SK Padmadevi
SK Padmadevi.DC Nagesh

SK Padmadevi, who was part of Bhakta Dhruva, the first talkie film to be launched in Sandalwood, has passed away on Thursday, 19 September. The veteran actress was suffering from age-related ailments. She was 95.

The veteran actress was born to S Krishna Iyengar and Seethamma in 1924. Due to her father's encouragement, she developed interest in acting despite opposition from her mother, who was an exponent in the instruments like veena, violin and harmonium.

Her journey in acting kick-started in theatre when she played the role of Bhoodevi in Bhaktha Prahalada. She also contributed to the play by singing four songs. Later, she went on to work with notable stars of theatre of her times like M Subba Rao, BS Raja Iyengar, MN Gangadhara Rao among many others.

"In theatre, the rapport between the actor and audience was immediate through medium of songs. The theatre of those days offered entertainment. The play was a peg for music," she had told The Hindu in an earlier interview.

The veteran actress entered film industry with Bhaktha Dhruva at the age of 11. This movie hit the floors much earlier than Sati Sulochana, which is credited as the first talkie in Sandalwood, but released later.

"When Kanakalakshmamma of Varadachar Memorial Association decided to produce 'Bhakta Dhruva', I was asked to act in a small role. I readily agreed. The film was shot in Mumbai and all the artists were put up in a small house. Tin sheets were used then to reflect the sunlight and the film was shot only in daylight," the actress was quoted as saying.

SK Padmadevi played the female lead in Samsara Nouka and was part of the films like Vasantasena, Jaatakaphala, Bhakta Sudhama, etc. She had also worked in Tamil and Telugu movies.

Her husband Padmanabha Rao was a theatre artist. SK Padmadevi remained active in theatre till 1960 and was associated with All India Radio for two decades.