THE MOST ENVIABLE PARTNER
Tribute to SEETHALAKSHMI (82), Wife of Veteran Film Villain & Stage Thespian
“Nataka Kavalar” R.S. Manohar who passed away on 01.12.2015.
On Sunday 13.12.2015 highlights of Seethalakshmi’s life that poured in from all her Friends & Relatives from around the world through hundreds of messages were read out at a huge gathering at her Alwarpet residence.
- She was a Resident of T. Nagar 44/21, Bagirathi Ammal Street, T. Nagar, Chennai – 600 017 since 1950 to 1970 (20 years)
- She was a Resident officiating from her 42/22, Bagirathi Ammal Street, T. Nagar, Chennai – 600 017 since 1950 to 2004 (54 years)
- She was a Resident of 6/13, Sri Rama Colony, Alwarpet, Chennai – 18 since 1971 to 2015 (44 years)
It was a perfect divine match designed & executed in heaven. They were married as per their family elders wish in a true traditional Brahmin style at Chennai Gopalapuram on 22/7/1950 & remained as an enviable couple till death willed it otherwise in 2006 after remaining in unison for over 55 years The most understanding couple was R.S. Manohar (RSM) & Seethalakshmi.
Seldom a conscious tribute is reverentially paid to the “better half” of a Celebrity but late Seethalakshmi genuinely deserves it for her pivotal role in lively executing the true famous saying “Behind the success of every man there is indeed a woman”. RSM had always acknowledged in public with humility that but for his dedicated wife’s cooking & timely serving food he could not have kept up brisk with robust health simultaneously with his hectic schedule of both film shootings & theatre acting.
Seethalakshmi who is an intermediate from Queen Mary’s College was too good in Mathematics that it was she who managed RSM’s earnings. Every fortnight she used to visit & manage their farms at Kalpaakkam, Siriseri & every month at their Yercaud Farm & guest house. There were several instances in which she found irregularities in accounting during RSM’s drama productions & pulled up a few for their corrupt behaviour.
Although RSM’s normal day starts from 4 am till 11 pm but his beloved wife’s starts earlier from 3.45 am till 11.15 pm. She married only R.S. Lakshminarasimhan (original name of RSM) who was working with the Central Government’s Postal Department. It was this lady’s luck & her Avittam Star that changed the life, style & prospects of RSL into famous celebrity RSM.
Very few people are aware of the fact that RSM started his film career as a hero (Rajambal Tamil Film) but subsequently turned into Villain roles & did powerful character roles (in Paattum Bharathamum Film as Selvi J. Jayalalithaa’s father). This credit goes to “better half’s timely advice”. Similarly, RSM started with staging social plays with Selvi J. Jayalalithaa’s beloved mother Sandhya as RSM’s stage heroine but later on specialized only on Mythology plays. This credit also goes to “better half’s timely advice”.
The divine couple celebrated their Silver Jubilee Wedding Anniversary day, 61st, 71st, Golden Jubilee Wedding Anniversary Day, 81st Birth Anniversary. As we hail from a very highly orthodox Brahmin family, Seethalakshmi used to keep everything ready for RSM’s daily Sandhyavandhanam, Maadhyanikam, etc. She used to meticulously arrange for RSM’s “Sapathni Matha’s, Father’s & Mother’s annual death ceremonies & Maalayapatcham in whichever place RSM is scheduled to perform coinciding with his film shooting or for enacting stage plays schedules”. This writer’s trip to Gaya & Kasi with Mrs & Mr RSM for conducting ceremonies for his grandfather, grandmother is still etched in his mind.
Seethalakshmi was a pillar of immense strength for RSM since 1994 to renovate & perform Kumbabishegams for the then Highly dilapidated Kothandaramar Temple & Kailasanathar – Kalyani Amman Temple at our native village “Poovanoor” near Needamangalam under the name & style of “Sri Rama Bhaktha Anchaneya Sabha”. Subsequent to RSM’s demise (10.6.2005 till 01.12.2015) she took over the sabha’s reins as active president monitoring day to day activities & financially funding of the temples & performed Kumbabishegams for both the temples with active support of the Villagers just 2 years back. She along with RSM trecked the Sabarihills along with this writer under the guidance of Maha Gurusamy MN Nambiar. She used to accompany RSM for most of his film shootings & dramas along with her Kitchen Kit be it in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, etc for providing him his daily food at the right intervals of time. All RSM’s drama dialogues would be on her finger tips & she would reel out as and when necessary in daily life like “Vanjam, Vanjam yendru nee Yennai Viratti Adithaaye Adhu vazhi keytu nam vaasalil vandhu nirkiradhu. Naan thirumbi varaavitaal nee yenai angey vandhu paar”.
As if she had a premonition on 01.12.2015 at around 1.00 am she complained of her stomach uneasiness & before the arrival of a doctor she passed away peacefully. By 5 pm we were able to give her a very fitting emotional farewell to Krishnampet Crematorium & completed by 7.00 pm her final rites & sea immersion formalities which was the only working crematorium with bio-gas that was around 6 feet above ground level so that rain water could not enter at that raised level.
This writer is ever grateful to her for having graciously inaugurated his banner “Nataka Kavalar, Chemal R.S. Manohar’s NXG’s” that had staged “Vydhiyar Maapillai” a social play on importance of herbal medicine that received four awards during recent Kodai Nataka Vizha of Kartik Fine Arts & staged “Sri Kanchi Kamakshi Amman” mythology play.
She was one of the most precious few who took great pleasure and felt privileged to look after her father-in-law R. Subramaniya Aiyer as her own father for 2 decades till his demise & her mother-in-law Rajalakshmi Ammal (See Photo) as her own mother although she was highly orthodox & strict disciplinarian as her own mother from 1950 till her demise in 1998 for 48 years although her MIL had four sons & two daughters in all.