Amala Shankar (Bengali: অমলা শংকর; née Nandy, 27 June 1919 – 24 July 2020) was an Indian danseuse. She was the widow of dancer and choreographer Uday Shankar and mother of musician Ananda Shankar and actress Mamata Shankar and sister-in-law of musician and composer Ravi Shankar. Amala Shankar acted in the film Kalpana written, co-produced and directed by husband Uday Shankar. She died on Friday, July 24, 2020 in West Bengal’s Kolkata, India. She was 101 years old.
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Amala Shankar was born as Amala Nandy in 1919. Her father Akhoy Kumar Nandy wanted his children to be interested in nature and villages. In 1931, when she was 11 years old she went to the International Colonial Exhibition in Paris. Here she met Uday Shankar and his family. Amala at that time was wearing a frock. Uday Shankar's mother Hemangini Devi gave her a Saree to wear. She joined Uday Shankar's dance troupe and performed across the world.
Uday Shankar and Amala Shankar in 1941
In 1939 when she was staying in Chennai with Uday Shankar's dance group, one day came to Amala at night and gave her marriage proposal. Uday Shankar married Amala in 1942. Their first son Ananda Shankar was born in December, 1942. Their daughter Mamata Shankar was born in January, 1955. Uday Shankar and Amala Shankar was a popular dance couple for a long time. But, later Uday Shankar was romantically involved with a young girl of his troupe and he produced Chandalika without Amala. Uday Shankar died in 1977. The last few years, the couple lived separately. As of 2012 Amala Shankar is still active and has kept Shankar gharana alive with her daughter Mamata and daughter-in-law Tanushree Shankar. She is the sister-in-law of Ravi Shankar, who was a Sitarist.
Main article: Kalpana (1948 film)
Kalpana, 1948 film showing Uday Shankar and Amala Shankar
Amala Shankar acted in the film Kalpana (1948). The film was written, co-producedand directed by Uday Shankar, who also appeared in the film. Amala played the character of Uma. Amala Shankar attended 2012 Cannes Film Festival where the film was screened. Amala Shankar told in an interview–
"2012 Cannes Film Festival... I was the youngest film star at the Cannes Film Festival... I am revisiting Cannes after a span of 81 years..."
Lakshmi Kanta, Uday Shankar
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