Sukumari സുകുമാരി (6 October 1940 – 26 March 2013)Indian film actress who has primarily acted in Malayalam and Tamil films

SEPIA-TINTED MEMORIES Padmini in a frock, sitting on the left, with her extended family at Malaya Cottage in 1935

She had been acting since she was 10 years old and has acted in various roles. The total number of her films is presumed to be more than 3000. In 2003, she was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India for her contributions towards the arts. And she won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Namma Gramam(2010)
Sukumari married director A. Bhimsingh


 in 1959.(1924–1978) He died in 1978. The couple has a son, Suresh.

Malaya Cottage' has a special place in the history of Malayalam cinema. It was a grooming ground for some of the most popular stars in the industry. Situated at Poojapura, Thiruvananthapuram, the mansion was home to Penang Padmanabha Pillai, a planter who worked in Malaysia.
Pillai had six children, all boys. Karthiyayini Amma, his wife, had a liking for girls and would invite home her nieces, one of whom she eventually adopted. A great lover of dance and music, Karthiyayini Amma made arrangements for the girls to learn dance at Malaya Cottage. Soon many girls from Karthiyayini Amma's extended family joined the music and dance lessons.
All in the family
Most talented of the lot were Karthiyayini Amma's nieces - Lalitha, Padmini and Ragini, later known as the Travancore Sisters. "Only Pappi (Padmini) was formally adopted. But my mother-in-law treated all of them like her daughters. I still remember, she bought them a made-to-order silk sari from Kanchipuram. Since Lalli (Lalita) and Pappi were wearing a sari for the first time, Amma got it consecrated at Madurai Meenakshi Temple," says Visalakshi Amma, wife of the late Ravindran Nair, Karthiyayini Amma's son.
"They were initiated into different dance forms under Guru Gopinath first and later Mahalingam Pillai and Udayshankar. It was not the Travancore sisters alone, actors Sukumari and Ambika, their cousins, were also part of the Malaya Cottage clan. They all lived like a family there."
Sukumari, has vivid memories of her childhood in Malaya Cottage.
"As a child, I used to hang around when Lallakkan, Pappiakkan and Rakkiakkan practised. Then, I slowly started learning with them, they used to take me to their performances and to the film sets. Just being with them at the right time has made me what I am today," says Sukumari.
"Malaya Cottage, in a way, inspired three generations of actors," feels Mahalakshmi, daughter of Ragini. "The first generation of actors, including my mother, was groomed there. And perhaps it is their success and passion that inspired Shobhana and Krishna to make a career in films," she adds.

The Travancore sisters with Sukumari (standing next to Padmini, extreme right)

Actor and danseuse Shobhana is the niece of the Travancore Sisters and actor Krishna, the grand son of Lalitha.
"Though I have not seen Malaya Cottage in its glory, I remember my mother talking fondly about that house. She had many bungalows in her possession later, but she loved Malaya Cottage the most. Even during her last days, she spoke about the great time she had in that house. She wanted to get back there, but by then it had been demolished," says Mahalakshmi.

Lalitha, Padmini, centre, and Ragini.

Today, the Nabard headquarters at Poojapura is located on the site of Malaya Cottage, she says.
In its heyday, Malaya Cottage was one of the biggest mansions of Thiruvananthapuram and could easily accommodate around 50 to 60 people.
"It was a beautiful house. With its flower laden drive-in, long corridors and a dancing hall, it would remind anyone of a typical Mills and Boon mansion. The house had expensive artefacts such as chandeliers, silver crockery, brass idols and glass collections from all over the world," recalls Kanakam Nair, Karthiyayini Amma's niece.
But Malaya Cottage became famous not for its architectural elegance and opulence, but for its acclaimed inhabitants. The Travancore Sisters and the house do not exist any more, but their legacy will continue to inspire others.
Home productions
Malaya Cottage also had its own `home productions' with Sathyapalan (the second son of Karthiyayini Amma) as producerdirector and the Travancore Sisters as the lead actors. `Ummini Thanka,' `Veluthambi Dalava,' `Minnunnathellam Ponnalla' _ belonged to that genre.
Sathyapalan produced and directed a number of feature films in both Tamil and Malayalam, many of them super hits of those times.
Sukumari and Ambika also made their debut in tinsel town when they were living at Malaya Cottage. 

Actress Sukumari as a young girl and later


Civilian Awards
National Film Awards
Kerala State Film Awards
Filmfare Awards
Asianet Film Awards
Kerala Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
  • 1979: Ezhu Nirangal (directed by I. V. Sasi)
  • 1982: Chiriyo Chiri
  • 1985: Arappatta Kettiya Gramathil
Other awards
  • 2007: Kala Ratnam Award of KALA Abu Dhabi
  • 2011: Bahadoor Award[18]
  • 2011: Chalachitra Pratibha by Kerala Film Critics Association[19]
  • 2002: Special honour at Gurupooja, Soorya Festival for lifetime achievement
  • Chalachithra Ratnam by Kerala Film Critics Association
  • Abhinaya Bharathi by Kalakairali, Chennai
Tamil Nadu State Awards
  • Kalaimamani Award (Given by Govt. of Tamil Nadu): 1991-1992)
  • Kalai Selvam Award (Given by Govt. of Tamil Nadu): 1990

Partial filmography


Year Film Role Language Director
2011 Ponnar Shankar Vaanayi Tamil
2011 Namma Gramam

2012 Ayalum Njanum Thammil Nurse Malayalam Lal Jose
2012 3G Grand mother to hero Malayalam Jayprakash Menon
2012 Trivandrum Lodge Peggy(Resident of the Lodge) ' Malayalam V. K. Prakash
2012 Diamond Necklace Grandmother in law to hero' Malayalam Lal Jose


Year Film Role Language Director
2009 Vettaikaaran Paatti

2008 Yaaradi Nee Mohini

2008 Twenty:20

2008 Mizhikal Sakshi kooniamma

2008 Pachamarathanalil Nun

2007 Nasrani Annamma

2007 Paranju Theeratha Visheshangal

2006 Chakkara Muthu

2006 The Don

2006 Classmates Prithviraj's mother

2006 Madhuchandralekha

2005 Chanthupottu Muthassi

2005 Pandippada Pandi Durai's mother

2005 Ben Johnson

2005 Pauran Minister

2005 Alice in Wonderland Bridget

2005 Achuvinte Amma Moothamma

2004 Rasikan Bhargaviyamma

2004 Vishwa Thulasi

2004 Vettam

2004 Wanted Unni's mother

2004 Vismayathumbathu Hostel warden

2004 Vellinakshatram

2004 Symphony Deenamma

2004 Koottu

2003 Gaurisankaram

2003 Manassinakkare Shanthamma

2003 Ammakilikkoodu Parvathy Ammal

2003 Mizhi Randilum Bhadra's mother

2003 Pattalam Pattabhiraman's mother

2003 C.I.D. Moosa Sahadevan's mother

2003 Kilichundan Mampazham Beeyathu

2002 Nizhalkkuthu Marakatam, the executioner's wife

2002 Meesha Madhavan Meesha Madhavan's mother

2002 Kanmashi Paatti

2002 Mazhathullikkilukkam Kikkili Kochamma

2002 Snehithan Malavika's grandmother

2001 Poovellam Un Vasam Chella's grandmother

2001 Murari Sabari Telugu Krishnavamshi
2001 Ravanaprabhu Gounder's mother

2001 Narendran Makan Jayakanthan Vakan Aishumma

2001 Kakkakuyil

2001 Rakshasa Rajav

2001 Randam Bhavam Akhila's mother

2000 Alaipayuthey

2000 Darling Darling

2000 Pilots Mother Superior

2000 Priyam Ajosh's mother

2000 Snegithiye

2000 Valliettan Kunjikavamma


Year Film Role Language
1999 Aakasha Ganga

1999 Chandranudikkunna Dikhil

1999 Friends Ammayi
1999 Independence

1999 Megham

1999 Pallavur Devanarayanan

1999 Prem Poojari

1998 Kabhi Na Kabhi

1998 Amma Ammayiamma Visalakshi
1998 Chitrashalabham Maria
1998 Meenakshi Kalyanam Janaki
1998 Oro Viliyum Kathorthu Kalyani
1998 Oru Mravathoor Kanavu

1998 Samaantharangal Aishu
1997 Chandralekha

1997 Bhoopathi Maggie
1997 Gajaraja Manthram Ananthan's mother
1997 Kalyana Uniikal Maggy
1997 Krishnagudiyil Oru Pranayakalathu Giri's mother
1996 Aayiram Naavulla Ananthan

1996 Kaathil Oru Kinnaram Dakshayani
1996 Saamoohyapadom

1995 No. 1 Sneha Theeram Bangalore North

1995 Mazhayethum Munpe Mariamma
1995 Agnidevan Kochammini
1995 Karma

1995 Manikya Chempazhukka Muthassi
1995 Mannar Mathai Speaking Gopalakrishnan's mother
1995 Nirnayam Dr. Annie's mother
1995 Sreeragam

1995 Thirumanassu Nandan's mother
1995 Tom & Jerry Balagopalan's mother
1994 Pakshe Balachandran's mother
1994 Pidakkozhi Koovunna Noottandu Amalu
1993 Golanthara Vartha

1993 Aayirappara Mariya
1993 Aagneyam Bhageerathi
1993 Injakkadan Mathai & Sons

1993 Journalist

1993 Kabuliwala Chandrika's mother
1993 Midhunam Swamini Amma
1993 Samagamam

1992 Johnnie Walker

1992 Adharam Naniyamma
1992 Ellarum Chollanu

1992 First Bell Yamini's mother
1992 Kaazhchakkppuram Narayani
1992 Kallan Kappail Thanne

1992 My Dear Muthachan Parthasarathi's mother
1992 Soorya Gayathri Paatti
1991 Anaswaram

1991 Advaitham Naniyamma
1991 Georgekutty C/O Georgekutty George Kutty's mother
1991 Keli Muthassi
1991 Nettippattam Mamma
1991 Ulladakkam Mental patient
1991 Uncle Bun Sister 2
1990 Ee Thanutha Veluppan Kalathu

1990 Kuttettan Vishnu's mother
1990 Iyer the Great

1990 Anantha Vruthantham Mercey
1990 Kalikkalam Jamal's mother
1990 Midhya Ammalu
1990 Abhimanyu

1990 Akkareakkareakkare House owner
1990 Arhatha Devamma
1990 Ee Kannikoodi Annamma
1990 Gajakesariyogam Saroja Nair
1990 His Highness Abdullah Janaki Varma
1990 Kuruppinte Kanakku Pustakom Subhadra
1990 Minda Poochakku Kalyanam Sarasamma
1990 Nagarangalil Chennu Raparkam Kunjulakshmi
1990 Sasneham Meenakshi Ammal
1990 Thalayanamanthram Sulochana Thankappan
1990 Varthamana Kalam Mrs. Menon


Year Film Role Language Director
1989 Artham Janardanan's mother

1989 Adharvam Thevalli's wife

1989 Jaithra Yathra
Malayalam Sasikumar
1989 Utharam Molly Aunty

1989 Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha Kannappa Chekavar's wife

1989 Chakkikotha Chankaran Subhadra Kunjamma

1989 Dasharatham Maggie

1989 Kaalal Pada

1989 News Sulochana

1989 Ramji Rao Speaking Gopalakrishnan's mother

1989 Ulsavapittennu Bhageerathi

1989 Vadakkunokkiyantram Shobha's mother

1989 Varnatheru Sister Malayalam Antony Eastman
1988 Oru CBI Diary Kurippu Sister

1988 Dinarathrangal

1989 Vicharana Saraswathy

1989 Aparan

1988 Aranyakam

1988 Chithram

1988 Dhwani Thankamani

1988 Kudumba Puranam Thrikkunnathu Bhageerathiyamma

1988 Vellanakalude Naadu Pavithran's mother

1987 Manivatharile Aayiram Sivarathrikal Vinayachandran's motherv

1987 Kalam Mari Katha Mari

1987 Adimakal Udamakal Janu

1987 Sreedharante Onnam Thirumurivu Bhanumathi

1987 Amritamgamaya Haridas' mother

1987 Irupatham Noottandu

1987 Ivide ellavarkkum sukam
Malayalam Jeassy
1987 Jaalakam Devu

1987 Kottum Kuravayum

1987 Sarvakalasala Leelamma

1987 Thoovana Thumbigal Jayakrishnan's mother

1987 Vilambaram Mary

1987 Vrutham Savithri

1986 Ennu Nathante Nimmi

1986 Rareeram Soudamini

1986 Aval Kathirunnu Avanum

1986 Rakkuyilin Rajassadasil

1986 Geetham

1986 Ee Kaikalil Sultan's mother

1986 Poovinnu Puthiya Poonthennal

1986 Aayiram Kannukal

1986 Moonnu Masangalkku Munpu

1986 Nandi Veendum Varika Madhavi

1986 Gandhinagar 2nd Street

1986 Adukkan Entheluppam Bharathi

1986 Snehamulla Simham Kamalamma

1986 Arappatta Kettiya Gramathil

1986 Ayalvasi Oru Daridravasi Subhadra Kunjamma

1986 Ennennum Kannettante

1986 Ente Entethu Mathram

1986 Kunjattakilikal Kamalamma

1986 Onnu Muthal Poojaym Vare Sister

1986 Revathikkoru Pavakkutty Devootty

1986 Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam Panikkar's mother

1986 Sughamodevi Bharathi

1986 T.P. Balagopalan M.A. Anitha's mother

1985 Kandu Kandarinju Janaki

1985 Karimpin Poovinakkare

1985 Ente Kanakkuyil Subhadra Thankachi

1985 Oru Nokku Kanan Vilasini

1985 Anu Bandham Malu

1985 Makan Ente Makan Saraswathi

1985 Eeran Sandhya Seetha

1985 Adhyayam Onnu Muthal Karthyayaniyamma

1985 Akkare Ninnoru Maran Saraswathy

1985 Aram + Aram = Kinnaram

1985 Boeing Boeing Dick Ammayi

1985 Ithu Nalla Thamasa

1985 Koodum Thedi Sister

1985 Mangamma Sabatham

1985 Meenamasathile Sooryan Abubakkar's mother

1985 Mutharamkunnu P.O. Bhawani

1985 Onnanam Kunnil Oradi Kunnil Mrs. Menon

1985 Parayanumvayya Parayathirikkanumvayya Meenakshi

1985 Vasantha Sena Reetha

1985 Vellarikka Pattanam

1984 Kodathi

1984 Aalkkoottathil Thaniye Cheeru

1984 Aarorumariyathe Subhadra

1984 Adiyozhukkukal Radha

1984 Anithichuvappu

1984 Appunni Malu

1984 Arante Mulla Kochu Mulla

1984 Ariyatha Veethikal Kalyanikutty

1984 Athirathram Kathamma

1984 Ethirppukal

1984 Itha Innu Muthal Shankar's mother

1984 Ivide Ingane Bharathi

1984 Kaliyil Alpam Karyam

1984 Kanamarayathu Roy's mother

1984 Koottinilamkili Sarada

1984 Muthodu Muthu Bhavani

1984 Onnanu Nammal Dr. Rachel

1984 Parannu Parannu Parannu Elizabeth

1984 Poochakkoru Mookkuthi Revathi

1984 Swanthamevide Bandhamevide Indulekha's mother

1984 Thathamme Poocha Poocha Sumathy

1984 Vikatakavi

1983 Aa Rathri

1983 Asthram

1983 Attakkalasam Mandakini

1983 Ente Katha

1983 Guru Dakshina

1983 Karyam Nissaram Annie

1983 Kinnaram

1983 Koodevide? Susan

1983 Onnu Chirikku

1983 Oru Swakaryam

1983 Pin Nilavu Saraswathi

1983 Prasnam Gurutharam Dr. Mary Mathew

1983 Rugma Elizabeth's Mother

1983 Sagaram Santham

1983 Sandhyakku Virinja Poovu

1983 Theeram Thedunna Thira

1982 Innalenkil Nale

1982 Amrutha Geetham

1982 Champalakadu

1982 Chillu Manu's mother

1982 Chiriyo Chiri

1982 Ithiri Neram Othiri Karyam Madhavi

1982 Ithu Njangalude Katha Naniyamma

1982 Padayottam Chiruthevi Thampuratti

1982 Ponnum Poovum Lakshmi

1982 Pooviriyum Pulari

1981 Ahimsa Bharathan's mother

1981 Orikkal Koodi

1981 Parvathi Lakshmi Bai

1981 Premabhishekam Raju's mother

1980 Angaadi

1980 Chandra Bimbam Jayabharathi's Mother


Year Film Role Director
1979 Jeevitham Oru Gaanam Annamma
1979 Mamangam Cherukutti
1978 Shalini Ente Koottukari Shantha
1977 Acharam Ammini Osaram Omana Pathmavathi
1977 Kayamkulam Kochunni

1975 Sila Nerangalil Sila Manithargal Ganesan's wife
1974 Chattakkari

1973 Kari Nizhal

1972 Pattikkad Pattanama

1969 Danger Biscuit Muthulaxmi
1969 Anaachadanam

1968 Yakshi

1968 Lakshaprabhu

1967 Chithramela "Apaswarangal" segment
1967 Anveshichu Kandethiyilla

1967 Collector Malathy

1967 Udhyogastha

1967 Aswamedham

1967 Khadeeja

1967 Chithramela

1967 Nagareme Nandi

1966 Tharavattamma

1966 Kunjali Marakkar

1966 Kusruthy Kuttan

1965 Chettathy

1965 Kuppivala

1965 Shyamala Chechi

1965 Ammu

1965 Bhoomiyile Malakha

1964 Thacholi Othenan

1964 Kalanju Kittiya Thankam

1964 Omanakuttan

1963 Chilamboli

1962 Kaalpadukal
1962 Bandhapasam

1962 Vidhi Thanna Vilakku

1961 Ummini Thanka

1959 Veerapandiya Kattabomman

1958 Sampoorna Ramayanam

1957 Thaskkara Veeran

1956 Koodapirappu

1951 Oru Irav

oru iravu film 1951

‘Mother’ of Malayalam moviedom passes away

27th March 2013 01:10 PM
A quaint tiled house, by the name Devaswom Estate Bungalow tucked away in a bylane at Kesavadasapuram here is the ancestral home of Sukumari, where she spent a maximum of her time, while in the city.       Her room, to the right of the house, had its walls lined with photographs of her favourite gods and goddesses. The double cot, in which Sukumari used to sleep, looked quite lost in that small room. So did the statuette given by MACTA to Padmasree Sukumari.
 ‘’All the interior decorations in the house, right from the wall hangings to the saffron silk on the idol of Lord Krishna are what ‘Akkan’ brought in,’’ said her sister Rajakumari, who looked very much like her older sister.  All four sisters of Sukumari - Rajakumari, Sreekumari, Jayasree and Girija - live in the same neighbourhood. ‘’While all of us lived most of our lives here, almost seventy years, Akkan left for Madras when she was just six or seven.
She went with Chachikunjamma, the mother of the Lalitha-Padmini-Ragini sisters.
Actually it was after we grew up that we got close to her,’’ recollected Rajakumari, while attending to phone calls and people who started pouring in on hearing the news of Sukumari’s death.  One among them was Nizzy, who was a former neighbour. ‘’Oh, she was like a mother to us. She taught me to how to make dosas with vegetable sprinkled all over and how to fry chicken nice and crisp for my daughter. She always had these little tricks to make kids eat food without too much of a fuss,’’ she said.
 Sukumari’s family basically came to Thiruvananthapuram from Thiruvattar, near the Mandakkad temple to be precise.  They first lived at Malaya Cottage in Poojappura in a joint family with aunts and cousins. ‘’We all lived as one big unit and there was no differentiation between us and our cousins. We were children to everyone,’’ said Rajakumari. The Devaswom Estate Bungalow was built while they lived in Poojappura and has continued to be the home for all sisters for nearly 70 years now. ‘’Sukumari wanted to be brought here after death.
She even said as much to Lizzie too. All of us have been trying for that. But they say it cannot be done,’’ said Rajakumari.  As the sisters are reconciled to the fact that bringing Sukumari’s body to her ancestral home was next to impossible they were busy packing bags to travel to Chennai as soon as possible to say a final goodbye to their dear sister.