Sridevi — the full story

Sridevi and the Malayalam film industry: nurturing young talent

Sridevi and Sudhir in 'Thulavarsham'   | Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives

Much before she became the 'lady superstar' in Bollywood, Sridevi had won a place in the heart of Malayalis, as a child actor. More than a few hints of talent that would take her all the way to the top can be seen in those films from the early days.

She debuted in the language in 1969 with the bilingual film Kumara Sambhavam directed by P. Subramanian, playing the role of Subramanian. A lasting memory of that film happens to be the young Subramanian's rendition of Ellam Siva Mayam.

But it was with Poompatta, released two years later, that she announced her arrival. Directed by B. K. Pottekkad, the film had Sridevi playing the lead role of a child, who after her mother's death, ends up at the household of her mother's friend, where she has to suffer ill-treatment. The role gave the young star enough space to conjure up all her emotive power on screen. The performance won one of the first of her many awards — the Kerala State award for the Best Child Actor.

A few more notable performances as child actor followed, including in I.V.Sasi's Abhinandanam. The transition to a lead role was made in Thulavarsham, directed by N. Sankaran Nair in 1976. M. Masthan's Kuttavum Shikshayum a remake of the Tamil film Pennai Nambungal happened in the same year, with Kamal Haasan starring opposite her.

A year later came another of her notable films in Malayalam — Satyavan Savithri. In that first stint in the Malayalam film industry, she acted in 24 films in a span of just over a decade. Once she made her mark in Bollywood, she disappeared from Malayalam cinema. But before she took her long hiatus from acting, she came back again, to star in Bharathan's Devaragam, a love story in which she starred opposite Aravind Swamy.

Although she has acted in comparatively fewer Malayalam films, Sridevi had always acknolwedged the importance of those early films in her career. In later years, she had credited Malayalam cinema with nurturing her as a child actor and a young star.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 3:38:24 PM |

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