Sukumari was a highly versatile actress who worked for almost six decades mainly in Malayalam and Tamil Languages but also acted several films in Telugu,Kannada and Hindi.She used to perform dubbing by herself in all languages and protected her identity.
Sukumari as a senior artiste was respected by all colleagues and all of them including Directors and other technicians called her either as 'Sukumari Amma' or 'Sukumari Chechi'.They all loved her as their elder sister or as Mother itself.She also had that care and concern to the newcomers and youngsters in the film field.She encouraged them with proper guidance and gave advices also.She was a well mannered artiste who always spoke and behaved nicely to others.It is said that after a small stay during weekend or during other gap of shooting schedule, at her Chennai residence, when returning to the sets Sukumari always brought two big luggage boxes with her;one would be containing her dress while the other contained sweets and other food items prepared by herself to be distributed at the studio sets.
Sukumari was born at Nagercoil to Madhavan Pillai and Sathyabhama Amma
Her mother and the mother of 'Travancore Sisters'-'Lalitha,Padmini and Ragini' were sisters.So Lalitha,Padmini and Ragini were her fist cousin sisters.From the childhood days itself Sukumari stayed with her Cousin sisters who were then very famous dancers and film stars.Sukumari got dance training from a tender age and became an expert in Bharatanatyam,Kerala Natanam and Kathakali.She was also one among the dance troupe of Travancore Sisters and accompanied them on their all India tour to perform programs all over the country.
Sukumari during childhood itself liked to visit studio sets while her cousin sisters went for acting and watched curiously.The little cute girl was spotted by a Director and selected for a role in his Tamil Film 'OrIravu'.There after she also became an established actress gradually.
Sukumari in a long span of six decades has acted in more than 3000 films and has acted along with MGR, NTR, Raj Kumar, Sivaji Ganesan, Sathyan, Prem Nazir etc and also with all present day superstars.
In recent years she appeared in some T.V.Serials like "Sree Guruvayoorappan,Velamkanni Mathavu,Akasadoothu" etc.
Sukumari married Film Director Bheemsingh and the couple have a son-Dr.Suresh.Her husband died died when Sukumari was still very young.
Sukumari received Padma Shri from Government of India in 2003.
She received National Award as Best Supporting actress for Tamil film 'Namma Gramam'.
She received Kerala Government 'Second Best Actress Award' Four times;in the year 1974, 79, 1983, and 1985 respectively.
She received 'Filmfare' Lifetime achievement award and 'Asianet' Lifetime achievement award in 2005.
She was given 'Kalaimamani Award' and 'Kalai Selvem' award from Government of Tamil Nadu.
Sukumari passed away on 26 March 2013 due to Cardiac arrest while undergoing treatment for burn injury occurred while lighting a traditional oil lamp.She was 73.
While she was in the hospital, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Dr.J.Jayalalithaa paid a visit and extended all help for her treatment.Sukumari acted along with Jayalalithaa in her film 'Pattikada Pattanama' years back.
Kalanju Kittiya Thankam
Shalini Ente Koottukari
My Dear Muthachan
Tom $ Jerry
Yaaradi Nee Mohini
Love in Singapore