Manju Singh was a veteran Indian actress, producer, showbiz personality, and one of the pioneers of television content in India, Popularly known as didi, she was also the founder and chairperson at WorldKids.
Manju Singh was born on Monday, 20 December 1948 (age 73 years; at the time of death). Her zodiac sign was Sagittarius.
Height (approx.): 5′ 4″
Hair Colour: Brown
Eye Colour: Brown
Manju had three children. She had 2 daughters, Suparna and Shalini. She also had a son, Gautam.
Manju Singh began her career with the first sponsored programme on the small screen, ‘Show Time’, in 1983. She went ahead to produce various TV shows, ranging from serials to children’s shows and chose various topics such as spiritual concept to activism in the early era of coloured telecast. She highlighted national, social, and cultural issues in her shows. She produced a docu-drama series Adhikar, which was based on women’s legal rights. Her show Ek Kahani was based on literary short stories from several regional languages. She also produced the impeccably researched historical serial Swaraj to commemorate fifty years of Indian Independence. She hosted the kids’ show ‘Khel Khilone’ which ran for around 7 years.
Manju Singh was introduced to acting by eminent filmmaker, Hrishikesh Mukherjee. He offered her the role of Ratna Sharma, the sister of the main lead Ramprasad D. Sharma (Amol Palekar) in his film, Golmaal, in 1979. She enacted several roles in films such as ‘Hanky Panky’ (1979), ‘Ladies Tailor’ (1981), and ‘Screen Two’ (1985). She started by playing the character of a sister and gradually, went ahead to play the role of a grandmother. She also produced the film, Samyaktva: True Insight, which was based on the relevance of spirituality and ancient Indian wisdom in the 21st century.
Founder of WorldKids Foundation
In 2007, Manju Singh found the WorldKids Foundation with the motto of ‘Entertainment With a Purpose’, which is a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to encourage children to form healthy opinions on important issues through the medium of films.
The foundation organises global children’s film festivals to provide aid in making the educational films reach the classrooms. It screens children’s films at the NCPA on the first Saturday of every month. According to Manju, children’s films don’t have to be unnecessarily preachy or frivolous. In an interview, she said,
As mothers, we have the power to influence our children positively. We are hoping that our efforts will create awareness about critical subjects and encourage women to play a more constructive role in shaping the younger generation’s values”
Manju was also the chairperson of the WorldKids Foundation, which collaborated with Women without Borders, an Austrian organisation that works for world peace and communal harmony by involving local women in its projects globally. She advocated the usage of media to encourage a better social environment. In an interview, she said,
The idea is to encourage women to fight against violent extremism by instilling in their families the idea of a peaceful and non-violent world. It is our belief that if mothers themselves adhere to values like tolerance and understanding of world cultures, we will be able to create a fair, just and unprejudiced world”
Manju Singh left for her heavenly abode on Thursday, 14 April 2022. Reportedly, she passed away in Mumbai due to cardiac arrest. In a media announcement, her family stated,
With profound grief, we inform you about the demise of our Manju Singh. She lived a beautiful and inspiring life, devoted to her family and her craft. From ‘Manju Didi’ to ‘Manju Nani’ she will be truly missed by all,”
In an interview, Manju Singh’s elder daughter clarified the cause of her demise. She said,
She passed away due to a stroke at around 10 am on Thursday at her residence”
Her last rites were performed on Saturday, 16 April 2022 as her family was waiting for her granddaughter to arrive from New York. Various celebrities from the industry passed their condolences including lyricist-singer-writer Swanand Kirkire.
मंजू सिंह जी नहीं रही ! मंजू जी मुझे दिल्ली से मुंबई लायी थी दूरदर्शन के लिए उनका शो स्वराज लिखने ! उन्होंने DD के लिए कई नायब शोज़ एक कहानी, शो टाइम आदि बनाए थे . हृषिकेश मुखर्जी की फ़िल्म गोलमाल की रत्ना हमारी प्यारी मंजू जी आपका प्यार कैसे भूल सकता है .. अलविदा ! pic.twitter.com/aKFvMJeFYF
— Swanand Kirkire (@swanandkirkire) April 15, 2022
- In 2012, The Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) invited Manju Singh as a resource person to the Sahyodya Conferences that deal with innovative ideas on inculcation and evaluation of life skills and values among students.
- In 2015, she was nominated as a member of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) owing to her contribution to TV, films, creative arts, and academics.