Birth Name Ratna Kumari
Vanisree established a school, where 400 students have passed and have gone on to become doctors and engineers. Vanisree also planned to construct an old age home for senior citizens in the Telugu film industry called Adharana and own a mobile theatre to spot talent from various places in Andhra Pradesh. Vanisree is also involved in politics.
Vanisree retired from films as a heroine in the late 1970s, because she objected to heroines being asked to dress more provocatively and act and dance like vamps. Vanisree then married and has two children, including a daughter who is a doctor. In 1989, she returned to films and television serials, playing supporting roles as mothers, aunts, and mother-in-laws.
During her peak period as heroine, she starred in 14 films a year and worked 16 hours a day.
S.V. Ranga Rao gave her the professional name of Vanisri.
Vanisree said that the most challenging roles of her career were in the Telugu films Iddaru Ammayilu (1972) and Krishnaveni (1974).
[On whether any leading man proposed marriage to her] Never, all the heroes got married, the existing ones probably didn't have the courage, but I always wanted to marry someone outside the industry and someone who is not already married once. I have seen many actresses who didn't succeed with second marriages and the characters we played helped us to study society.
I was averse to the same hair style, knotted bun and a plait with flowers. I bought in novelty by stitching two sarees, putting polka dots on it and wearing black outdoors, would have constant arguments with the art and camera department because they thought it would look gawdy.
I would read a lot of novels and the description of the heroine influenced me and I evolved my own style in dressing and make up. I was the first one to try on different shades of lipsticks, bindis, nail colours that would match the sarees and preferred bright colours. . .
I never knew how I would look without make up. While others had a professional and personal life, my reel life was my real life. Even the jewellery or sarees I bought was worn during shootings because there was no occasion to dress up. I was such a novice, would sign a cheque but never knew how it would be encashed in the bank.
Whatever a person learns before turning 27, stays with him till his death helping him to sustain his living. I want to provide a platform for those budding youngsters. The industry has given me so much, I want to do something for it.
[On why she didn't want her only daughter, Anupama, to become an actress, who instead became a doctor] The span of a heroine here is only 3 years. Soundarya was the last actress who worked for a longer time. Why should I put my daughter to so much torture, sending her to acting school, etc., and asking her to make movies the aim of her life.
I have no godfathers. The name and fame, whatever I got is because of my struggle and perseverance.
[On why she remained a top star during the 1970s] The existing heroines had announced their retirement, Savitri became overweight, Krishna Kumari and Jamuna were married and around that time, I got great roles with God's blessing. Also with every film turning out to be a success, there was no looking back. Kanchana was there, but she did her own genre.