October 11, 2015
Legendary actress Manorama is no more.
Fondly known as Aachi, Manorama, whose real name is Gopishanta, was born in Mannargudi. She began her career with the stage drama, ‘Andaman Kaadhali.’ That was when her name was changed to Manorama by the director of the play, Thiruvenkadam, and his assistant, Subramanian.
She made her onscreen debut with Kavignar Kannadasan’s movie, ‘Maalaiyitta Mangai.’
“The long-term connection that Aachi Manorama shared with Coimbatore is very special,” said Rajesh Govindarajulu.
“Each time she came here, be it for a success meet for a film or some theatre event, she had been so loving and kind. She had a respectful association with late Velumani Venkatusulu of the SNR family. When Aachi came to Coimbatore as guest-of-honour for the ‘Siruthuli Virunthu’ conducted by Siruthuli in 2007 at the Ramakrishna Kalyana Mandapam, she recalled Velumani Venkatusulu in her address. Aachi’s speech on environment at that function was unforgettable,” he added.
“They say Aachi is a Guinness record holder and she has received a lot of awards like the Padma Bhushan, national award for acting, and so on. But Aachi has never let that go to her head. She didn’t even expect any gifts for participating in social functions unlike today’s celebrities.”
In a career that spanned more than five decades, Manorama had the honour of working with five Chief Ministers: Arignar Annadurai, M.G. Ramachandran, M. Karunanidhi, J. Jayalalithaa, and the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N.T. Rama Rao.
“She had always been simple and down to earth. She always made us wonder how someone with so many accomplishments could be so simple,” Rajesh remarked. “A very old advertisement of Narasus coffee featuring Aachi and veteran actor Thenagai Srinivasan is a classic.”
Manorama had acted in over 1000 films and been a part of more than 1000 theatre productions. She had also sung over 300 songs. Her comic partnership with Nagesh will be remembered forever because such male-female comic duos do not happen very often.
“People like Aachi are rare phenomenon, not only in Tamil movies, but the entire Indian cinema. A very natural actor who becomes the character without overdoing it, Manorama was a treat to watch. Her roles in movies like ‘Chinna Gounder,’ ‘Thillana Mohanambal,’ ‘Anbe Vaa,’ and ‘Vaazhve Maayam’ will continue to remain fresh in our minds for a very long time,” Rajesh concluded.