Manorama (1926-2008) was a renowned child actor, a villain, a comic actor, and a character actress with a nearly six-decade-long career and over 160 films under her name in the Indian film industry. She is best known for her portrayal of the humorous tyrant aunt in Seeta Aur Geeta (1972) and also starred in other popular films like Ek Phool Do Mali (1969) and Do Kaliyaan (1968).
Manorama was born Erin Issac Daniels on Monday, 16 August 1926 (aged 81; at the time of death) in Lahore, Punjab, British India (Now Lahore, Pakistan). Her zodiac sign is Leo. She learned classical singing and dancing and became a skilled performer. In the 1940s, she performed in shows for the Red Cross in Lahore. When she was nine years old, Roop. K. Shoorey, an established filmmaker, saw her and was spellbound by her performance in a concert at a school in Lahore. With the stage name Manorama given to her by R. K. Shorey, she made her first appearance as a young artist in Khazanchi (1941) and went on to become a widely acclaimed and sought-after actress in Lahore, India (now Lahore, Pakistan).
Height (approx.): 5′ 5″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Manorama’s lineage was a blend of Irish and Indian Christianity.
Parents & Siblings
Manorama’s mother was Irish and her Indian father held a professorship at an engineering college. She had no siblings and was an only child to her parents.
Husband & Children
Manorama was married to Al Nasir, who was born into a royal family in Bhopal. They separated eventually, after which Manorama married Rajan Haksar, both actors and moved to Bombay after India’s partition in 1947. Rajan became a producer and Manorama continued acting. The couple shared a daughter, Rita Haksar. Rita acted in a movie called Suraj aur Chanda with Sanjeev Kumar as the main female character. However, she later got married to an engineer and moved to the Gulf to live there. After being married for a few years, she got separated from her husband.
Manorama began her professional journey as a child performer in Lahore in 1936, using the pseudonym Baby Iris. After that, she started working as an adult in 1941 and appeared in the film Khazanchi (1941).
She worked in films like Champa (1945), Badnaami (1946), Khamosh Nigahen (1946) and Chunariya (1948).
Actor Chandramohan suggested her to producers, and even though she was in a popular Punjabi movie called Lachchi, she was only given the role of Dilip Kumar’s sister in Ghar ki Izzat (1948). After getting married to actor Rajan Haksar, she started playing minor roles and then started portraying villainous or comedic characters. Once her portrayal of a villain onscreen gained popularity she started receiving more such roles and went on to do roles as a comic villain in films such as Dus Lakh (1966), Do Kaliyan (1968), Ek Phool Do Mali (1969), Mehboob Ki Mehendi (1971), Bombay To Goa (1972) and Seta Aur Geeta (1972).
Manorama also acted in a film called Haadsa and it was directed by Akbar Khan in 1983. She also performed in Mahesh Bhatt’s movie called Junoon in 1992, but her part was removed during the editing process. Her last movie was Deepa Mehta’s Water (2005), where she mesmerized Hollywood critics with her performance.
After her success in the film industry, Manorama started working in TV shows and moved to Delhi for five years. She got a job in a TV series called Dastak which also had Shahrukh Khan featuring in it. In around 2001, she collaborated with Balaji Telefilms for their TV shows Kashti and Kundali. She also acted as Hiten Tejwani’s grandmother on the show Kutumb.
Manorama had a stroke in 2007, and even though she got better, she had problems speaking clearly and had other complications. Sadly, she passed away on 15 February 2008 in Charkop, Mumbai.
- Manorama said in an interview that she was the only person considered to play the character Madhumati in the film Water. The making of the film was stopped in Varanasi. After five years, they started making it again, but they changed the entire cast except for her. ((Bollywood.com))
- Manorama got her stage name given to her by Shorey after her performance in her debut film Khazanchi in which she portrayed the character of the same name.
- She often gets mistaken for veteran Tamil actress Aachi Manorama as they both share the same name.
- In an interview with Hindustan Times Deepa Mehta director of the film Water mentioned an incident where during the shoot of the film, Manorama shot and completed the movie despite suffering due to excess heat at 40 degrees in Sri Lanka.
- Manorama was recognized at the Kerala Film Festival in Thiruvananthapuram in 2007 for her contribution to Indian cinema.