Anita Guha: “Women used to put their new born in my arms to seek blessings!”

‘Wo Bhooli Dastaan Lo Phir Yaad Aa gayi….

This soul stirring song from the movie SANJOG (1961) staring legendary actress Anita Guha, (popularly recognized as Santoshi Maa for her role in JAI SANTOSHI MAA) suits aptly to recall the actress but today nobody remembers her.

June 20 marks the death anniversary of Anita Guha, Raaga.Com pays her homage and enlightens the younger generation about this unsung starlet. 

Anita Guha, ruled Bollywood in the 50’s and 60’s in hit movies like GOONJ UTHI SHAHNAI,DEKH KABIRA ROYA, SHARADA and the most memorable of them all JAI SANTOSHI MAA which has immortalized her in the annals of Indian cinema.

Winner of ‘Miss Kolkata’ crown in the early 1950’s Anita Guha came into filmdom after excelling as the number one contestant in the talent hunt competition ‘Kardar-Kolynos Talent Contest’ held in Mumbai in 1952. Readers would be surprised to know that ‘Kardar-Kolynos Talent Contest’ was a joint effort by Bollywood and Hollywood to search budding talent for film industry. It was organized by Bollywood filmmaker A.R.Kardar’s ‘Kardar Studio’ and Hollywood’s ‘Lee Kamarin’. 

Though Anita Guha did many successful films both commercial and B-grade action thrillers but it she won stardom in mythological movies beginning with SAMPOORNA RAMAYANA, which made her a household name as Devi Sita. 

Later with ‘JAI SANTOSHI MAA’ she literally began to be looked upon as goddess. In an interview Anita Guha said, “The movie had such a tremendous impact upon the viewers that it became difficult for me to step out because wherever I went people thronged in large number to touch my feet.” She added, “I began to be recognized as Santoshi Maa and what was most embarrassing is that women used to bring their new born babies and put them in my arms to seek blessings!” 

Interestingly readers would be amazed to know that though Anita Guha immortalized the character of SantoshI Maa on the silver but in real life she was the devotee of Devi Kali Maa!!!