indian cinema heritage foundation

Kamal Roy

  • Primary Cinema: Hindi

Actress Kamal Roy is known for playing supporting roles in films such as Fareb (1968), Anamika (1973), Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973), Chor Machaye Shor (1974), Dus Numbri (1976), and Aap Beati (1976), among others. She is perhaps best known for her impactful role as the evil witch in Veerana (1988), which is still remembered by audiences. She also featured as a vamp in several films in the 1970s.   

Reportedly of Anglo-Indian descent, she started out as a junior artist in the 1970s, appearing in a series of small roles. Her breakthrough came with her performance in Bobby (1973), in which she essayed one of the friends of the hero. The film, directed by Raj Kapoor, was a thumping hit. The plot revolved around Raj (Rishi Kapoor), the son of strict, wealthy parents, who falls in love with Bobby (Dimple Kapadia), the daughter of a poor Christian fisherman -- a romance his parents oppose.

After that she featured in supporting roles in other films with the Kapoor brothers like the Shammi Kapoor-starrer Manoranjan (1974), Ponga Pandit (1975) which starred Randhir Kapoor, and Aap Beati (1976) starring Shashi Kapoor

She was also frequently seen as the female interest of villains like Madan Puri in numerous films. 

Interestingly, one of Roy’s biggest roles came when she played Mata Lakshmi in the devotional Bhagwan Samaye Sansar Mein (1976). Directed by Satish Kumar, the plot revolved around Devrishi Narad informing Bhagwan Shri Vishnu of atrocities committed by Mahaant on low caste untouchables. Narad is told that a devotee by the name of Eknath has already been born in Paithan, the grandson of Chakrapani, who will ensure equality for all. Eknath turns out to be precocious and is sent out to Janardhan Swami's ashram. Years later he returns, weds his childhood sweetheart, Girija, visits the Char Dhams (Dwarka, Badrinath, Jaggannath Puri and Rameshwaram) and sets out to do his fated task much to Mahaant and the Jagirdar Amar's chagrin - who arrest and put him behind bars.

In 1988, she featured in the Ramsay brothers’ Veerana, which won her considerable attention for her role as the murderous witch.  A supernatural horror thriller drama, the film is set in an old village terrorised by a witch named Nakita (Kamal Roy). The film follows the story of two brothers - Thakur Mahender Pratap Singh (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) and Sameer Pratap (Vijayendra Ghatge). The witch seduces men with her charm and then kills them. After a series of deaths, the two brothers take matters into their own hands to save the villagers from the witch. They manage to kill the witch; however, Nakita returns from the dead after years, and this time she targets Jasmin (Jasmin Dhunna), the daughter of Thakur Mahender Pratap. The brothers need to be able to defeat the witch again and save their family. 

It is said that when she saw herself in the mirror for the first time in make-up for her role, Roy screamed in fright. She reportedly wanted to quit the film; it took considerable convincing from the Ramsay brothers to ensure she stayed on and shot for the film. Her presence and performance played a key role in the film’s success. The film was a blockbuster at the box office; one of the big hits of 1988. However, the success of the film did not boost her career in any way. Nor did she feature in any more Ramsay films, despite the filmmakers being known for repeating their artistes in successive films. 

Her final performance was in Teen Moti (1995) as the main villain. This Ajit Dewani directorial starred Rashid Khan, Ashok Tyagi, and Shabbir Khan, in a plot that revolved around three young men who enter a royal palace, where each of them claims that they are the real prince of the palace who was lost in childhood.

According to unconfirmed reports, Kamal Roy lives in Bandra with her grandchildren.



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