You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Savitri-Gemini Ganesan love story: Botched affair to the bottle

India Today logo India Today 25-05-2018

Rajasulochana, Gemini Ganesan are posing for a picture © Provided by India Today Savitri and Gemini Ganesan's love story is something that has piqued the interest of youngsters, thanks to the success of Mahanati/Nadigaiyar Thilagam. While the film is a two-hour-odd documentation of Savitri's rise and fall as an actress, the film has also unearthed a lot of information about Gemini Ganesan's life.

In Mahanati, the way Dulquer Salmaan (as Gemini Ganesan) glides into the life of Keerthy Suresh (as Savitri) was surreal and dreamy. And in no time, people started talking about their love story and Gemini Ganesan's multiple wives.

Ramaswami Ganesan was a man of high hopes. In fact, he wanted to become a doctor and at the age of 19, he married Alamelu after his father promised Gemini that he'd help him achieve his dream. Sadly, his father-in-law passed away, a year after his marriage, thereby quashing his dreams. He then began to venture into films for a living.

Since he worked with Gemini Studios as a casting assistant, he earned the sobriquet, Gemini Ganesan. When he was asked to interview film aspirants as part of an audition, he happened to meet budding actress Savitri. It was the first time they had met each other. According to reports, he appreciated Savitri's smile and filed her photographs with a promising note, "looks promising if given the opportunity."

It was a brief meeting between the two and it took some time for Savitri and Gemini Ganesan to meet again. Meanwhile, both of them had figured a way out to get featured in films. By then, they had a few important films in their filmography.

While Savitri got her due credit as a heroine with her Telugu film Pelli Chesi Choodu, Gemini Ganesan was an emerging star after his terrific performance as an antagonist in Thai Ullam.

It was Manam Pola Mangalyam that brought Savitri and Gemini Ganesan together in films and in life as well. The film went on to become a blockbuster and in the process of filming, Savitri's fondness towards Ganesan grew manifold.

After being in a relationship for several years, they got married secretly and kept their relationship under the wraps. When Ganesan married Savitri, he had already married Alamelu and also had an affair with his co-star Pushpavalli. It is because of these two marriages that Savitri decided to keep her marriage a secret.

But she couldn't protect the secret for long. Perhaps it was Gemini's unconditional love that made her open up about her marriage. Their relationship came out in the open when Savitri signed a soap advertisement as Savitri Ganesan.

At that time, it was the news of the decade. Not just because the wedding was a secret affair, but also because Savitri was Gemini Ganesan's third wife.

Soon, the couple became one of the most sought-after pairs on screen who featured in cult films such as Missiamma, Pasamalar, Kappalottiya Thamizhan and Kalathur Kannamma. Savitri was happy as an actress, a wife and a mother. Their relationship got the best out of each other and both enjoyed stardom equally.

Savitri was also a renowned philanthropist who never thought before spending money or donating it for a cause. One of the instances is when Savitri and Gemini Ganesan were asked to donate to the Army Relief Fund. Both of them had decided to donate a particular amount, but seeing the Army's pathetic state, Savitri, without discussing with Gemini Ganesan, donated all her jewellery.

It is moments like these that caused a rift between the couple. At one point in time, Gemini Ganesan's films flopped while Savitri's career was at its peak. In the film, it was portrayed that Ganesan was shamed in a few instances, which caused ego clashes between the couple.

But the success did not last long. Many films she had directed and produced tanked at the box office. She also found out by then that Gemini Ganesan had an illegal affair and had sent him out of her house. Her finances weakened and that's where the trouble began for the legendary actress.

Unable to cope up with the stress, she took to the bottle to calm herself. Little did she know that her life would be affected because of her alcoholism.

"Amma, however, did not know how to handle her troubles. She wasn't clever to deal with the situation. She was innocent and it affected her very badly. Also, she never had any proper guidance, that's why she became an alcoholic. Once she slipped into a coma, that lasted 19 months, there was no talking to her. We were certain that she would come back, but it was a long wait and it ended only with her death. It was so terrible to watch her on the hospital bed," Vijaya Chamundeswari, daughter of Savitri, told a daily.

She was in a coma for 19 months and breathed her last on December 26, 1981.


More from India Today

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon