Anjali Devi (24 August 1927 – 13 January 2014) was a Telugu & Tamil actress and producer. She was well known for her role as the mythological Sita in Lava Kusha as well as for the titular roles in movies like Suvarna Sundari and Anarkali.
Anjali Devi was born in Peddapuram, East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh, India,as Anjani Kumari. She changed her name to Anjani Kumari when acting in dramas. Later, director C. Pullaiah changed her name to Anjali Devi.
She was a theatre artiste before venturing into movies. Her debut film role was as Lohitasya in Raja Harishchandra in 1936. Her first movie as a heroine was Kashtajeevi by L. V. Prasad in 1940, but that movie was abandoned after three reels shooting. Later, C.Pullayya discovered her and give her the opportunity to star as Mohini in Gollabhama. Based on her acting ability and looks, she became a star overnight in 1947. She eventually acted in more than 350 Telugu films and a few Tamil and Kannada films as the heroine.
In 1936 she appeared in a minor role in Raja Harishchandra and then played the lead role in L. V. Prasad’s Kashtajeevi. She acted in Lava Kusha, a milestone film and the first color film in the Telugu film industry in 1963. She is well known for playing Sita in Lava Kusha and her performances in films like Suvarna Sundari and Anarkali were also appreciated. She has acted in nearly 500 films, which includes Telugu, Tamil and Kannada language films. Brundavanam (1992), Anna Vadina (1993) and Police Alludu (1994) were the last few films of her career. In Balaiah’s Police Alludu and Anna Vadina she appeared alongside Brahmanandam. She acted in various roles, such as a damsel, angel, dancer, demon, goddess, traditional woman and later in mother roles.
In 1955 she produced the film Anarkali, in which she herself played the titular role of Anarkali, with Akkineni Nageswara Rao as Prince Salim. Then she produced V. Madhusudan Rao’s Bhakta Tukaram and Chandipriya. Bollywood and Tollywood actress Jayapradha played the lead role in her film Chandipriya alongside Shobhan Babu and Chiranjeevi. As a producer she has produced 27 films. She was an ardent devotee of Sathyasai Baba. She produced a tele-serial on Sathyasai.
She married P. Adinarayana Rao, a music director, in 1940.They settled in Chennai. They have two sons. Together, they produced many Telugu films under the banner, Anjali Pictures. Their granddaughter, Saila Rao, is also an actress.
She died at the age of 86 on 13 January 2014 at Vijaya Hospital, in Chennai, having donated her organs to Ramachandra Medical College.