Where is she? What happened? Being a resident of Houston (Texas, USA), I do miss her as I remember almost a decade back of speaking to her on the phone several times, and my interview with her at her residence in Plano (Texas, USA).
Back in 2004, it was at the Gaylord Texas Resort & Convention Center where the AAHOA (Asian American Hotel Owners Association) Convention was being held, that I met this heroine of ‘Hero’ for the first time.
She was one of the speakers for the Women’s Forum at the convention. The room was packed with fans wanting to see this actress, then after what seemed a long time, she showed up in very casual attire (as if running errands) but her smile and demure personality was eternal.
Life changed for the 80s’ and 90s’ most talked about cine star Meenakshi Sheshadri when she stepped out of her comfort zone. The sensational diva of Bollywood departed her ‘comfort zone’, India, in 1995 and married US-based investment banker Harish Mysore.
“It was not all that easy for me to settle down in the US,” as told by Meenakshi (in the 2004 interview), “belonging from a very indo-centric background, life abroad shook me.”
The journey from Mumbai’s hustle bustle and shooting sets to the isolated locales of Texas was unimaginable. The actress/dancer laughs out aloud on those bygone days when going to India was just an easy escape from reality.
“I just could not relate myself with the US environs,” said Sheshadri.
Facing the stark reality of anonymity juxtaposed to the paparazzi of filmdom, parched Mrs. Mysore to a certain extent. It was not the quest for ovation but a confrontation to try something new.
“Human beings are so used to their routine that it really takes an effort to change,” she said. “I never thought of driving and that was my biggest inhibition. I was so used to my driver and above all I was terribly scared of driving, it took me almost three years to plunge onto the freeway,” confessed Meenakshi.
“This three-year-old dance school goes beyond teaching dance. It is an assembly of talented dancers, a voluntary body to enhance multi-culture, revealing the best talent of people of all ages,” she had informed.
However, I have tried calling the dance school several times and with the same response – “no longer in service”. I had also requested a follow up interview last year and got an email back from her associate that she was no longer doing any interviews with media.
Being level headed, Meenakshi easily gained love and affection not only from her family members, but the Indian community in Dallas nurtured her dedicated efforts. Meenakshi’s potential as an actress was tremendous, she gave the Indian film industry several super hits like ‘Hero’, ‘Damini’, ‘Ghayal’ and the list goes on. With a combination of good looks and dancing abilities the actress was never thirsty for big banners.
Harish’s sister played a central part in introducing the two while in India and thus started the eternal love story. From being the heartthrob of millions to becoming the mommy next door, Meenakshi was one of the actresses who I really enjoyed interviewing.
She kept in touch with me, we spoke several times till around 2006, she came across as a good friend who cherishes every moment of her life. Meenakshi accumulated success in terms of quality and not quantity. Her priorities during our last interview became very clear – “Family is everything for me,” she had told me.
Today all I have are many beautiful memories of her, my interview sessions, long telephone chats, exchanging stories with her and the few pictures that she shared with me.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to get in contact with her school or the actress herself and nobody seems to have any information. I hope she and her family are well and I hope you join me in wishing Meenakshi all the best!
Update from Soumyadipta Banerjee:
Don’t try looking for Meenakshi Sheshadri in Texas anymore. She has since shifted to Washington DC with her husband and son. Her daughter is studying elsewhere in the US. Still very reclusive, she hasn’t restarted her dance school in Washington.
A follower of this blog also confirmed on Twitter that she has shifted to Washington. Here’s the tweet.
— Dr Kazi Hussain (@DrKaziHussain) August 5, 2014
If you are wondering how she looks now, here’s her current photograph. The photo was also mailed to me by a follower. The photo was clicked when she was on a trip to India. Thank you so much for the photo, dear Gee.