While Samantha Akkineni has recently expressed her desire to produce films to promote young talent, there are many other actresses in south Indian cinema who had ventured into production, direction and other areas.
With all guts and grit, they explored horizons which were considered as male bastions. This week, Mykollywood.com, as part of its special articles series, takes a look at a few actresses who bankrolled films.
Savitri was an actress, playback singer, dancer, director and producer known for her works primarily in Telugu and Tamil cinema. She is also known for her works in Kannada films, Malayalam films and Bollywood.
In 1968, she produced and directed the Telugu film ‘Chinnari Papalu’, for which she received the state Nandi Award for Best Feature Film (Silver).
Savitri was born on 4 January 1936 into a Telugu speaking Kapu family in Chirravuru, Guntur district, Madras Presidency, now a part of Andhra Pradesh. Her father was Nissankara Guravayya and her mother was Nissankara Subhadramma.
Bhanumathi was a multilingual Indian film actress, director, music director, singer, producer, book writer and songwriter. Widely known as the first female super star of Telugu cinema and South Indian film Industry, she is also known for her works in Tamil cinema.
Bhanumathi entered the film industry in 1939, and acted in over 200 films in Telugu and Tamil. She was also called as Ashtavadhani by the film industry people as she was a writer, actor, director, producer, singer, music director, editor and studio owner. She also had a good knowledge of astrology and philosophy.
She produced a satirical movie titled ‘Chakrapani’ which was a huge hit and became a classic in Tollywood. For this movie, she also worked as Music Director.
During the shooting of the film ‘Krishna Prema’, she met P S Ramakrishna Rao, an assistant director for that film. He was a film producer, director and editor of Telugu and Tamil films. The couple later married on 8 August 1943 and later launched a popular production company, Bharani Pictures on their son’s name.
Radikaa is a film and television actress, entrepreneur, and producer who works in the Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam and Kannada film industries.
She is the founder of the Radaan Mediaworks India Limited, which has produced films and serials such as ‘Chitti’, ‘Annamalai’, ‘Selvi’, ‘Arasi’, ‘Chellame’, ‘Vaani Rani’, ‘Thamarai’ and ‘Idi Katha Kadu’ (Telugu).
She has also produced a film titled ‘Meendum Oru Kaadhal Kathai’, which won the Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director. Her other film production ventures include ‘Jai’, ‘Jithan’, ‘Thalaimagan’, ‘Kannamoochi Yenada’, ‘Chennaiyil Oru Naal’, ‘Pulivaal’, ‘Maari’ and ‘Annadurai’.
Kutty Padmini made her debut in Tamil cinema at the age of 3. She has acted with prominent personalities of Tamil cinema, including Sivaji Ganesan, M G Ramachandran, Gemini Ganesan, Jaishankar, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan.
Kutty Padmini turned from actress to producer in 1983 when she ventured out into TV Serials. She founded her own production house Vaishnave Media Works and produced, directed, written and acted in many blockbuster TV serials of the day in Tamil, Hindi etc.
As a producer, she inspired a generation of artistes belonging to various spheres of Tamil Cinema from musicians to cameramen and art directors including D Imman who made his debut in ‘Krishnadasi’.