Mahanati, the moniker denoting the great acting skills of an actress, sits finely on the late Savitri. The renowned actress, with her subtle acting skills and powerful screen presence, secured an immortal position in the pantheon of Indian cinema greats.
The popularity of this legend only grew as the years passed, after her tragic death in 1981. Her performances remain a textbook of learning acting for many current generation actors, both male and female.
December 6th, 2019, is the 83rd birth anniversary of the late Savitri. We recall her 5 most memorable roles in her 20 year odd glittering career.
- Devadasu (1953)
Savitri was not the first choice for this iconic role, which may come as a surprise to many today who can think of none other than Savitri in the role of Parvati, the forlorn lady love of Devdas. Pitted against the star A. Nageswara Rao, Savitri shone like a diamond with her great act. There was no looking back for her in the South post Devadasu.
- Mayabazar (1957)
Perhaps the most memorable role of Savitri was in Mayabazar as Princess Sasirekha who, after a big ordeal, gets married to her lover, Abhimanyu. In her dual role as Maya Sasirekha and Sasirekha, Savitri excelled with her perfect comic sense and also proved her versatility as an actress.
- Narthanasala (1963)
One of Savitri’s iconic roles was in this mythological, in which she played Draupadi, the Queen of Pandavas, who avenges her humiliation by Keechaka. Savitri and the late S.V. Ranga Rao shone in their roles and the movie went to many international film festivals, displaying the talent of the South.
- Doctor Chakravarthi (1964)
The first Telugu film which was based on a popular novel, Doctor Chakravarthi gave Savitri a new challenge of playing A. Nageswara Rao’s (ANR) sibling. This was a challenge because Savitri was always paired opposite ANR as his heroine in many of their films. The audience happily accepted Savitri’s role as Madhavi. This character was noted for its range of emotions, which Savitri displayed with gay abandon.
- Sumangali (1965)
This movie posed yet another challenge for Savitri as she had to play the role of wife of an impotent man who wants her to get married to her cousin who loves her.
Savitri’s role of Sharada resists this and consumes poison as she loves none other than her husband.
Savitri played this role with such amazing passion and poise, many remember her subtle expressions to this date.
Generally, Savitri excelled in every role which she took up, hence it is difficult to pick her best performances from her 200 odd movies. However, the above 5 movies showcased her versatility and proved she was, she is and she will remain the only Mahanati.