards South for the 1972 Telugu film ‘Pandanti Kapuram’
- 1999: Honoured with MGR Award at the Tamil Nadu State Film Awards
- 2008: Honoured with NTR National Award by the government of Andhra Pradesh
- 2010: Received Lifetime Achievement Award with Padma Bhushan B. Saroja Devi National Award
- 2019: Received Santosham Lifetime Achievement Award at the 17th Santosham Film Awards
On 27 January 2023, she died at her residence in Hyderabad due to age-related ailments at the age of 86. The Indian Express
- Jamuna’s mother tongue was Telugu; however, she has done films in Tamil, Kannada, and Hindi languages.
- She was trained by her mother in vocal music and playing the harmonium.
- Jamuna along with actress Savitri organised an exhibition of toys, which is traditionally called ‘Bommala Koluvu.’
- According to sources, when Jamuna’s parents were searching for a husband for her, they published a matrimonial advertisement in various newspapers to find a suitable match for their daughter, especially IAS, IPS, professors, and highly educated professionals.
- In an interview, she shared that she quit acting when she began to receive roles of elderly women. She wanted to be remembered for her glamour as an ‘andala tara’ (beautiful star). She said,
My contemporaries today play ammama and nanamma roles; I never wanted to do that. I stopped acting when the kind of roles being offered to me began to change. I want to be remembered for my glamour as an andala tara (beautiful star). I have looked glamorous on-screen through the years, and apart from my acting, aa image, ala undipote bavuntundi.” The Times of India
- She owned a movie theatre in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh.
- Reportedly, Jamuna was banned from working with actors Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (NTR) and Akkineni Nageswara Rao (ANR) for more than 3 years due to ego clashes. Later, she began to work with actor Harnath. In an interview, she talked about her being boycotted from working with NTR and ANR and said,
ANR was always playful and never took anything too seriously. But he once unofficially boycotted me for three years because I demanded the same respect and pay he and NTR got. It was a difference of opinion. I went on to act with younger heroes like Ramanamurthy and Sridhar. But my pairing with ANR was such a hit; Nagi Reddy, Chakrapani and KV Reddy brought me back into the fold for ‘Gundamma Katha.'” The Times of India
- According to sources, she once walked out from the shooting of a film, when she found out that her opposite actor Harnath was drunk on the set of the film.