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Seema
Born Shanthakumari
22 May 1957 (1957-05-22) (age 52)
Ernakulam, Kerala, India
Other name(s) Shanthi
Occupation Film actress
Years active 1974 - Present
Spouse(s) I. V. Sasi

Seema (Malayalam: :സീമ) is a famous actress of South Indian films. She has performed in approximately 250 films in Malayalam, nine in Tamil, seven in Telugu, three in Kannada and one in Hindi. Seema is still active in the movie industry.

She began her career in Tamil film at the age of fourteen as a dancer. About five years she continued as a dancer. At the age of 19 her first movie, as heroine, is released in Malayalam titled Avalude Raavukal (Her Nights), directed by I. V. Sasi. She continued acting till 1988 and took a break in her career life after the Malayalam movie Mahayaanam. Again became active in 1998 through Olympion Antony Adam. Seema won the Kerala State Film Award for best actress in 1984 and in 1985, and is well known for her versatility. She married I.V. Sasi, the veteran South Indian director and is blessed with a daughter and son.

Contents

Early life and career

Seema was born in Ernakulam, Kerala in 1957 as the only child of her parents. At the age of twelve she joined to learn dance and learned many dancing steps from Kamal Hassan, who was the assistant of her dance master, Thankappan.

She entered the filmdom as a normal group dancer, under dance master Chopra when she was fourteen. Later she became dance master and worked in the film industry as a composer and also as a dancer for almost five years. At the age of 17, she was asked to act in a Kannada movie as a second heroine with Kannada actor Amresh. I. V. Sasi spotted her and gave a chance to act in his film "Avalude Raavukal" (Her Nights) as heroine. The shooting of this movie started in 1977 and was released on 3 March 1978. The classic movie with Sherif's script and I. V. Sasi's direction, created waves amongst the Malayali audience because of its soft porn nature and its challenging subject. Her name Shanthi changed to Seema through this movie. The very daring and challenging role that any other actresses were reluctant to do was done by Seema, and this helped her to get noticed by other directors. But the movie gave a sexy and glamorous image to the actress and audiences were always expecting such roles from her. She became the heartthrob of the Malayalam film industry.

During the time, the Malayalam film industry was ruled by yesteryear's actresses Sheela, Sharada, Jayabharathi, K. R. Vijaya, and Srividya. Seema received roles from many directors, but most of them were the glamorous with exposing type, or as a second heroine. She accepted all kind of roles and gave confidence to directors that any kind of role was safe in her hands. But the situation changed when her movies with Super Star Jayan became mega hits. The Jayan and Seema pair attracted people to theatres. This made her an independent heroine of the movies. Angaadi, Kaanthavalayam, Sakthi, Manushyamrugam, Benz Vasu, Meen, Karimpana, Thadavara, and Anupallavi are some of Jayan-Seema Hit movies. Though she became a lead heroine still she could lose her glamorous image. Mini skirts and swimsuits were always part of her costumes. The hit pair could not endure for a long time, the unexpected demise of Jayan was a great loss for the industry and the most loved and accepted pair ended.

Directors wanted to find another star to fill the gap left by Jayan. Many movies were planned for Jayan, one such a movie was "Sphodanam" directed by P. G. Viswambaran. He gave the chance to Mammooty to take the role of Jayan, in the same movie in which Seema also acted. Later Ratheesh came, also paired with Seema. Seema continued her acting paired with them.

Milestone

Director P. G. Viswambharan decided to take a movie based on a novel that appeared in a popular magazine 'Vanitha'. He chose Seema to adorn the character of Dr. Bala eventhough the readers chose Lakshmi for the same. The Director went ahead casting Seema and movie was released with name "Sandhyakku Virinja Poovu" with Mammootty as a negative hero and Mohanlal as the villain. The movie was a super hit and it changed Seema's image. Seema was started to be noticed as a heroine to handle character type roles and she received many serious, female oriented and good characters of Malayalam cinema. The Mammooty-Seema pair become very popular through this movie. Sandhyakku Virinja Poovu, Naanayam, Sandhyakkenthinu Sindhooram, Rugma, Onnanu Nammal, Maniyara, Manithaali, Aa neram Alpadooram, Akshrangal, Aalkoottathil thaniye, Athiraathram, Anubandham, Adiyozhukkukal, Idanilangal, Kaanamarayathu, Gandhinagar Second Street, Karimbin Poovinakkare, and Mahaayaanam are some of the hit movies. Seema proved her versatility through all these movies.

Versatility

Seema adorned many characters of veteran writer M. T. Vasudevan Nair. This itself is a great award for her. Her versatality gave her all sort of roles. If she acted as a bold heroine driving a car in a stunt scene of movie "Naanayam", the same year she had acted as a pathetic mother in "Rugma". She has done comedy in "Ayalvasi oru Daridravasi" and she has done villain role in "Oru Sumangaliyude Kadha". She performed as a jobless widow with a kid in Anubandham, the same time portraying a revenging widow as in "Athiraathram". The Malayalam movie industry never had seen such a verstaile heroine. She is well known for her emotional scenes. Her dialogue presentation and different face expressions are noticeable. Some of the movies that prove her versatality are:

  • "Aksharangal" - as a helping lover or friend
  • "Angaadi" and "Meen" - Industrialist's daughter, pure romantic young girl
  • "Oru Sumangaliyude Kadha" - as a black mailing house wife
  • "Athiraathram" - as revenging widow
  • "Thushaaram" - as an abducted daughter
  • "Aavanazhi"- as revenging sister
  • "Gandhi Nagar Second Street"- as a helping neighbour
  • "Aroodam"- as a Scheduled Cast lady
  • "Aalkoottathil Thaniye"- as deceived cousin
  • "Anubandham" - as widow with a son
  • "Mahaayaanam" - as a bold lady, type of feminist
  • "Vaartha" - as Collector
  • "Adimakal Udamakal" - as Industrialist
  • "Olympian Anthony Adam" - as Principal
  • "Kaanamarayathu" and "Sandhyakku Virinja Poovu" - as Doctor

Heroes and co-actresses

Her heroes include most or all heroes of Malayalm movie from 1978 to 1988. She paired most of the movies with Mammootty, Jayan and Ratheesh. Also with Prem Nazir, Madhu, Kamal Hassan, Raghavan, Ravi Menon, Sukumaran, M. G. Soman, Mohanlal, Nedumudi Venu, Captain Raju, Devan, Jose, Venu Nagavalli, Balachandra Menon, and T. G. Ravi.

It is difficult to include all her co-actresses but she has worked with Sharada, Sheela, Jayabharathi, Sreevidya, Sukumari, KR Vijaya, Vidhubala, Kanaka Durga, Mallika Sukumaran, Meena, Kaviyoor Ponnamma of 1970s. Suhasini, Rajalekshmi, Swapna, Urvasi, Geetha, Nalini, Sabitha, Jalalja, Unnimary, Subha, Sumithra, Shobhana, Nanditha Bose, Surekha, Parvathy, Ambika, Radha, Kalaranjini, Chithra, Sithara, Lakshmi, Lissy, Karthika, Poornima Jayaram, Menaka, Ahalya, Rani Padmini, Saritha, Farah, Shobhana, Rohini of the 1980s; in the 1990s and the 2000s she acted with Abhirami, Meena, Manisha Koirala, and Soundarya.

Amongst all, Sreevidya shared a special affection with her. Seema used to call her Vidya Chechi. Sreevidya helped Seema discover the nuances in make-up and hair styles. Seema had mentioned that Sreevidya would personally sit up and plait Seema's long hair whenever they acted or travelled together for a shooting.

Directors

She worked with many directors like I.V. Sasi, Sasikumar, P. G. Viswambaran, Priyadarsan, Sathyan Anthikkad, Joshi, Sibi Malayil etc. With I.V. Sasi she has done 59 films as heroine, and with Sasikumar she done 29 movies as heroine. It is unusual and maybe a record that an actress worked as heroine of 59 movies of a single director.

The voice behind Seema

Seema has a very beautiful, lovely and sexy voice in her movies. The credit goes to her favourite dubbing artist, the late Mrs. Kottayam Shantha who has given voice to all Seema's characters. Until 1988, with the exception of two movies, Avalude Raavukal and Adavukal Pathinettu, all Seema's characters were dubbed by Kottayam Shantha. Seema, while signing a call sheet demands that the directors use Kottayam Shantha's voice as it suited and lip synchronised well. The sound was atuned for Seema, though Kottayam Shantha dubbed for other actresses like Lakshmi, Swapna, and Sumalatha.

Trivia

  • As a person Seema is very bold, and never cries in any adverse situation. She attributes her boldness due to her childhood family circumstances. At the age of seven, her father left family and married another woman. That incident gave her lot of miseries regarding their survival. There were no helping hand to hold and raise the family. She learned dance, became an actress and ruled industry. She was bold enough to slap a man who behaved very badly with her when she was in the peak of her career.
  • Seema considers her mother as her greatest luck and the reason for all the fortune in her life. So she takes care of her mother like a treasure. Her day starts with a loving kiss to her mother or a phone call if she is away.
  • Seema is known for her dedication and respected her profession always. Actresses have been following a trend of ending cinema life after marriage, but Seema became very strong in Malayalam industry after her marriage. She once mentioned "Cinema is my bread, it is my life, and Cinema has provided me everything".
  • When Seema learned dance under Thankappan Master, Kamal Hassan was assisting him. Kamal Hassan was a tough instructor who used to scold Seema if she failed any steps. Seema was Shanthi then, and Kamal Hassan called her as "Vanthi Shanthi", since she always vomited after prolonged dance performance.
  • Seema says, Kamal Hassan still dotes and pampers her as a 12 year old girl. One can find the name "Vanthi Santhi" in his mobile, never "Seema".
  • The love marriage between I.V. Sasi and Seema was a very simple function. This happened during the shooting of Karimpana, only three days of honeymoon by "the director and heroine" and resumed their work immediately after marriage. During the shooting they all got hospitalized due to the extreme cold weather condition of the location.
  • Seema's lips were a sex symbol during the time, people used to draw and apply lipstick to make lips similar to her.
  • Like any other actress, Seema also faced gossips, mainly paired with Jayan. This found its end with her marriage with I. V Sasi. After that Jayan too had a sad and untimely demise.
  • She took a long break of ten years after Joshi's "Mahayaanam". This was mainly to take care of her kids and manage her family owned business. Seema came to know that she was pregnant during the second schedule of the movie. She completed the movie and took a break, finding time for her daughter Anu and son Ani and to manage her own studio "Anu Enterprises" and other production units.
  • She was the most wanted by most of the directors. The roles and characters were written or modified to suit her. She continued acting while she was still pregnant. In the movie 'Ahimsa', she did the role of a handicapped journalist who was mostly on wheel chair. The character was modified just to cover her stomach. In all the scenes she was clad in sari, sitting in the wheel chair. The character was made physically challenged only to cover her pregnant stomach.
  • For the movie "Hamsageetham" as part of a duet scene, she needed to hug Soman, the hero. Soman had a paunch and she too had a pregnant stomach. Difficult to hug, finally she suggested to hold and hug Soman by standing behind him. Actor Raghavan directed a movie with Seema, wanted to release before Christmas , but the shooting couldn't be completed because of her delivery. Seema did not rest more than three months after her first delivery; she joined immediately to act in the movie Thadaakam. She took the 90 day-old Anu along with her to Kashmir, the shooting location.
  • Seema appeared in many serials after her second entry. Her portrayal of a judge, named Susane Feranandes in a malayalam serial Palayam, was a noted one. Her comic role in "Chinna paapa, Periya Paapa" also attracted audience in UN TV.
  • Seema was into movie production with Geo Movies and Mohanlal under the name Casino Productions.

Filmography

  • Pudhiye Vaarpugal (2008)
  • Perumaal (2008)
  • Aayudham (2008)
  • Kaalai (2008)
  • Nagaram (2007)
  • Pranayakaalam (2007)
  • Prajapathi (2006)
  • Udayam (2004)
  • Kilichundan Mampazham (2003)
  • Anbe Sivam (2003)
  • Baba(2002)
  • Parthale Paravasam (2001)
  • Sradha (2000)
  • Olympian Antony Adam (1999)
  • Mahayanam (1989)
  • Sudhikalasham (1989)
  • Ayarthi Thollayirathi Irupathonnu (also known as Nineteen Twenty-One) (1988)
  • Njaan Njaan Maathram (1988)
  • Chekkeraanoru Chilla (1988)
  • Vicharana (1988)
  • Sarvakalasala (1987)
  • Koodanayum Kaattu (1987)
  • Sandharbham (1987)
  • Chandrahaasam (1987)
  • Aaroodam (1987)
  • Kodathi (1987)
  • Ee Kaikalil (1986)
  • Aavanazhi (1986)
  • Gandhinagar 2nd Street (1986)
  • Vartha (1986)
  • Ayalvasi Oru Daridravasi (1986)
  • Ayitham (1986)
  • Adhikaaram (1986)
  • Thushaaram (1986)
  • Karimpin Poovinakkare (1985)
  • Aa Neram Alppa Dooram (1985)
  • Anu Bandham (1985)
  • Guruji Oru Vakku (1985)
  • Janakeeya Kodathi (1985)
  • Vasantha Sena (1985)
  • Vellarikka Pattanam (1985)
  • Aalkkodttathil Thaniye (1984)
  • Adiyozhukkukal (1984)
  • Athirathram (1984)
  • Ivide Ingane (1984)
  • Lakshmana Rekha (1984)
  • Onnanu Nammal (1984)
  • America America (1983)
  • Iniyenkilum (1983)
  • Rugma (1983)
  • Sandhyakku Virinja Poovu (1983)
  • Kalyana Agathigal (1983)
  • Ente Ammu Ninte Thulasi Avarude Chakki (1982)
  • Gandhinagar second street (1982)
  • Innalenkil Nale (1982)
  • Sindoora Sandhyakku Mounam (1982)
  • Thadakom (1982)
  • Thadavara (1981)
  • Meen (1981)
  • Kaanamarayathu (1981)
  • Ahimsa (1981)
  • Aarathi (1981)
  • Thathayya Premaleelalu (1980)
  • Angaadi (1980)
  • Ellaam Un Kairaasi (1980)
  • Karimpana (1980)
  • Manushya Mrugam (1980)
  • Moorkhan (1980)
  • Sakthi (1980)
  • Yenge Oor Kannagi (1980)
  • Ezhamkadalinakkare (1979)
  • Ithrayum Kaalam (1979)
  • Oru Sumangaliyude Kadha (1979)
  • Sarppam (1979)
  • Naanayam (1979)
  • Kaali (1979)
  • Eeta (1978)
  • Lisa (1978)
  • Avalude Ravukal (1978)
  • Idanilangal
  • Shaari alla Shaarada
  • Akalangalil
  • Manassoru mahaasamudram
  • Prabhu
  • Aaarathi
  • Anupallavi
  • Sphodanam

Sources

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