It is very hard for any actor to be so convincing just like a fluid which can assume its shape depending on the container it is in. Only few actors could make such justice in Telugu Cinema and one such brilliant actress is Suryakantham. Let it be a torturing mother in law, or a commenting sister in law, or a person who induces arguments and politics in a family, Suryakantham has proved to be competent in any role which relates to a middle class woman.
“If I keep tadka (Popu in Telugu) the whole street will be filled with its fragrance!”- This dialogue could be told only by Suryakantham with extreme ease. We feel like learning how to get totally involved in the character and how it is possible to do so from her! She is the union of three worlds- Histrionics, Dialogue Delivery and Appearance. Her dialogue delivery is so crisp and fluid that one cannot imagine it to be artificial at any point of time, irrespective of who penned those lines.
Observe Suryakantham in emotional scenes when she wipes her tears with her saree pallu, and modulates her voice sadly and at the same time blowing her nose in between. We can easily relate to some family member we know in real life. When the same actress throws tantrums on people and attacking them with words and curses, the audience feels “Oh! She reminds me of …” (Fill in the blank!). At one point of time Suryakantham name became interchangeable with the word “Bullying!”
This doesn’t mean she cannot do roles involving other emotional shades. Suryakantham could perform so brilliantly in roles which demand innocence and extreme kind heartedness. Her face value in Telugu Cinema is huge. The audience used to notice her picture on the wall poster and prepare themselves for a good film. In the same manner, even the distributors used to ask whether she is there in a film, before buying it!
Suryakantham was born on October 28th 1924 and had the mischievous girl image right from her childhood. She was in forefront doing things like teasing their teacher in school, riding bicycle all over the place and talking straightforwardly since then. She used to act in stage plays in Kakinada’s Young Men’s Happy Club and it was when she could interact with prominent film personalities like Anjali Devi, Aadi Narayana Rao, and SVR which prodded her to join film industry. But she could get only chances like side appearances in songs or an assistant beside the female lead in her initial career. Suryakantham- an actress, who can deliver dialogues like a Godavari river flow, had to act in a role of dumb girl for a film Dharamangada. She even got a chance to act as a main heroine in a film but it missed out eventually.
It was then she got a chance to act in Samsaram (1950) starring Sr.NTR, ANR in lead roles and directed by L.V.Prasad. Suryakantham played the role of an arrogant woman and was like a bullying person throughout in the film. This film turned the dimension and direction of Telugu Cinema with her characterization. Ever since, Suryakantham never looked back in her career. She adorned so many characters with unmistakable ease. At one situation, the writers used to create special characters which would suit for Suryakantham as well! The Telugu Nativity was so evident in any role she adorned in all respects. She acted in the title role of Gundamma Kadha and has been quite pivotal in the film’s success. Throughout the film she is seen troubling Savitri’s character and her performance after realizing her nature is another epic moment. She is one actress who knows her limitations perfectly and makes sure she shows the versatility in the limit she has. Her innocence and kind heartedness was clearly seen in roles like Bharya Bharatlu and Brahmachari.
The famous poet Arudra said, “Suryakantham as a person is Ginger but her heart is sweet filled jaggery!” Many film personalities often tell about her good heart in bringing food for the crew in shooting and serving them affectionately. As a person off screen, Suryakantham is known for her affectionate nature and helping out whoever is in trouble. Such a great artist left this world on December 18th, 1994 but her work will always enthrall us and make us realize the great actress in her.
Iqlikmovies remembers the legendary mother in law of Tollywood- Suryakantham on her birth anniversary today!