Manorama Tamil Actress Biography
Manorama, was born Gopi Shantha to Kasi Kilakudaiyar and Ramamritham on 26 May 1943 at Mannargudi, Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. Later her family moved to Pallathur near Karaikudi owing to poverty. She started her acting career at 12 years as a drama artist. When she started her stage performances she was rechristened as Manorama by the drama director, Thiruvengadam, and the harmonist, Thiayagarajan. She continued to act in plays and also performed on stage as a playback singer.
Manorama, in her early stage was an amateur drama artist,acted in few dramas of 'Vairam nataka sabha' in small roles.Once she went to see a drama of S.S.Rajendran who camped in Pudukkotai, Tamilnadu, she was introduced to SSR by one Mr P.A.Kumar .She showed her talent of dialogue delivery to SSR who offered her to join in S.S.R NATAKA MANDRAM and played in hundreds of stages all over tamilnadu the dramas named Manimagudam,Thenpandiveeran and pudhuvellam. Manorama slowly migrated from dramas to the silver screen with the role of a heroine in the Tamil film Maalayitta Mangai.A lead role given to her by Kavignar Kannadasan. Then, she concentrated more on comedy. She was given equally challenging roles alongside the well known comedian Nagesh. They made an excellent pair and acted in many praiseworthy comedies.
The first song that Manorama sang in cinema was in a film called Magale Un Samathu. The producer of this film, P. A. Kumar had seen Manorama perform in dramas and gave her the opportunity to sing. The song was composed by G. K. Venkatesh, famous yesteryear music director, with whom Ilaiyaraja had worked as an assistant. Manorama sang this song along with L. R. Eswari, another famous yesteryear Tamil singer. "Thaatha thaatha pidi kudu... Indha thalladha vayasila sadugudu..." were the beginning lines of this song. However, "Vaa vaathiyaare uttaande..." composed by music director V. Kumar for the film Bommalattam, was the first song that became a hit for her. She performed along with Cho Ramaswamy in this song.
Manorama's role in the film Thillana Mohanambal was much appreciated and noticed even with the presence of great stalwarts like Sivaji Ganesan and Natiya Peroli (Danseuse) Padmini in the movie. Manorama personally shared in an interview that initially she was extremely nervous of acting in front of veterans like T. S. Balaiah. But, the director A. P. Nagarajan made her understand that the scenes in which Jil Jil Ramamani appears, she would be the centre of attention and not anyone else. This gave her the confidence to portray the wildly expressive, loud-talking but tender-hearted character on screen in an admirable fashion. Ever since, she was provided with more scope in varied roles in addition to comedy. She took each responsibility with such an ease, which made the Tamil industry recognize her immense talent.
Cho Ramaswamy claimed on the Tamil TV show Koffee with Anu that he was the first one to call Manorama as the female Sivaji Ganesan. He admired her for her versatility in acting and the ability to surprise with her performance.
She has the distinction of having acted with five chief ministers of South India. She was the female lead in the stage plays written, directed and acted by Mr C. N. Annadurai, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. She has also acted in stage plays with another Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Dr. M. Karunanidhi. She has acted in films with Dr. M. G. Ramachandran and Dr. Jayalalitha Jayaram who both became Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu later. She has also acted in Telugu films with Dr. N T Rama Rao, who became the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2002. She won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for the movie Pudhiya Pathai in 1989. She holds a Guinness World Record for acting in most number of films. She was the recipient of the Kalaimamani award by the Government of Tamil Nadu.