Remembering Srividya

Sreevidya in Thumbolarcha
Srividya in Thumbolarcha

Its been 5 years since her passing.

I don’t think there will be another actress in Malayalam cinema who has spoken a whole lot more than what the script meant or put down in words, with a pair of eyes as Srividya.

Srividya spoke through her eyes. Her voice was just an embellishment, I feel. Every emotional nuance could clearly be read from her face, even the most subtle, and she didn’t even have to try hard. It was effortless and regally graceful ( I know I am going overboard with flowery adjectives, but can’t help it when it comes to Srividya).

She deserves more than this passing note of fond remembrance and I really, really intend to do that very soon, on her talents as an actor, singer and a dancer. She truly deserves that.

For now, I thought I would mention briefly two rarities from her career , a dance performance and a playback number of hers, two of my favorites.

I will not dwell upon her suffering and the bitterness that she faced with grace, strength and poise that only comes to the rarest of the rare while in full public glare but what she left behind as an actress, a dancer and a singer in Malayalam Cinema. That  has to be one of the most invaluable, everlasting legacies by anyone who has been a part of Indian cinema.

Saying she was “multi-talented” wouldn’t be enough to justify her talent as a singer and dancer, an untrained singer that she was, and the dances from her early years are enough to stop you in your tracks ( literally! ).

Few realise that her early appearances on screen had more of dancing than acting, and one of my favorites is her  as the celestial courtesan Menaka, dancing to the lines of the semi-classical composition, Mayanadana Viharini in Kumarasambhavam (1969) directed by P Subramaniam, from Merryland studios.

Sreevidya as Menaka | Kumarasambhavam (1969)

Who ever has watched Oru Painkili Katha, directed by Balachandra Menon would not have ever forgotten Aana koduthaalum Kiliyey, as a duet with the director.

Performers like Srividya are, in a way, I feel, loaned to us by the  Universe for a brief period to take our sensory perceptions to frontiers beyond our closed walls of regimented living.

You will be forever missed.

36 thoughts on “Remembering Srividya

  1. Hello………….cinematters can you plz help me?for my sri’s dream to make real?ML SRIVIDYA CHARITY is her dream.what will i do for that dream will come real..plz give me a solution.

    1. Hi VijiVijaya/Kichu,

      Thank your passing through and writing in. If it is to institute a Trust based on her assets, to the best of my belief it is with the Kerala state government and you would need to contact them for more details. If you would want to build it on a personal effort, soliciting public participation and funding, you would need to register a Trust and start collecting funds towards that.

      If you would want to start off something on your own, utilising your personal resources, you would still have to register a Trust and would also need legal assistance to clarify all possible areas of its running.

      All the very best with your efforts,

      Thanks, cinematters

  2. Sad that i came across this blog very late. It is nice to see that such an immensely talented and exceptionally beautiful actress is remembered by many. She did had the standing and poise of the great actress like Sridevi, Hemamalini and Rekha. But i think her talent was not explored . I am sure that she had much much more to offer. Those big beautiful eyes can tell a whole story with perfection which can rings bells in the heart and mind of viewers. Her real life story is surely an inspiration that teaches us that life battles are meant to be fought with poise and integrity. She was a human being that cannot be detailed in mere words.

    1. Dear Vipin,
      It is NEVER too late for ANYTHING as long as you have a passion to initiate it and see it through.:) Thank you so much for writing in, and while we are at it , whynot write in about your favorite movie of Srividya? Or your favorites? Thanks..cinematters

  3. vidyamma is a beauty queen.it is charming to watch her filims due to her innocence face and attractive eyes.would you please tell where can find her old movies and picture.

    1. Hi Lalu,
      Thank you for writing in to the blog. With regards to finding her movies, many of the titles are available as VCDs in the market. You can find a list of the online portals where you can buy them here.Now, if your intention is for you to download them all free from somewhere and would want me to furnish you links towards that, I suggest you read this. Thanks..cinematters

  4. You wrote this five months back.”She deserves more than this passing note of fond remembrance and I really, really intend to do that very soon, on her talents as an actor, singer and a dancer. She truly deserves that.” Please keep your word. Would love to read more about her.
    I don’t think any of the men in her life deserved someone like her, someone beautiful in every way.
    i remember an interview i saw on chennai doordarshan long back, when the interviewer asked her about the secret of her beautifully eloquent eyes. she said that she had shed more than a fair share of tears in real life and that even in movies, she barely needed glycerine… and that probably all the crying made her eyes look good… it broke my heart to hear her say that.
    and i never even knew she was sick. so her death came as a BIG shock.
    He broke the mould after he made her😦 she truly was an ‘adhishaya ragam’.

    1. Dear Remitha,
      Point taken. Lies ( read excuses ) follow by Post.🙂. She was one of the rare ragams, undoubtedly. If only she had more time on the planet..thanks..cm

    1. Dear Arun,
      That would be Amala Akkineni, currently active with her commendable work with the Blue Cross of Hyderabad. You could get more details on here Wiki page here...regards..cinematters

  5. In which day is the Sreevidyaama rememberance day and i heard that this rememberance day has arranged at trivandrum can I participate this function at trivandrum !

    1. Dear Arun,
      A commemorative meeting in her memory is usually held every year on October 19th, the date of her passing, under the aegis of the Srividya Charitable Society, led by Sri Ganesh Kumar. Why not contact him directly at Ganesh Bhavan, I B Office Lane, Tagore Nagar, Vazhuthacaud, Trivandrum Kerala, India 695014 or mail him at ganeshkumarkb@hotmail.com for more details. You could also speak to him on 98470 60003. Thanks..cinematters

  6. I think that Sreevidya is a woman that creation of god and when i free at that time his memories and his smiling face comes into my mind and at that time i feel like she is my mother and i pray to god that in my next life please give Sree vidya as my Mother And also i loved her like my Mother !

    1. Dear Arun,
      That is so sweet. I guess that goes on to prove her brilliance as a performer onscreen that somehow embellished her gracious personality even more. Thank you for writing in..regards..cinematters

  7. Dear Cinematters,
    Though late am glad I found this blog of yours….. great effort and nice to see such good observations…… Your remembrance on Srividya is really good…. and your observations as well. You said it…. she had such eloquent eyes….. they could speak volumes…..I think she was first used as a playback singer by Shankar Ganesh in the movie Ayalathe Sundari…..( Hemamalilni, Hemamalini…Hemantha sandhya mohini)… I have a few songs in the mp3 format which was sung on stage…. Its really worth mentioning…. Have you seen Balachander’s Apoorva raagangal? There is a song sequence Ezhuswarangalukkul ethanai ragam….she is a carnatic vocalist in the movie… you should see the way she enacts….. you could make out that she was a good singer…. I read someone mentioning about her fluency in Malayalam….. no wonder…. she practically grew up with the Travancore sisters…. I believe she was their neighbor when she was a kid…

    Keep going….. shall go through one by one….. Thanks again…..

    1. Dear viju,
      The pleasure is mine. As I have mentioned there, she deserves more than this passing note of fond remembrance and I really, really intend to do that very soon, on her talents as an actor, singer and a dancer. She truly deserves that. es, I have a treasured copy of Apoorva raagangal, infact all of KB’s movies. Thanks..cinematters

  8. Sreevidya and director Bharathan was in a long affair which surprisingly didnt find any mention when Thirakatha was released (at least, I didnt find any). This finds some 3-4 chapter in Bharathan’s biography by friend John Paul. In Lalitha’s autobiography, she confirms this but (understandably) the whole matter is covered in some 2 para

    1. Dear Rajesh,
      Yes, I have heard that too, but as I said, let her work become the very reason for our celebrations🙂 Would you also know of anyway we could get a legal copy of her unplugged concert from Kairali TV Channel? Is there a process for similar requests?Any leads would be appreciated.. regards..cinematters.

      1. Yes even I didnt want to divert the line of thread. Had thought twice before posting…but got carried away🙂
        Not sure about Kairali. DD used to give copy’s long back. Not sure about the procedure now.
        Will check with some sakhakkal

  9. cinematters, and Pradeep, thanks for the clarification -I always thought it was director KG George – I remember reading something to that effect when Adaminte Variyellu was released. Anyway, glad to have that information corrected.🙂 cinematters, do, do, do a post on her different roles – she was such an amazing actress!

    1. Hi Anu,
      While on the subject, KG George is married to Selma, daughter of the legendary Pappukkutty Bhagavathar ( who is still active as a singer/performer at 97 years !)Selma George is herself a fabulous singer, and her Saradindu Malardeepa from Ulkadal is enough to fall in love with her voice and talent…cinematters

      If you still haven’t listened to this yet,

      1. Ulkadal was such a beautiful (but sad) movie. And the songs! Apart from this, there was also ‘Krishna thulasi’, ‘Nashta vasantathin’, ‘Ente Kadinjool pranaya kathayile penkodi’ – the only problem was having to watch Venu Nagavalli> Every time I saw him, I felt like offering him a handkerchief! He looked like he was always going to cry. I used to be scared of watching a movie if he and Jalaja were there – I *knew* it was going to be a tragedy!

        Thanks for the information about KG George’s real wife.🙂 I didn’t know that Sarabindu malardeepam was sung by Selma. If I thought about it at all, I might have assumed it was P Susheela or Vani Jairam or someone – I knew it wasn’t S Janaki.

        1. Hi Anu,
          I think Ulkadal should be blamed for giving him the “Master of melancholy” title, and as you said, sat in the hole with abject dread waiting for tragedy to strike, in his subsequent movies. With Chillu, there was no escape. As a viewer, you were doomed to brood.🙂 Had he not become a director and a screenplay writer, I worry about what he would have become🙂 . Regardless, he remains one of the most mult-talented craftsmen ever seen in Malayalam cinema. The actor who made you cry in Ulkadal, was also the script writer who made you laugh till your sides ached with Kilukkam, and was aslo the director who stabbed you through the heart with Sarvakalshala, Sukhamo devi and Agnidevan..I have dedicated a category to Venu Nagavalli where you can read a couple of articles on him here Regards..cinematters

  10. Think it is George Thomas and not KT George…For many years, I was under the impression that she was married to director KG George till I read recently on the net about her marriage to George Thomas.

    1. Dear Pradeep,
      Yes, it is George Thomas. Was just about finished typing in that in reply to Anu, as I realised I missed that🙂. Thanks for the correction..Regards..cinematters

  11. She was one of my favourite actresses. It’s no wonder that she can sing – she’s ML Vasanthkumari’s daughter, after all. I was always impressed with her enunciation (and pronunciation) in Malayalam – there was no ‘choya’ considering she was a Tamilian.

    Between Kamal Hassan and KT George (?) she is the one who suffered.

    1. Hi Anu,
      She mentions in an interview that the music teacher who came in to teach the local lads adjacent to their house was stupefied telling him if any of them as much as slipped on a swara, when she was all of 4 years old, and she didn’t even had sat fora single lesson. And agree wholeheartedly with her amazing diction and pronunciation. I remember sitting open-jawed years ago watching the unplugged concert series, “Symphony” on Kairali channel as she started off on Lag ja galey Se, and if you closed your eyes, it was Lataji singing. Really need to do an exhaustive journey through her movies, roles, music and dance, and try to get hold of atleast one of her Navarathri Concerts. Thank you for writing in..regards..cinematters

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