Thiraichuvai          By Majordasan

“If you choose acting as your profession, you’ve to only act …” - Jeevarathnam

Producer A. L. Srinivasan, Potpourri of titbits about Tamil cinema, kalyanamalai tamil weekly magazine

I married T. S. Venkataswamy, manager of Central Studios. Ours was a love marriage. After marriage, we decided to start film production. We named the company as ‘Mercury Films’. Our first production was ‘Pona machan thirumbi vanthaan’, with Sriram and Kuchalakumari in the lead roles. The film earned us moderate profit. Then we produced the film ‘Vaazhvilae oru naal’ with Sivaji Ganesan. G. Varalakshmi was the heroine. I sang the song ‘Thendralae vaaraayo, inbha suham thaaraayo …’ as a playback singer for Varalakshmi. And, we produced a film titled, “Sirikkum silai’ with MGR with the expectation of recovering the money that we lost in our previous films. But the production had to be given up within a few days of shooting. And, another film ‘Adichathu yoham’ with Ravichandran had also to be shelved in the middle. We incurred heavy losses due to these two films. We couldn’t manage the situation. Those who come for acting should do only acting, shouldn’t be greedy and enter production with the expectation of minting money,” Jeevarathnam said in a weary tone.

Jeevarathnam’s husband Venkatasamy died on 7-4-71 due to some illness. The couple had four daughters and one son, four grand-daughters and two grandsons. Jeevarathnam died on 26-7-2000 when she was living at Mandaveli, Chennai. Her body was cremated at her native place Oonjalur. The entire film industry paid its last respects to this veteran artiste. Her son Vetrivel and his wife Jothi Paappammaa have planned to publish a book on Jeevarathnam’s biography. The release function is being planned as a great event and I am lucky that I am participating in the arrangements. Jeevarathnam’s family happily recalls the marriage of Vetrivel which was attended by the then chief minister MGR and his wife Janaki Amma. MGR handed over the sacred ‘thaali’ to Vetrivel and blessed the couple.