South Indian actress Sukumari,74,died in Chennai on Tuesday evening. She had been hospitalised for nearly a month after sustaining 40 per cent burns while lighting a lamp in her pooja room.
Sukumari,a winner of Padma Shri in 2003,leaves behind a celluloid career spanning six decades,having played 2,000-odd characters in Malayalam,Kannada,Tamil,Telugu and Oriya languages. Interestingly,she had never resorted to dubbing while acting in a language other than her mother tongue.
A native of Thiruvananthapuram,Sukumaris debut appearance before the movie camera was at the age of 10 for a dance scene at AVM Studio in Chennai. Since then,she had grown along with the history of South Indian film industry. Even after industry witnessed the rise and fall of several superstars over the decades,Sukumari remained in the industry,well ensconced in her supporting roles. The versatile actress had been active in television as well.
A four-time winner of the state award for best supporting actress in Malayalam cinema,Sukumari played the role of mother in most of her films. At the age of 21,she played the role of Jayalalithaas mother and Sivaji Ganeshans mother-in- law in Tamil film Pattikadu Pattanama.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa,who had acted along with Sukumari in several films,visited her one-time colleague at the hospital last week.