L for SN Lakshmi in the series of Actors we are seeing.
Lakshmi who debuted as a part of a group dance in 1948 Magnum Opus Chandralekha has starred in more than 1500 films and nearly 6000 dramas in Tamil. She is one of the very few actors who has been performing until their death. When she passed away at the age of 84 she was doing a role in Vijay TV hit serial Saravana Meenakshi.
SN Lakshmi came to prominence after her brilliant performance in K. Balachandar’s drama Server Sundaram. She is the only other person apart from Nagesh to be retained and reprised their roles in the movie adaptation. This performance was so brilliant that she went on to play the mother role for nearly all leading actors in Tamil Cinema. She played Mother to MGR who is older than her in many movies and in she plays grandmother to Sivaji Ganesan who is just a year younger to her. Many of us will definitely remember her face but we fail to remember her name.
Among the humongous number of roles she played, I am going to talk about a couple of roles that made a mark and shows her in different shades. First of that is from Nadu Iravil directed by S. Balachandar. Inspired by the Agatha Christie classic And then there were none, this movie is a murder mystery and made beautifully. SN Lakshmi plays as Vadivambal, sister to the lead character Dayanandam whose sudden demise creates a problem and all of his relatives gather at his house. This role is different from her typical suffering mother who oozes out nothing but love. She plays the role with an ease and showcases her panic in the best way possible. You can watch the movie below.
The second role which is brilliant is her role as Thirupurasundari’s kleptomaniac grandmother in Michael Madhana Kamarajan(1990). Her role is totally hilarious and not only stands as a comedy extra but it moves the story at a crucial stage. Her performance at the climax elevates the already hilarious sequence. Another great sequence is how she manipulates Kameshwaran to accept the switching role for money from Avinashi. This role is just a treat to watch and remains one of the best ever written comedy roles. You can watch the full movie below.
The final role I wish to talk is the role of Noorjahan in Kadhala Kadhala. She plays the landlady who owns the place Kamal Hassan hires to convince Rambha’s Parents. Her sequence is hilarious and well crafted. She casually plays the role and her reactions to the stories of Kamal Hassan will definitely tickle your bones.
Before entering films she had around 2000 stage plays to her credit. She worked extensively with N.S. Krishnan’s troupe then joined S. V. Sahasranamam’s troupe before joining K. Balachandar’s troupe.
She played the role of a Queen in a 1960 movie titled Baghdad Thirudan starring M. G. Ramachandran. In that, she performed a stunt with a leopard without a dupe.