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Janaki Sabesh

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Janaki Sabesh
Born16 December 1964
Occupation(s)Storyteller, Author, Actress
Years active1992–present

Janaki Sabesh is an Indian media professional, actor, model, storyteller, author of children's book, theatre and voiceover artist.[1] Throughout her film career, she has played the "screen mother" to several leading actors,[2] appearing predominantly Tamil and Telugu films.

Early life[edit]

Janaki was born in Bangalore. She did her initial schooling in Carmel School, Kolkata and then from DTEA Senior Secondary School, New Delhi. She holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi and a master's degree in mass communication from Jamia Millia, Delhi.[3] and Bombay Jayashri is her sister in law


In 1991, Janaki Sabesh assisted Simi Garewal with her documentary on Rajiv Gandhi called India's Rajiv.[3][4] She made her professional acting debut in the movie Minsara Kanavu starring Kajol and Arvind Swamy, in which she played a nun. She later went on to act in Shankar's magnum opus Jeans, where she played Aishwarya Rai's mother. Since then, she has acted in over 25 movies, including the blockbuster hits Minnale and Ghilli, often playing the role of a mother.

She has modelled for leading brands like Cadburys, Pepsodent, KFJ, NAC jewellers, Chakra Gold Tea, Jansons Dhoti to name a few. She has also appeared in a web series titled Black Sheep on the YouTube channel of Stray Factory, Rascalas.Janaki's work as a theatre artist includes plays with Chennai-based theatre groups, Crea- Shakti & Madras Players.Janaki Sabesh's engagement with children began when she produced an audio cassette “The Learning Train” (1995) that simplified the world of numbers through story and songs.

She also runs her own storytelling initiative, Golpo - Tales Unlimited. The word Golpo in Bengali means "story". Her sessions are an interactive mix of narration, music and movement. She also conducts workshops for parents, teachers and students which centre on motivation and the productive uses of storytelling.

Janaki Sabesh turned an author in 2018 with her first picture book, "The Jungle Storytelling Festival" published by Tulika in 9 languages. Her 2nd picture book Paati's Rasam (co-authored with Dhwani Sabesh) won the Best Children's Book Award at Jarul 2023, also shortlisted (top 3) at the Neev Book Awards 2022.


Tamil films[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1997 Minsara Kanavu Sister Agnes
1998 Jeans Madhumitha's mother
1999 Jodi Guest appearance
2000 Kushi Jennifer's mother
2001 Minnale Rajiv Samuel's mother
Poovellam Un Vasam Chinna's mother
2001 Shah Jahan Mahee's mother
2002 Run Siva's mother
2003 Boys Renuka
Enakku 20 Unakku 18 Train passenger
2004 Ghilli Velu's mother
Vaanam Vasappadum Poongkothai's mother
Aayutha Ezhuthu Doctor's wife
2006 Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu Janaki
Vallavan Vallavan's mother
2008 Dhaam Dhoom Gautham's mother
2009 Ayan Kamalesh's aide
2010 Singam Kavya's mother
2011 Nootrenbadhu Annalakshmi
2012 Billa II David's sister
2013 Singam 2 Kavya's mother
2014 Poojai Divya's mother
2017 Si3 Kavya's mother
2022 Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu Naidu Aunty
2023 Let's Get Married Meera's mother

Telugu films[edit]

Year Film Role
2001 Kushi Siddhartha Roy/Siddu's mother
2003 Nee Manasu Naaku Telusu Train passenger
2007 Shankar Dada Zindabad Sandhya's mother
2010 Maro Charitra Balu's mother
2011 180 Annapurna

Malayalam film[edit]

Year Film Role
2006 Photographer James sister-in-law
Streaming television


  1. ^ "From 'Ghilli' amma to children's writer, meet Janaki Sabesh in her new avatar". 15 August 2018.
  2. ^ Deepa Venkatraman (15 June 2013). "It's all in the mind". The Hindu. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  3. ^ a b Y. Sunita Chowdhary (24 May 2010). "Exuding positivity". The Hindu. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  4. ^ "India's Rajiv - Credits (1:01:20)". Youtube. Archived from the original on 6 April 2017. Retrieved 17 March 2017.

Press articles[edit]