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Updated: March 10, 2012 12:34 IST

Veteran actor Lakshmi dies

Meera Srinivasan
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S.N.Lakshmi
The Hindu S.N.Lakshmi

She played the screen mother for several heroes, from MGR to Kamal Hassan

Veteran actor S.N. Lakshmi, whose performance was marked by refreshing restraint, passed away here on Sunday. She was 85.

Fans of Tamil cinema cannot forget the kleptomaniac paatti in ‘Michael Madana Kama Rajan' (MMKR), or the concerned mother-in-law in ‘Mahaanadi' very easily. Her portrayal of the characters was not just highly entertaining, but also very convincing.

Beginning her journey in Tamil theatre and then moving on to films, Lakshmi worked on a style that showed moderation rather than melodrama, something that was not very common among artistes of her generation.

In her career spanning over seven decades, she performed with stars such as M.G.Ramachandran, Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan and Nagesh in some of their best films, and later with top actors of the next generation, particularly Kamal Haasan. He is said to have had great confidence in her, periodically giving her fascinating roles.

“Colossal talent”

Speaking to The Hindu over telephone from the sets of ‘Viswaroopam' in Mumbai, Kamal said: “I was very close to her and have admired her. To be honest, I feel she is like a family treasure that I inherited from the KB school. She was a colossal talent!”

Recalling her performances in some of his films, he said it was hard to believe that the lady who played the kleptomaniac in MMKR was the one who played ‘Periyaatha' in ‘Thevar Magan, or the old woman in ‘Virumaandi'.

“I would joke with her that she was made to play mother even as a little girl. ‘Amaam thambi, appadithaan ayiduchu' (yes, that's how it was), she would laugh. She has acted as mother of R.S.Manohar, Sivaji, M.G.R.…several heroes across generations.”

At a time when many are racing towards mediocrity, actors of a higher order such as S.N.Lakshmi, Nagesh and Kaka Radhakrishnan may have gone unnoticed after the 1960s. “I did not want that to happen, as such talent should be celebrated. I celebrated her when she was alive, and will continue to do so henceforth too.” Observing that she would instantly understand what was required of her, Kamal said: “You just had to tell her what the character was, she would take care of everything and do a brilliant job.”

Lakshmi had rich experience in theatre as well. Having performed in over 2,000 plays in various troupes, including those of Gnanadesikar, N.S. Krishnan, S.V. Sahasranamam's Seva Stage and K. Balachander's Ragini Recreations, she could draw upon different schools. According to chronicler ‘Film News' Anandan many of the plays produced by Sahasranamam were later made into films later and Lakshmi got to act in them.

Her initial years in the field present a rather colourful picture. She performed fascinating stunt sequences, including a fight with a leopard for the MGR film ‘Baghdad Thirudan'. Such courage was not something she acquired for the profession, but something she had even as a child.

Unhappy with the way her brothers treated her after her father's passing away, she decided to leave home when she was barely 11 years old to find her true calling. Though she later reunited with her family, Lakshmi preferred leading an independent life, acting in television serials, driving around.

She would take her car and go on long drives when time permitted. She loved being on her own.

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Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012

Thanks Patti,, you entertained a long long decade for us ,, May your soul rest in peace . we miss you ~

from:  Sharvesh
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 11:23 IST

Thanks Aachi for entertaining us. May your soul rest in peace. We will never forget you.

from:  Siva
Posted on: Feb 23, 2012 at 02:47 IST

i have no words.the heart is full and the words r few.ihave seen all her moviesright from fifties.what an actress.i feel sorry that i could n't meet her in person to compliment smt lakshmi for her trenendous performances in every movie she acted.now only i learned that she was a loner.that hurts me more.may her soul rest in peace

from:  p.k.suresh baboo
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 20:17 IST

RIP, the great artist S.N.Lakshmi !!!

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 18:27 IST

A very good actor. May her soul RIP. I am just wondered with the
headline "Veteran actor Lakshmi dies" as I got confused with another
famous actor Lakshmi in Tamil cinema. I didn't expect this from The
HINDU. You could have promptly put "S.N.Lakshmi" which could really
avoided the confusion.

from:  Jaiganesh
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 15:02 IST

S.N.Lakshmi,a fantastic actress whom the movie and television industry audience/fans would definitely miss. May your soul rest in peace and your remarkable work remains in our heart forever. Miss you Paati.

from:  SVS
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 12:35 IST

May her soul rest in peace

from:  Sasi
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 12:13 IST

Aachi! pray to God to give your soul eternal peace. You were a GREAT personality in every sense of the term.

from:  P.S.ARUNACHALAM
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 11:20 IST

S.N.Lakshmi was a fantastic actor.n all her films and tv serials, she portrayed a warm hearted mother/paati - an envious paati. Her dialogue delivery was also wonderful. May she rest in peace. Paati we will miss your face on the screen.

from:  sumi
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 10:21 IST

For her there was no acting.She used to live the characters.It was always pleasure to watch her on screen.Her latest on small screen was remarkable as typical southern old lady.It is difficult to believe that she was acting even after 85 years.May her sould rest in peace.

from:  Rajendran S
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 09:39 IST

I am just 80 years young and I love her acting. The present serial
Mundanai Mudichu and Saravanan-Meenakshi are SUPERB. Even today
22.2.2012, we witnessed Mundanai Muduchu where the first line is
Lakshmi Pattikku Kanneer Anjali. I have more affection and love for
this AACHI for more than one reason because I was in KKDI way back in
1965 and also my own ma who breathed her last in 2004 at the ripe age
of 93 is also LAKSHMI. We really lost another LAKSHMI.

from:  Rajagopal subramanian
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 06:40 IST

I never forget the role she played in Mahanathi. It was simple,powerful and make you feel the role. We lost a another great artist. Rest in peace.My deep condolence to her family members and fans.

from:  Satish
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 04:42 IST

Lakshmi Aachi is respected by one and all in the film industry. Her
performance in Mahanathi, Michael Mathana Kaamaraajan, Sarvar Sundaram,
Thulaabaaram... were superb. She lived as a Aaachi in all our heart.
Most of us feel that we have lost one of the family members. May her
soul rest in peace.

from:  P. Sukumar
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 23:03 IST

S.N.Lakshmi- We all are going to miss her. Great performer.
Seasoned Veteran and appeared in all Kamal Hassan's films.
Just couple of days was enjoying her performance in Saravan and
Meenatchi! Heart felt condolences from thousands of fans like me. May her soul rest in peace.

from:  prasanna
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 22:37 IST

The Tamil Film World and its lovers will not forget
Ms,S.N.Laxmi for her lively action and they will definitely miss her.Well said Mr,Kamal, and we appreciate your gesture of respecting the old and genius actors.

from:  V.Shanmuganathan
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 19:42 IST

S N LAKSHMI well known as AACHI,is so talented that we feel as our own AACHI on
screen.She is so loved by cine goers.She is very perfect to her character.She will be
remembered for her performance.WE MISS YOU AACHI.MAY YOUR SOUL REST IN
PEACE.

from:  RABI
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 18:59 IST

I am her fan. I really feel sorry for her sudden death. May
her soul rest in peace. My deep condolence to her family members and
fans.

from:  T.Nathamuni
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 15:12 IST

It is indeed very sad to know about the demise of S N Lakshmi, the veteran actress from Tamil Nadu who had acted in more than 1000 films & 2000 plays. Her roles in films like MMKR, Mahanadi, Kadhala Kadhala & Thevar Magan - to name a few, will always be remembered apart from the TV serials in which she left a lasting impression as well. I am also fortunate to have been seen her perform the role of a dancer in S S Vasan's highly acclaimed 1948-film 'Chandralekha'.Lakshmi has left behind a void which will be extremely difficult to fill.

from:  S. Balakrishnan
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 13:33 IST

She was a very talented and pleasant actor. As the article rightly
portrays she chose moderation unlike many others and was respected.

from:  Aravindh
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 13:28 IST

She was amazing in Michael Madana Kama Rajan. One of the best character artists. Will miss this paati! May her soul rest in peace.

from:  Divya
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 13:18 IST

There are so many unforgettable performances of this amazing lady - as AVM Rajan's mother and Sharada's in-law in the classic 'Thulaabaaram'; as Lakshmi's mother in that very peculiar 'Sila nErangalil sila manithargaL'; as the mother of 'mental-hospital-returned' Jayanthi in 'Edhir Neechal'; as Nagesh's mother in that ever-impressive 'Server Sundaram'; and a lot more - besides what Kamal has mentioned; a lot of thanks Kamal for bringing these 3 great artistes back to the screen (although madam S N Lakshmi was never out of it!)- Khaakhaa Rahdakrishnan & our inimitable Nagesh. Salutations to this wonderful woman!

from:  P Rajeswaran
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 12:56 IST

She belongs in the Hall of Fame that exists in the hearts of all Tamil
movie lovers. I'll remember her roles fondly.

from:  Raamganesh
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 12:52 IST

S N. Lakshmi's role as Aachi in the ongoing teleserial ' Saravanan-Meenakshi', she lived as elderly Aachi of a joint family and gave her valuable and correct advise to the family members whenever there is crisis in the family. She was such a matured actor and handles any type of role like at Michel Madana Kama Rajan, En Annan and several other films.

from:  N SRIRAMAN
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 12:47 IST

S N Lakshmi always added poignancy to her roles and performed them with elan. Active till her last days, this fine artiste will be missed by the industry and her fans.

from:  C V ARAVIND
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 09:29 IST

Even in TV serials, she made her mark. In the serial "Thendral", no one can forget this Patti who is always a moral support to the heroine Thulasi.

from:  S V Balasubramanian
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 07:06 IST

A good person and a good actor. Served the industry well.RIP.

from:  Prem
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 01:28 IST
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