Savitri (actress)

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సావిత్రి కొమ్మారెడ్డి -Yesteryear's leading actress savithri.jpg
Savitri as Sasirekha in Mayabazar
Native name సావిత్రి కొమ్మారెడ్డి
Born Savitri Kommareddy
(1936-12-06)6 December 1936
Chirravuru, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh, India
Died 26 December 1981(1981-12-26) (aged 45)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Spouse(s) Gemini Ganesan
Children Vijaya Chamundeswari
Sathish kumar
Awards Rashtrapati Award
Nandi Award

Savitri (born Savitri Nissankararao 6 December 1936– 26 December 1981)[1][2] was an Indian film actress, playback singer, dancer, director and producer. She appeared in Telugu as well as Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, and Hindi language films. Widely regarded as one of the finest actresses of Telugu cinema, Savitri made her lead role debut with the 1952 Telugu film Pelli Chesi Choodu.[3][4] In 1960, she received the Rashtrapati Award for her performance in the Telugu film Chivaraku Migiledi. In 1968, she has produced, and directed the Telugu film, Chinnari Papalu for which she received the state Nandi Award for Best Feature Film (Silver).[1] She was honored among "women in cinema" at the 30th International Film Festival of India.[5]

She is best known for her works in award-winning films such as Devadasu (1953), Ardhangi (1955), Missamma (1955), Donga Ramudu (1955), Amara Deepam (1956), Thodi Kodallu (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), Pooja Phalam (1964), Devata (1965), Pandava Vanavasam (1965), Kanya Sulkam, Naadi Aada Janme, Prana Mitrulu (1967), Varakatnam (1968), Maro Prapancham (1970), Manase Mandiram (1966) and Jagan Mohini (1978).[6][7]

Her Tamil works include Kalathur Kannamma (1959), Pasamalar (1961), Pava Mannippu (1961), Paarthal Pasi Theerum (1962), Karpagam (1963), Karnan (1963), Kai Kodutha Deivam, Navarathri (1964), Thiruvilaiyadal (1965) etc.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Savitri's parents are Nissankararao Guraviah and Subhadhramma. She was born in Chirravuru Tadepalle Mandalam (near Undavalli) in Guntur, Madras Presidency, now part of Andhra Pradesh in a Telugu speaking family.[1] Her father died when she was 6 months old. She had an elder sister named Maadhuri. Later, her family moved to Chirravuru. She studied in Kasturbhai High School. She learned music and Indian classical dance from Sistla Purnayya Sasthri, starting from the age of 8. She performed stage shows as a child.[3][4]

Personal life[edit]

Savitri was married to a Tamil actor Gemini Ganesan in 1955. Her marriage became public when she signed in a photo for a Lux advertisement as Savithri Ganesh three years later.[8] They had two children, Vijaya Chamundeswari and Sathish Kumar.

Early career[edit]

portrait of savitri

She gave a few public performances as a child artiste in Vijayawada. Later, she worked in a theatre 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 14) in screen tests and so was dropped. Then, she was selected for the lead role in the film Samsaram by the banner 'Sadhana Chitra' in 1950. Because of stage-fright she needed a lot of retakes on the floor so she was dropped again. However, she was replaced by Pushpavalli and was given a small role, with Nageswara Rao which has less import. She performed a dance in Pathala Bhairavi in 1951.[3][4]


She has acted in a few Hindi films such as, Bahut Din Huwe, Ghar Basake Dekho, Balaram Sri Krishna and Ganga Ki Lahren.

Kannada cinema[edit]

Savitri starred in a few Kannada films such as, Thaayige Thakka Maga, Ravichandra, and Chandanada Gombe.

Playback singing[edit]

Savitri in Shanthi
A promotional poster of the film Shanthi in year 1952.

She is known for play back singing, and some of her works are "Sundari Neevanti" from Mayabazar, "Rangu Rangula Sila" from Navarathri (1966) and Neevevaro from Annapurna (1960) which she gave voice for actress Girija.


Savitri has directed films such as, Chinnari Papalu, Chiranjeevi, Maathru Devatha,Vintha Samsaram, Kuzhanthai Ullam and Praptham.[3][4]


  • Savitri died on 26 December 1981 by over dose of sleeping tablets.


  • "Vendithera Vishaada Raagaalu" by Pasupuleti Rama Rao
  • "Mahanati Savitri Vendithera Samaragni" by Pallavi
  • "A Legendary Actress Mahanati Savitri" by VR Murthy and V Soma media[1]

Awards and honors[edit]

Selected filmography[edit]

Main article: Savitri Filmography


  1. ^ a b c d e "Drama In Real Life". The Hans India. 
  2. ^ Biography of Savitri - Vendithera Vishaada Raagaalu" by Pasupuleti Rama Rao
  3. ^ a b c d e Special Correspondent. "'Mahanati' Savitri remembered". The Hindu. 
  4. ^ a b c d e P. Ram Mohan. "Glowing tributes paid to legendary actor Savitri". The Hindu. 
  5. ^ "Directorate of Film Festival" (PDF). 
  6. ^ Staff Reporter. "Rich tributes paid to Savitri". The Hindu. 
  7. ^ B. VIJAYAKUMAR. "Chuzhi: 1973". The Hindu. 
  8. ^ "Star and a versatile actor". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 15 August 2003. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 

External links[edit]