Sumalatha Ambareesh: Mandya’s rising star! The ‘Clara’ that Malayalam cinema can never forget

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New Delhi | Published: March 14, 2019 3:45:58 PM

While most of Sumalatha's super hit films were paired with Mammootty as the leading hero, she conquered Malayali hearts effortlessly with her portrayal of 'Clara' in Thoovanathumbikal, directed by the iconic filmmaker P. Padmarajan.

Sumalatha conquered Malayali hearts effortlessly with her portrayal of ‘Clara’ in Thoovanathumbikal.

World over, actress Sumalatha Ambareesh is a name that evokes a sense of nostalgia among Keralites. The past few weeks catapulted the multi-lingual actress into the public limelight, following the demise of her husband, Ambareesh, a well known Kannada actor and former MP. In Karnataka, the local grapevine is now abuzz with speculations that Sumalatha is set to take a political plunge and contest from Mandya district, where the local news reports have been saying that the Karnataka Chief Minister’s son Nikhil is slated to contest. The actress has stated that she will reveal her plans on March 18. Various news reports from Karnataka indicate that she holds out an emotional appeal that would be difficult to underestimate in the upcoming polls. Whether Sumalatha contests or not, Sumalatha Ambareesh is a rising star in Mandya and for Keralites, she is the iconic protagonist, ‘Clara’.

For Malayali moviegoers, however, it is not ‘Sumalatha’ but ‘Clara’ who matters. In Malayalam cinema, the multilingual actress is known for her bold portrayal of roles that defied conventional thinking and societal norms. She has portrayed a diverse spectrum of protagonists in Malayalam cinema. In the iconic film ‘New Delhi that established Mammootty’s acting brilliance as the master of subtlety, Sumalatha played the role of a journalist who had been raped by power-hungry politicians whom she had dared to expose through her political column. Her girlish charm in Nair Saab and in Nirakootu as a successful model-turned wife who is raped and killed were big hits in the 80s. But it is another movie that catapulted her into a different ‘star’ league altogether.

While most of Sumalatha’s super hit films were paired with Mammootty as the leading hero, she conquered Malayali hearts effortlessly with her portrayal of ‘Clara’ in Thoovanathumbikal, directed by the iconic filmmaker P. Padmarajan. Back in the 80s, this Mohanlal-Sumalatha on-screen duo is known to have been a huge hit with avid Malayali filmgoers. The magic of this popular on-screen couple started with their pairing in Padmarajan’s much-loved classic titled ‘Thoovanathumbikal.’

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#throwback #goldeneighties #b&w #memoriesofeighties #stillsravi

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Also Read: Big shift! Alia Bhatt, Ajay Devgn to make Telugu debut in Bahubali director Rajamouli’s period drama

Every dialogue from the film is known by heart to Malayalis. Every song, ethereal sequence that celebrated the onset of Kerala’s magical monsoons. is a masterpiece in itself, a reminder of a simple, rustic life that is not oblivious to the raging fire of passion.

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No other yesteryear heroine’s role in Malayalam cinema is so loved by generations of fans like Sumalatha’s ‘Clara’ does even today. Perhaps Sheela’s intense and tragic portrayal of ‘Karthamma’ in the timeless classic ‘Chemeen’ can be the only known exception that springs to mind. This marks a clear indication that Malayali fans celebrate ‘Clara’ as a powerful medium that has brought out the brilliant genius of the artist as well as the storyteller that portrayed her on screen.

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#Amar

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To this day, the best conversation booster with any movie-going Malayali is to talk about Padmarajan’s ‘Clara’. Bets are that there is hardly any Malayali who does not turn nostalgic when you refer to ‘Clara’, who is synonymous with the actress who brought her to life on screen – Sumalatha.

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