Manorama was to Tamil cinema what her dear friend and late actor S. Sukumari was to Malyalam cinema

Manorama and Sukumari Two friends who will be remembered as legends
news Sunday, October 11, 2015 - 21:31

The visual of a visibly upset, out of breath actor Manorama navigating with difficulty the narrow stairs leading to an apartment in Chennai beamed across Malayalam channels in March 2013.

Manorama was there to pay last respects to her dear friend Sukumari. A distraught Manorama told the media that she did not think her friend; one she fondly called ‘Amma’ would leave her so quickly. Sukumari breathed her last in 2013. Two years later Manorama joins her friend in their heavenly abode.

Veteran Tamil actor Manorama who was an iconic figure in Tamil films passed away in Chennai on Saturday night. Known for her innumerable roles including the very famous one of ‘Jil Jil’ Ramamani in the Tamil film Tllanna Mohanambal, she was to Tamil cinema what her dear friend and late actor S. Sukumari was to Malyalam cinema. With her demise Tamil cinema has lost a familiar face that brought humour and pathos, sarcasm and with to cinema as none other.

Both Manorama and Sukumari brought to life the navarasas (nine emotions) that actors of today may find difficult to emote especially as technology and other effects rule the roost and acting takes a back seat. Neither was a super star in their days, throughout their long careers they were household names in the world of Tamil and Malayalam cinema. They were both known for their comic timing and also their prowess to make the viewer weep inconsolably. Both started working in the industry when they were young, enthralled audiences for decades acting in innumerable movies, and more than often outperformed the lead actors in the plot.

Sukumari was related to the famous Travancore sisters Padmini, Ragini and Lalita and Manorama played a host of roles alongside ‘Pappi’as Padmini was called by her fans and friends. In the film Tillana Mohanambal, Manorama was the confidante of the temple danseuse Padmini who dance is pitted against the nadaswaram player Shivaji Ganeshan and his music.

The famous danseuse from Travancore went on to conquer Bollywood opposite Raj Kapoor in many films but she reportedly remained in touch with the evergreen Manorama.

Sukumari and Manorama were thick friends. In 2008, the two friends came together in Kochi at an event where Sukumari was being awarded for her outstanding contributions to the Malayalam film industry.  “She is my sister. I am short of words when asked to describe my feelings for her,” Manorama had then said.

In 2009, they came together in a Malayalam movie starring Jayaram and Jothika titled Seetha Kalyanam.

Picture uploaded by Aroma Mohan, during Seetha Kalyanam shoot

Manorama and Sukumari who regaled audiences as much with their wit as with their strong presence at a time when women were considered no better than furniture or props in the cinematic world have now left us. But they will live in our hearts forever with their evergreen portrayals

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