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  • Birth NameSankaramanchi Janaki
  • Date of birth Dec 12th, 1931
  • Birth Place Rajahmundry, AP
  • Occupation Heroine

"The World of Cinema demands glamour, beauty and attractive personality for actresses. But for Janaki, it is definitely her voice which gave her the right break."

Did You
know

After the release of Shaavukaru on 27th April 1950, Janaki became Shaavukaru Janaki though her surname is Shankaramanchi

Overview

Her voice can express any sort of emotion.  She can carry any facial expression with extreme ease. Clarity of diction, conversational skills which can touch the viewer’s heart, and doing hundred percent justice to any character she adorns are some of the greatest features of this actress. She is none other than the actress par excellence- Shaavukaru Janaki!

It is indeed a great honor for her to have her debut film name becoming her surname from then and people remembering her with the her first appearance in Cinema, even after six decades. Though her mother tongue is telugu, Janaki not only acted in Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada films but spoke with such brilliant diction which enthralled the audience there as well. In fact, Janaki rose to prominence with her tremendous skill in delivering any dialogue with great emotional dimension and utmost clarity. She can present the character with her impactful voice modulations. The people of Tamil Nadu still treat her as their native too. She was greatly felicitated by many cultural organizations as well as the Government of Tamil Nadu. The main reason for this is because she was extremely close to the Tamil audience with her stage performances and radio programmes. She was the part of celebrated director K.Balachander’s stage drama troupe which included great South Indian actors like Major Sundara Rajan and Nagesh. To put it short, Janaki was well received and more respected by Tamil Nadu natives compared to her hometown of Telugu Land. She acted in nearly 385 films in her acting career in which she starred opposite veteran actors like ANR, Sr.NTR in Telugu along with Sivaji Ganesan, MGR in Tamil. She acted with Kannada stalwart Rajkumar and Prem Nazir in Malayalam Cinema. She graced the Bollywood as well in few films. The biggest asset of Janaki is her brilliant nativity in any language she speaks. She is a brilliantly fluent in English as well. In the film Manchi Kutumbam (1968), her voice over for the character of Juliet in a small sequence involving the love story epic Romeo Juliet itself is a great example of this.

Generally, the World of Cinema demands glamour, beauty and attractive personality for actresses. But for Janaki, it is definitely her voice which gave her the right break. During the days when Madras Radio Station used to air Telugu Programmes, Janaki used to give voice over for character elder than her age. B.N.Reddy, an ace director who used to be a regular listener of these programmes realized the greatness of Janaki’s voice. It was when he established the prestigious Vijaya Production house along with his brother Nagireddy in the year 1948. They were making arrangements for their first ever film Shavukaru starring Sr.NTR and L.V.Prasad in direction department. B.N.Reddy told L.V.Prasad about the wonderful voice of Janaki and asked the latter to consider her as the female lead for this film. L.V.Prasad accordingly did the screening test for Janaki and selected her for the role. Janaki herself shared her experiences while filming in her debut film. She said that L.V.Prasad himself used to train her on how to face the camera and enact every scene to her. Due to her early marriage and kids in a tender age, Janaki had the habit of eating beetle leaf for chewing in order to give good health to her kids. But L.V.Prasad made her give up the habit saying that her teeth would look bad in close up shots. During the filming of Shavukaru, Janaki could not enact an emotional scene initially. But L.V.Prasad suddenly scolded her saying, “ Madam, are you acting for free? Are the producers not paying you for this?” and got her into the sad mood. After the release of Shaavukaru on 27th April 1950, Janaki became Shavukaru Janaki though her surname is Shankaramanchi.

After Shavukaru, Janaki got great feedback for her performance but couldn’t get good chances for acting. She was initially considered for the role of Parvathi in ANR starrer Devadasu but as fate could have it, Savitri was finalized for the role. Though she did memorable roles in Telugu later, she was more admired and respected in Tamil Film Industry. 


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