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Savthiri – An irreplaceable legend in South Indian cinema!

May 17, 2018

Savthiri – An irreplaceable legend in South Indian cinema!
Savthiri – An irreplaceable legend in South Indian cinema! | Credit: Cine Josh

The recent biopic on yesteryear actress Savithri is being applauded by critics and fans alike. As the box-office collections increase exponentially, the larger-than-life actress who was loved unanimously is getting some much-deserved attention from today's generation.

Though her life story was quite a roller coaster of dizzying highs and drop-dead lows, she always remained a fascinating and powerful woman until her untimely end. Let us take a look at a few important facets of her life.

Credit: The Hindu
Credit: The Hindu

Her brilliant acting career

Hailing from a small town in Andhra Pradesh, her journey began in quite a clichéd way with her auditioning at several big studios accompanied by her uncle. However, having lost her father at a very young age, the teenaged Savithri overcame many hurdles to become a superstar.

She almost lost her big ticket to stardom by succumbing to nervousness and lost a chance to make a big debut as a lead. But, after that, she rewrote her story with determination and came to spotlight by making a mark in smaller roles. Following that, she acted as the lead in a Telugu movie called Devadas and the rest is history.

She ruled the film industry in South India for almost three decades and became a dictionary for the art of acting. The titles of Nadigayar Tilagam in Tamil and Mahanati in Telugu were conferred to her in 1964.

Credit: Pycker
Credit: Pycker

Her foray into filmmaking

This boss lady showed the world what feminism was way before new age feminists were even born. In an industry that was notoriously patriarchal and male chauvinistic, she decided to foray into filmmaking and made some widely appreciated films. She was even awarded a Nandi award for the very first film she made.

While actresses of her generation safely retired or slowed down after getting married, Savithri upped her game and became a director and a producer. It was quite a bold move even though it cost her dearly. Some of the movies that she produced sank at the box-office and incurred heavy financial losses to her that she was never able to fully recover from. That is the unfortunate unpredictability of the film business.

Credit: The Hindu
Credit: The Hindu

Her troubled personal life

Her secret marriage to co-star Gemini Ganesan created uproar back then when she accidentally signed an advertisement as Savithri Ganesan and therefore announced her marriage. They had a daughter and a son. Their relationship was always shrouded in mystery. However, it was widely speculated that Savithri was head over heels in love with Gemini Ganesan. On the other hand, Gemini Ganesan was known for his very progressive views on relationships and openly dated a lot of women. He was previously married to another woman before he got married to Savithri and it was rumoured that he was involved in another affair as well when he got married to Savithri.

All rumours aside, it was evident that Savithiri was not entirely happy in her relationship as the couple separated eventually. Her personal life clearly took a huge toll on her health. 

Credit: Rinks Weblog
Credit: Rinks Weblog

Her renowned generosity

Savithri was well known for her philanthropic activities. She had an open house where anyone who came looking for help never left empty-handed; there are several legends about her generosity. When people approached her for help, she is said to have given them everything that she had with her at that moment without even counting the amount she was giving. Even when she was starting to struggle financially, there are instances where she gave away the jewellery that she was wearing when people came to her in need.  

She has donated several lakhs for the education of underprivileged children through a trust and donated money voluntarily to any child whom she found had a need for money for education. Whenever she found disoriented children looking for roles in movies, she gave them money and helped them reach home safely and pursue better lives.

Credit: Teluguone
Credit: Teluguone

Her unfortunate dark side

She had several health issues over her lifetime. She was always struggling with her weight and it became worse when her personal life didn’t turn out the way she expected. Later, when her career started to plummet, she took to alcohol and eventually became a victim of diabetes.

For an actor of her stature, playing smaller roles in the later part of her career must have been extremely difficult. But, people remember her for giving her best to every shot she acted in. However, off-screen, all these seem to have taken a toll on her health as she finally succumbed to ill-health and died after remaining in coma for over a year.