Santha Kumari

17 May 1920
16 Jan 2006
Film Industry
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Vellaala Subbamma (better known as Santhakumari) (17 May 1920 – 16 January 2006) was an Indian musical artist and film actress. She was married to the Telugu film director and producer, P. Pullaiah.

Vellaala Subbamma was born in Proddatur town, (Kadapa District, Andhra Pradesh) to Sreenivasa Rao and Pedda Narasamma. Her father was an actor and her mother was a classical music singer. Santhakumari learned classical music and violin under the guidance of Professor P. Sambamurthy and was a classmate of D. K. Pattammal. She joined a drama troupe and was an AIR artiste by the age of sixteen. She came to Madras (now Chennai) to pursue a career in music. She found employment in Vidyodaya School for a remuneration of Rs 2 per month. She sang along with music director S. Rajeswara Rao for AIR.

Santhakumari debuted in Telugu Cinema with Mayabazar (also known as Sasirekhaa Parinayam) in 1936. In the following year she was a member of the cast of Sarangadhara, a film that was directed by P. Pullaiah, whom she met and married in the same year.

The couple used the name of PadmaSree Pictures, named after their daughter Padma, for some of their movies and had success with films such as Jayabheri (1959), Sri Venkateswara Mahatyam (1960), and Preminchi Choodu (1965). Santhakumari acted in most of the movies that were made by her husband, including Shavukaru (1950), Ardhangi (1955), Sri Venkateswara Mahatyam (1960), Shanti Nivasam (1960), and Ramudu Bheemudu (1964).

In 1947, the couple started the Ragini Pictures banner with Bheemavarapu Narasimha Rao and Bhakta Jana. They made 22 films on both PadmaSree and Ragini banners put together.

She played many lead and supporting roles, with around 250 appearances in total.

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