Savithri (4 January 1936 – 26 December 1981) was famous and recognized as an Indian film actress, playback singer, dancer, director and producer.
Savithri was born on 4 January 1936 in Chirravuru, Guntur district, Madras Presidency. Her family, a Telugu speaking Kapu family, was formed from her parents, Nissankara Guravayya and Nissankara Subhadramma, and an older sibling, Maruti. When Savithri was only 6 months old, her father, Nissankara Guravayya, died. After his death, Savithri’s mother took her children, Savithri and Maruti, and went to live with an aunt and uncle.
Savithri’s uncle, Kommareddy Venkataramaiah, started her education, sending her to school. That it was the moment, when she began to show her talent for dance. At age of 13, due to financial problems, she quit the school and joined a theatre group. During her life – she didn’t finish her education being busy with acting since the age of 16.
Since childhood, Savithri started to act. She acted in dance dramas and she had also some works with a theatre company run by Kongara Jaggaiah. At age of 12, Savithri made a trip to find film work in Madras, but it was an unsuccessful trip because she was considered to be too young to play lead roles.
In 1950 year, Savithri won the cast for a lead role in Samsaram. Unfortunately, this role didn’t become reality because she was too excited and it was requiring numerous retakes and her replacement in the part. In the end, she received in Samsaram a minor speaking role. In the next year, Savithri has received two more minor roles, Roopavati and Patala Bhairavi films.
After these minor roles, Savithri wins the popularity, in 1952, with Pelli Chesi Choodu where she is playing as second heroine. Starting with Pelli Chesi Choodu film, Savithri played in numerous successful films.
The most important films from her career were : Devadasu (1953), Ardhangi (1955), Thodi Kodallu (1957), Mayabazaar (1957), Mangalya Balam (1958), Chivaraku Migiledi (1960), Mooga Manasulu (1963), Doctor Chakravarthy (1964), and Varakatnam (1968).
During her career, Savithri has received several awards from which the Rashtrapati Award – received in 1960 for Chivaraku Migiledi film , Nandi Award – received for Chinnari Papalu film which has been produced in 1968, and the Kalaimamani. She was also nominated at the 30th International Film Festival of India.
In the most period of her career, Savithri acted in Telugu and Tamil language films but she also appeared in in Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi language films.
From Savithri’s Tamil work, we have Kalathur Kannamma (1959), Pasamalar (1961), Pava Mannippu (1961), Paarthal Pasi Theerum (1962), Karpagam (1963), Karnan (1963), Kai Koduttha Dheivam, Navarathri (1964), and Thiruvilaiyadal (1965).
During her career, the only film that hadn’t success was Chuzhi (1973) and it was a Malayalam film.
Other of his qualities, for which she has been known, were the hospitality, philanthropic gestures and her passion to buy properties and jewelries. She have never looked out for the money spent for her pleasures or for helping the persons in need.
Savithri was also one of the earliest woman producer and director of film.
In the late 1960s, Savithri’s career had a downturn and she was not able to override this difficult period. In this period, Savithri started to have financial problems and the tax officials had confiscated her properties .
The financial problems made Savithri to accept to play in any film even it was from the beginning an unsuccessful one. Savithri has also been tricked by persons “bad intentioned” who influenced her to direct and produce films that brought her failure and financial draws .
During the financial difficulties period, Savithri has been supported by few persons and one of them was Dasari Narayana Rao . Dasari Narayana Rao, through his main occupation as film director and producer, gave to Savithri roles in the most of his films, one example of such of films being Gorintaku (1979) . Dasari Narayana Rao made also a movie specially for Savithri – Devadasu Malli Puttadu (1978).
In the personal life, Savithri has been married with Gemini Ganesan. Savithri meet Gemini Ganesan for the first time in 1948 and their marriage materialized in 1952 year but it became public later, when Savithri signed accidentally as Ganesan. Gemini Ganesan was also a Tamil actor who had the films debut at age of 33. There was 16 years difference between Savithri and Gemini.
Savithri and Gemini Ganesan’s relationship was not accepted by Savithri’s uncle. The reason of Savithri’s uncle rejection was that Gemini Ganesan had another marriage and four daughters before Savithri. The other reason was that Gemini Ganesan had been involved in an affair also with Pushpavalli, Indian actress in Tamil and Telugu industries. It turned out, that Savithri’s uncle preoccupation was right because Gemini Ganesan had two daughters with Pushpavalli during his marriage with Savithri.
Savithri and Gemini Ganesan had a daughter, Vijaya Chamundeshwari, and a son, Sathish Kumaar .
Starting with 1960 year, Savithri had also alcoholism problems and in 1969 she began to drink much more than before, developing diabetes and high blood pressure problems.
After many years of alcoholism, Savithri died on 26 December 1981 at age of 45. Before her death, she stayed in coma for 19 months. At that time, the Government of India commemorated Savithri.
In May 2018 has been released Savithri’s biographical film, being a bilingual film – Mahanati in Telugu and Nadigaiyar Thilagam in Tamil. The film has been directed by Nag Ashwin and Keerthy Suresh played the lead role (as Savithri).
- Full Name : Savithri Ganesan (Nisankara)
- Nicknames : Savithri , “Mahanati”
- Occupation: Actress
- Age: 32 years old (2018)
- Date of Birth: 04 January 1936 (45)
- Date of Death : 26 December 1981
- Place of Birth: Chirravuru, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India
- Place of Death : Chennai, India
- Gender: Female
- Star: Sagittarius
- Eye color: Dark Brown
- Hair color: black
- Ethnicity: Indian
- Nationality: Indian
- Height in feet: 5 ft 6 inches
- Height in cm: 168 cm
- Weight in kg: 53kg
- Weight in pounds: 117lbs
Body Measurements : 37-31-36
- Parents: Guravayya Nisankara and Subhadramma Nisankara
- Siblings: Maruti Nisankara
- Children: one daughter, Vijaya Chamundeshwari, and one son, Sathish Kumaar
- Spouse : Gemini Ganesan
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