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SUCH versatility

In a career spanning nearly five decades, comedienne Sachu has acted in over 500 films in five languages

— Pic. by R. M. Rajarathinam

Impressive innings: `Kumari' Sachu

NOTHING IS more entertaining than watching comedy scenes from films. Perfect comedy tracks play a major role in the success of films the world over. Great comedians always make a mark on a par with heroes. We even hear that heroes such as Sivaji Ganesan and MGR gave special attention to comic scenes in their films.

Legends such as Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy of Hollywood, Mehmood and Johnywalker of Bollywood, N. S. Krishnan, Chandrababu, Nagesh, Thangavelu, Baliah and Manorama of Kollywood have all enjoyed a tremendous fan following. One leading name from the world of comedians is P. S. Saraswathy alias Sachu.

Her debut

`Kumari' Sachu, as she is popularly known, made her debut as a three-year-old in the film Rani in 1957. Thenceforth, Sachu played an impressive innings doing character, comedy and lead roles. In a career spanning nearly five decades, she has acted in over 500 films in five languages.

She has the distinction of having worked with five great personalities associated with theatre, who later went on to occupy the seat of power — late C. N. Annadurai, MGR, Karunanidhi, N. T. Ramarao and Jayalalithaa.

Films such as Devadas, Veera Thirumagan, Annai and Kadalikka Neramillai made her a household name in the 1960s and the 1970s. At present, she is concentrating on tele-serials and has featured in over 75 tele-serials and 15 TV plays.

"Stage plays are a litmus test and help improve an artistes' overall abilities. I have mastered Bharatanatyam which helped me realise the significance of various bhavams in acting,'' she says recalling her experience with theatre.

Falling standards

On comic roles, she observes: "The impact of comic scenes largely depends on presentation. Expression, voice modulation and body language enhance a dialogue. Actors such as N. S. Krishnan not only provided entertainment but also created awareness among people about social issues. At present, Vivek is adopting the policy of conveying a message through comedy."

However, Sachu feels a trifle sad at the falling standard of comedy in the present day Tamil films. "Comedy these days borders on vulgarity," she says, adding, "those days, the comedy tracks were linked to the story content, unlike the present day films, where they are independent. There is also a dearth of good writers of comedy now."

In her opinion, though the quality of films has undergone a tremendous change in recent times owing to technological revolution, films such as Kaadalikka Neramillai, directed by Sridhar, in 1960 still appeal to people. "It only proves that films with a neat storyline and screenplay coupled with good comedy will always evoke interest and withstand the test of time."

Giving dialogue delivery its due importance is equally necessary, says Sachu. "Comedians of the past never compromised on dialogue rendition. They recorded their dialogue without opting for dubbing. Even today, I render my lines, but the present day artistes do not appear so serious about this job."

SYED MUTHAHAR SAQAF

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