Sukumari – Remembering an Amazingly Versatile Actress

Sukumari death anniversary on March 26th

March 26, 2014 – Today is first death anniversary of legendary actress ,Sukumari. This enormously talented actress once told in an interviews -“There are around 50 actors to whom I have played mother. If they could remember me fondly after my death like their own mother, that’s what I value most than any other award or recognition”.

Last year this day following Sukumari’s demise we saw many stars and co-actors stutter and turn emotional on recollecting their moments with Sukumari. Which is when we understood how much the great actress was respected and loved by everyone. Just like other greats who has left us in recent years , Sukumari too left behind a big void that’s impossible to be filled. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if we couldn’t find a replacement for this great actress even after many long years.

S. Sukumari fondly called Sukumari Amma by her fans and industry colleagues  was born on Oct 6 1940 and is believed to start her film career as early as at the age of just 10. Before her demise on March 26, 2013 following a cardiac arrest , Sukumari had acted over 2500 movies in a luminous career spanning nearly 65 years. Apart from her amazing versatility which we are all aware of , that huge number itself speaks a lot about the enormous impact she had in our industry.

Sukumari had acted in as many as 5 languages – Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Hindi where all she used her own voice without using a dubbing artist ! She had received one National Award (for Namma Gramam),4 state awards and also been honored with Padma Shri by the Indian government.

There are many movies where she completely overshadowed her co-actors with her brilliant acting. One such instance that comes to mind is the hot-tempered, moody chef in Boeing Boeing– Dickammayi .There are lot other classics where its finest moments never reach its epitome without her magnetic presence. Dasharatham wouldn’t have had the same great climax if not for Sukumari at the other end to listen to what Mohanlal had to say. Even in movies where she have very short cameos, she just simply elevates the proceedings like when she appears as the officer from Animal’s care department in Gajakesariyogam.

Sukumari’s other notable characters are the aged lady ‘Kuniyamma’ of Mizhikal Sakshi, the highly sociable ‘Revathi Kochamma’ of Poochakkoru Mookkuthi, Anglo Indian house owner of Vandanam, the bossy wife of ‘Odoruthammava Alariyam‘, the greedy Karthyayani Amma of ‘Aram+Aram=Kinnaram‘… The list just goes on and on….Its almost impossible to list down all the great performances from the enormously gifted actress as her memorable roles range from doting mothers and grandmothers to caring neighbors to funny housekeepers to haughty society ladies to a lot more and her skills not being limited in few departments.

There has been never another Dickammayi like you to help bachelors out there in trouble and make us laugh. There has been never another Maggie Aunty like you to lend their comforting shoulders for men like Rajiv menon and melt our hearts. There has been never another actress who could play those rich society ladies as effortlessly and as perfectly like you did in Thalayanamanthram, Gandhi Nagar 2nd Street and numerous other movies..

There has perhaps never been anyone else too who could be on-screen for only few minutes and yet create a lasting impact like you did