S. N. Lakshmi

Sennalkudi Narayana Thevar Lakshmi
Born Lakshmi
Madras Presidency(now Tamil Nadu),
British India
Died 20 February 2012 (age 85)
Occupation film actor
Years active 1940–2012

Sennalkudi Narayana Thevar Lakshmi (1927 – 20 February 2012), who worked under the screen name S N Lakshmi, was an Indian film actress, who appeared in supporting roles, often playing roles of a mother or grandmother in films. A recipient of the state government's Kalaimamani and Kalaiselvam awards, Lakshmi acted in more than 1,500 films and 6,000 dramas.[1]

Early life

Lakshmi was born to Narayana Thevar as the 13th child in the family, and left home anguished aged just 11, because her six brothers who were much older did not give her the attention she deserved. Her family had to move from their village town of Sennalkudi to Virudhunagar after their father had died and her mother worked at a small hotel and also at the temple there to keep the family financially afloat. Her neighbour, a dancer, helped Lakshmi join a drama troupe and she quickly picked up the steps she was taught and travelled with them from place to place.[2] When the actors reached Raja Mannargudi they left her with a family which put her on a train to Madras and bade farewell. When she was wondering alone, help came in the form of a lorry driver's wife who noticed her and showed her the way to Gemini Studios, which opened its doors to the destitute. It took eight years for her family to find her.[2]

She soon joined the studio staff at a salary of Rs. 150 and then rented a house with four other young girls and hired a cook. Before her film career began, Lakshmi had years of theatre experience, with more than 2,000 plays to her credit. From Ganandesikar's and N. S. Krishnan's theatre troupes to S. V. Sahasranamam's Seva Stage and K. Balachander's Ragini Recreations, Lakshmi trained under stalwarts. Lakshmi acted as a man in many all-woman plays, doing stunts and acrobatics and even fought a leopard as an extra in the MGR film, Baghdad Thirudan.[2] In 1959, she bought her first home in Royapettah on Pachaiappan Nayakkan Road. Three years later, she bought her first car, a Morris Eight.[3]


She started as a group dancer in Chandralekha. Plays and one-scene appearances in films continued till N. S. Krishnan gave her a pivotal role in Nalla Thangai and then her real breakthrough came through Muktha Srinivasan's maiden venture Thamarai Kulam followed by Engal Kula Devi and Naalu Veli Nilam. Nagesh then recommended her to K. Balachander to star in Server Sundaram, after he had been impressed with her performance in the theatre show of the same name, and the film's success prompted more offers for the actress.[2]

Kamal Haasan called her to feature in Thevar Magan while she was taking a break in Puttaparthi and from then til Virumaandi, Lakshmi has been a part of nearly all of Kamal Haasan productions and such was his confidence in her ability that he would ask the assistants to give her the dialogue and move away, confident that she would handle it on her own.[2]

Before her death she was doing a role as Meenakshi's grand mother in the serial "Saravanan Meenakshi" in Vijay TV and also as Thulasi's grand mother in the serial "Thendral" in SunTV .

Personal life

Lakshmi has mentioned that "marriage didn't appeal to her", and that her brothers' grand children and their kids are now regulars at the grand aunt's place.[2]

Till the early 2000s, Lakshmi would move around town by driving but was forced to give it up after she broke her leg. On Sunday mornings she would visit Sai Kripa, a free medical centre in Chennai and help the staff.[2]


S. N. Lakshmi died in Chennai on 20 February 2012, aged 85. She suffered a cardiac arrest in the early hours of 20 February, following which she was rushed to a hospital. However doctors there declared her dead. Her body was kept at her Saligramam residence where film personalities made a beeline to pay last tributes. Her cremation took place in her native town of Virudhunagar.[4][5]

Notable filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1955 Nalla Thangai English Teacher
1959 Thamarai Kulam
1959 Engal Kula Devi
1959 Naalu Veli Nilam
1960 Baghdad Thirudan Maharani
1962 Avana Ivan Amudhavalli
1963 Thulasi Maadam
1964 Server Sundaram Sundaram's mother
1964 Dheiva Thaai Megala's grandmother
1964 Naanal Lakshmi
1964 Karuppu Panam Sattanatha's first wife
1965 Vaazhkai Padagu
1965 Kaakum KarangalShankar's mother
1966 Marakka Mudiyumaa?
1966 Kodimalar Marakatham
1966 Chandhrodhayam Maheshwari
1966 Ramu Kannamma
1967 Anubavi Raja Anubavi Manikkam's mother
1967 Thaikku Thalaimagan Meenakshi
1967 Vivasayee Sivagami
1968 Thirumal Perumai Dancer's mother
1968 Thaer Thiruvizha Parvathi Ammal
1968 Ethir Neechal
1968 Thamarai Nenjam Narayanan's Mother
1968 Ragasiya Police 115 Kamatchi
1969 Iru Kodugal Janaki's aunt
1970 Raman Ethanai Ramanadi Raman's grandmother
1970 Maattukara Velan Raghu's mother
1970 En Annan Murali's mtoher
1970 Kaaviya Thalaivi Suresh's mother
1970 Nadu Iravil Vadivambal
1971 Then Kinnam Meenakshi
1972 Dheivam Valliyammai's Neighbor
1972 Annamitta Kai Gandhimathi
1972 Naan Yen Pirandhen Chinnamma
1973 Vandhaale Magaraasi Lakshmi's Mother
1973 Pattikaattu Ponnaiya Meenatchi
1973 Komatha En Kulamatha Arun's mother
1975 Ninaithadhai Mudippavan Mohan's mother
1977 Indru Pol Endrum Vaazhga Maya's mother
1977 Navarathinam Pangajethamma
1985 Kanni Rasi Lakshmipathi's mother
1988 Agni Natchathiram Rajamma
1990 Michael Madana Kama Rajan Tripurasundari's grandmother
1990 Salem Vishnu Vishnu's mother
1992 Thevar Magan Periyaatha
1992 Chinnavar Muthu's mother
1992 Thanga Manasukkaran Chellakili's grandmother
1992 Villu Pattukaran Kalimuthu's mother
1993 Amma Ponnu
1993 Ejamaan Midwife
1994 Mahanadhi Saraswathi Ammal
1996 Aruva Velu Velu's grandmother
1997 Iruvar Tamizhselvan's mother
1998 Ninaithen Vandhai Savithri's grandmother
Kaathala Kaathala Noorjahan
Jeans Meiyaththa's mother
1999 Sangamam Meenu
1999 Suriya Paarvai Lakshmi's mother
1999 Ponvizha Ponni's grandmother
1999 Kallazhagar Aandal's grandmother
2000 Vaanathaippola Appatha
Kandukondain Kandukondain
Ennavale Lakshmi's mother
2001 Kutty Viruthamba
2001 Friends Gautham's grandmother
2004 Virumaandi Virumaandi's grandma
2006 Vathiyar
2006 Kalvanin Kadhali Haritha's grandmother
2008 Pirivom Santhippom
Kuruvi Vetrivel's grandmother
2010 Drohi
2011 Mahaan Kanakku Orphanage Caretaker

TV Serials


  1. "Veteran Tamil actor S N Lakshmi dies at 85". The Times of India. TNN. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Friday Review Chennai : Courage goaded her on ...". The Hindu. 28 May 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  3. "Metro Plus Chennai : 'Plays were crowd pullers'". The Hindu. 2 March 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  4. "Veteran actress SN Lakshmi passes away". IndiaGlitz. 20 February 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  5. Meera Srinivasan (21 February 2012). "Veteran actor Lakshmi dies". The Hindu. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
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