Leena Sequeira to Leelavati: A tale of talent and tenacity!


Team Udayavani, Dec 9, 2023, 9:29 AM IST

The captivating journey of Leena Sequeira, born in the quaint village of Mura in Beltangady taluk, has left an indelible mark on the world of Kannada cinema, where she is now celebrated as Leelavati.

Originally named Lina Sequeira, Leelavati’s childhood was marked by the loss of her father. Guided by her Uncle’s daughter, Lucy Sequeira, along with her sister Angelina, Leelavati, embarked on a journey that would eventually make her a renowned actress in Kannada cinema.

In her early years, Leelavati and her sister, known for their intelligence and dancing prowess, earned a living by providing dance training. Raised in a thatched house on the side of the highway, their childhood education took place in the government school merely a few meters away from their home in Mura.

Leelavati’s connection to Belthangadi was strong, as she attended Belthangadi Church until 1955, after which she shifted to Bettu Church. Recognizing her potential, a Muslim acquaintance sent her to Padil in Mangaluru in 1963. At the age of 16-17, Leena Sequeira, now known as Leelavati, began her journey, and her subsequent rise to stardom in the cinematic world is a well-known achievement.

While her sister Angelina Sequeira, a teacher by profession, has passed away, their cousin Lucy Sequeira, aged 93, resides in Berkala, Nittade village, Venur.

In a twist of fate, the house in Mura, where Leelavati once lived, is now occupied by a Muslim family who purchased the property after Lucy sold it and moved to Venur. Despite the physical distance, Leelavati revisited Navarre 25 years ago, paying house taxes and spending time with the family.

Belthangadi taluk has become synonymous with success in the film industry, all thanks to Leena Sequeira’s journey from a Christian girl in Mura to the celebrated actress Leelavati in the world of Kannada cinema.

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