Was Gemini completely responsible for Savitri’s death?
I would say……
50% because of Gemini.
50% because of the ungrateful industry.
She should not have touched even a drop of alcohol under any circumstance in life. No matter how frustrated she was with her life.
ஜெமினி நடித்த சுமைதாங்கி திரைப்படத்தில் “மயக்கம்மா கலக்கம்மா” என்ற பாடலில் ஒரு அருமையான வரி வரும்.
“உனக்கும் கிழே உள்ளவர் கோடி, உள்ளதை நினைத்து நிம்மதி நாடு”
கண்ணதாசன் மிக அழகாக எழுதி இருப்பார். அந்த ஒரு வரியை மட்டும் வாழ்க்கையில் சாவித்திரி நினைவில் வைத்து கொண்டிருந்தால். எவ்வளவு நல்லா இருந்திருக்கும்!
என்னை பொறுத்த வரைக்கும் அவங்க வாழ்க்கையில் எதை இழந்திருந்தாலும் “சுய நம்பிக்கையை” மட்டும் இழந்திருக்க கூடாது. என்ன இல்லை உண்மையிலேயே அவங்க கிட்ட? அழகு இல்லையா? திறமை இல்லையா? பெயர் இல்லையா? புகழ் இல்லையா? பணம் இல்லையா? கடவுள் எல்லாத்தையும் அள்ளித் தானே கொடுத்திருந்தார். எல்லாவற்றுக்கும் மேல் சிவாஜி கணேசனுக்கு இணையாக கருதப்பட்டவர் சாவித்திரி. “நடிகையர் திலகம்” என்று எல்லோராலும் போற்ற பட்ட ஒரே நடிகை. யாருக்கு கிடைக்கும் அந்த அரிய பட்டம்?! She was adored by both the critics and audience. அவங்க திருமண வாழ்கை – அவங்க வாழ்க்கையில் சந்தித்த ஒரே சறுக்கல். அதை என்னனு சொல்றது யானை தன் தலையில் தானே மண்ணை வாரி கொட்டிக் கொள்வது போல் அவங்க வாழ்கையை அவங்களே கெடுத்து கிட்டாங்கனு சொல்வதா? இல்லை விதின்னு சொல்வதா?
Gemini and Savitri might have made a good looking pair on screen. But he was no match to her. The age difference between the two was sixteen years! It’s quite unbelievable eh?! Yes, its true Gemini was exactly 33 years old when he made his debut in films. Unlike many actors he never made attempts to hide his age. He was twice married already by the time he met Savitri. Also had more nearly half a dozen children. As he always mentions his life was an open book. She did the biggest blunder of her life when she decided to settle as his third wife. Both did love each other immensely. A few factors separated them.
He married Juliana at the age of seventy-nine. He said he married her because he needed company in one of his interviews. If it was just for that, why couldn’t have he adopted her as his daughter?! What a disgusting man he was ! Honestly, she was half his age. Eww!
I have not seen her daughter talking anything remotely bad about her father in any of her interviews. She maintained a good relationship with him until his death and she has a cordial relationship with her half sisters. Rekha was diplomatic and did not badmouth him in the show with rendezvous with Simi Garewal in STAR WORLD. He was the father of six children of Pushpavalli. But doesn’t seem to have cared for them in any manner. Yes he and Pushpavalli may had differences. But still I don’t know how any daughter could forgive such a father.
Her career in the Tamil industry virtually got over by 1965. It’s indeed an overlooked fact. Her film offers started to decline after 1965. She just had a few odd releases like Thattungal Thirakkapadum, Kandhan Karunai, Saraswathi Sabatham etc to name a few. She had actually signed them all before 1965. They were just delayed releases. She did continue to act as pair with NTR and ANR till 1970. She was not paired opposite Sivaji for six years after the release of Thiruvilaiyadal.(1965 – 1971) Praptham (1971) was their last release. They stopped acting after Praptham for reasons best known to them. He teamed up with K.R.Vijaya and Jayalalitha. He also did a lot of movies with Padmini after her comeback in the late 60s as well. (Note: Padmini was five years older than Savitri) As far as MGR is concerned, no matter how old he was he preferred working only with young heroines. He ran around trees with actresses who were nearly one fourth of his age. Yes, you can say quite pathetic. After Jayalalitha made her entry he even stopped acting with Saroja Devi. Jayalalitha got replaced by Latha and Manjula later. It was how the Tamil industry functioned in the late 60s. Glamor was the order of the day. Savitri had put on some weight in the late 60s. It might be one of the reasons why she was not able to sustain her position in the industry. Both looks and talent are equally important to survive in the tinsel world. Its an undeniable fact. The standard of movies definitely started to deteriorate right from the late 60s, that’s a different story. The golden period of Tamil cinema was between 1951 -1965 in my opinion. Even directors like Sridhar started to bad-mouth her. He cited Savitri’s weight as the reason for the failure of Manase Mandiram. Both Nenjil Oru Alayam and Dil Ek Mandir, the original Tamil and Hindi version were huge musical hits. Savitri did look extremely fat in the movie. But the reason for its failure in Telugu is because the overall movie was poor. It was Sridhar who actually needs to be blamed for it . Because his direction in the Telugu version was not up to the mark. I was so pissed off when he gave such a lame excuse. It was ridiculous to say the least. Because both Devika and Meena Kumari were quite obese too indeed. I think Padmini and Saroja Devi were pretty clever because both retired from the movies as soon as they started to loose their market. They knew they would be relegated to do pathetic character roles soon. So did Vyjayanthimala ! She bid adieu to movies when she was at her peak. Padmini quit films in 1971. She went back to America. She did make a comeback in the eighties again. It was due to Fazil’s efforts. Kannadathu Paingili settled at Bangalore. They all lead a peaceful life. But Savitri on the other hand chose to venture into direction side. I suppose she never wanted to quit the industry and wanted be an active part of it always. There was nothing really wrong with her decision. She was obsessed with the profession. But if she really wanted to leave her stamp as a director, she should have opted for unique stories like K.Balachander and made some innovative and challenging films. I would have appreciated her more had she experimented. She directed five movies and most of them were remakes. (Praptham – Mooga Manasulu, Kuzhanthai Ullam – Chinnari Pappalu, Chiranjeevi – Neerkumizhi, Vintha Samsaram – Vietnam Veedu.) She produced her own movies and burnt her hands severely.
The industry did not lend her the much needed support when she was financially in a low position. It did not treat her kindly and did not even respect her talent. It did absolutely nothing to rescue her. How painful would it have been for her to do all those crap mother roles in the C grade movies in Tamil, especially for someone who has always craved to be versatile. Don’t think I’m blaming the Tamil industry alone. The Telugu industry was equally horrible to her. I reiterate how many movies did NTR and ANR work with Savitri in the 70s? Sivaji, NTR and ANR could have at least cast her in the double role subjects. Couldn’t have they? Its needless to mention about Gemini; but he at least had a valid reason. They were not able to work together because of their personal problems. He did act in the movie Alaudhinum Arputha Vilakkum where she acted as Kamal Hassan’s mother. But both did not appear in any shot together. If you observe attentively the director would have used some editing tricks. Actually, their shots got filmed separately. I don’t have to mention but it was an unbearable movie. Same goes to “Sivaranjani”, the Sripriya starrer. The reason I bring them here is both did not have any big grudge against each other. Because there was no necessity for Gemini to do those movies. He could have easily avoided them.
I happened to read an article from Ananda Vikatan dated 29/11/1981 were Sivashankari has written about Savitri’s last days. It was re-published in Ananta Vikatan recently. It can be found here. For people who have difficulty in understanding/reading Tamil I have provided a rough translation here.
Even though it was depressing to read about it, contrary to some of the media reports it is evident that she did not die because of alcohol addiction.
To conclude the turn-up of events in her life was truly miserable and unfortunate.
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