Born : December 6, 1933, Guntur
Died : December 26, 1981, Chennai
Spouse : Gemini Ganesan (m. 1952–1981)
Children : Vijaya Chamundeswari, Sathish Kumaar Ganesan
Parents : Nissankara Rao Guruviah, Subhadramma Guruviah
Kommareddy Savitri (6 December 1935 – 26 December 1981), was a versatile Indian film actress, director and producer. She had appeared in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi language films.
Savitri was born to Nissankara Guruviah and Subhadhramma in Chirravur (near Tenali) in Guntur, Madras Presidency, now part of Andhra Pradesh. She learned music and Indian classical dance under Sista Purnayya Sasthri. She performed stage shows during her childhood. She has acted in 318 films in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Hindi languages, with ten to fifteen movies released per year.
She gave some public performances as a child artiste in Vijayawada. Later, she worked in a theater company run by Nandamuri Taraka Ramarao. She also started her own company, the Navabharata Natya Mandali. Her best stage role was in Atma Vanchana written by Bucchi Babu.
She was offered a role in ‘Agni Pariksha’ in 1949. However she looked too young (she was 12) after screen tests and was dropped. Then, she was selected for the main role in the film Samsaram by the banner ‘Sadhana Chitra’ in 1950. However, she was replaced by Pushpavalli and was given a small role, with Nageswara Rao. She performed a dance in Pathala Bhairavi in 1951. Her first big role was as a second lead actress Pelli Chesi Choodu by L. V. Prasad in 1952.
She later acted in memorable Telugu films like Chandra Haram (1953), Devadasu (1953), Ardhangi (1955), Missamma (1955), Donga Ramudu (1955), Amara Deepam (1956), Todikodallu (1957), Mayabazaar (1957), Abhimanam (1958), Mangalya Balam (1958), Appu Chesi Pappu Koodu (1959), Sri Venkateswara Mahatyam (1960), Chivaraku Migiledi (1960), Manchi Manasulu (1961), Aradhana (1962), Gundamma Katha (1962), Rakta Tilakam (1963), Mooga Manasulu (1963), Doctor Chakravarthy (1964), Poojaphalam (1964), Devatha (1965), Pandava Vanavasam (1965), Kanya Sulkam, Naadi Aada Janme, Prana Mitrulu (1967), Varakatnam (1968), Maro Prapancham (1970), Manase Mandiram (1966) and Jagan Mohini (1978). These movies are testimony to her versatile acting skills.
Savitri was a very popular actress in Tamil. She has paired opposite leading actors like Sivaji Ganesan and M. G. Ramachandran. She married Gemini Ganesan, while acting in ‘Manam Pola Mangalyam’ (1953) with him.
Savithri's 100th film ‘Konjum Salangai’ also happened to be paired with Gemini Ganesan. She was fondly called 'Nadigaiyar Thilagam' in the Tamil film industry.
'Paasa Malar' in which she was paired opposite Gemini Ganesan and as a sister of Sivaji Ganesan and brought her accolades from all over pushing her to the top slot in the Tamil Film Industry.
Kalathur Kannamma (1959), Missiamma, Pasamalar (1961), Pava Mannippu (1961), Paarthal Pasi Theerum (1962), Karpagam (1963), Karnan (1963), Kai Kodutha Deivam, Navarathri (1964), Thiruvilaiyadal (1965), Saraswathi Sabadham, Antharangam, Pennin Perumai, Konjum Salangai, Yaar Paiyyan, and Padithal Mattum Podhuma are some of her memorable classics in Tamil cinema.
She has acted in few Hindi films like Bahut Din Huwe, Ghar Basake Dekho, Balaram Sri Krishna and Ganga Ki Lahren.
Savitri acted in few Kannada films towards the end of her career. She played the role of mother in films like Thaayige Thakka Maga and Ravichandra. She also acted in Chandanada Gombe.
Director and Producer
Savitri had directed films like Chinnari Papalu (1968), ‘Chiranjeevi’, ‘Maathru Devatha’ and ‘Vintha Samsaram’ in Telugu. 'Kuzhanthai Ullam' and 'Praptham' in Tamil.
Savitri was married to Gemini Ganesan in 1955 and she declared it publicly three years after the wedding. Gemini Ganesan and Savitri made a hit pair on-screen. Her wedding was revealed when she signed in a photo for a Lux advertisement as Savithri Ganesh.
They had two children Vijaya Chamundeswari and Sathish Kumar. Since there was no availability of televisions at that time, she arranged a 16mm projector to show movies to kids. She would watch Hollywood movies and analyze them thoroughly. She loved Sophia Loren and Shirley MacLaine. She died at the age of 46.
Awards and honours
- Rashtrapati Award for best acting for the film Chivaraku Migiledi in 1960.
- Kalaimamani from the Government of Tamil Nadu.
- Nata Siromani by the Government of Andhra Pradesh.
- Nadigayar Thilakam for her fine performances in Tamil Film Industry.
- Yuvathi Mandali and with an apt title as Maha Nati.