It is 30 years since Savitri, the legendary actress has left millions of her fans for her heavenly abode. Savitri’s beauty is unparalleled. Her face was a cameraman’s delight. Eminent cameramen used to say that there were only two people in the world – Charlton Heston and Savitri who looked good in any camera angle. She ruled the south Indian film industry for over two decades. Savitri who entered the film industry in 1950 through ‘Samsaram’, has acted with all the top heroes of her time. Her acting as Parvati in ‘Devadas’, Mary in ‘Missamma’, Madhuravani in ‘Kanya Shulkam’ and Sasirekha in ‘Maya Bazar’ was excellent. These are only a few of her countless memorable performances.
Savitri is a role model for all the present day heroines. There is not an actress who does not crave to get a name like Savitri. ‘Gundamma Katha’, ‘Ardhangi’, ‘Donga Ramudu’, ‘Mangalya Balam’, ‘Aradhana’, ‘Rakta Sambandham’, ‘Mooga Manasulu, ‘Bandhavyalu’…. the list of her memorable performances is unending. Her portrayal of the epic character of Draupadi and Sita was matchless.
Though she was the crownless queen as an actress, Savitri has seen several upheavals in her personal life. She has taken up direction because of her fondness for filmmaking. The films she has directed like ‘Chinnari Papalu’, ‘Matru Devata’ and ‘Chiranjeevi’ show her excellent understanding of the finer nuances of film making and show her excellent and most diversified talent.
However, Savitri lost all her properties with ‘Vinta Samsaram’ and ‘Praptam’ which she produced and directed. Savitri was as great a humanitarian as she was a great actress. Giving away money to whoever that approached her was one of the reasons for her becoming a pauper. She was penniless when she died. She faced a very miserable life during her last days.
In 1955, Savitri secretly married Tamil hero Gemini Ganeshan. The marriage became public in 1957. There was stiff resistance for this marriage from the Andhra audience who burnt her posters and gave calls for boycott of her films. Their anger was because she married a Tamilian. Her celestial beauty has disturbed the hearts of millions who could not accept her marriage. But that anger died down as none could resist that beautiful face and that great acting. Soon she was once again the heartthrob of millions.
Savitri who acted in over 250 films in four south Indian languages and Hindi has died at the early age of 45 on December 26, 1981. She was in coma for a year-and-a-half prior to that. Savitri’s last film was ‘Andarikante Monagadu’. Though she is not among us, she made an indelible mark in the Telugu film history and has firm place in the hearts of the Telugu people for all time to come. Her acting has no death. It will be alive as long as Telugu film is.