The name evokes millions of memories in the minds of millions of people. An actress par excellence. The precise definition of Telugu beauty. An angel with the heart of gold. She drunk alcohol, but she might even have drunk nectar while giving all those delightfully bright performances. Savitri wouldn't have been remembered all these years after her death. There are many actors who are generally forgotten except for few occasions where people obligatorily remember them.
Savitri has married a married man with children. But she was an angel of love. She lived her life on her own terms. But she was was vulnerable enough to fall in the web of deceit. But we should not remember Savitri for all this. As the late equally legendary Steve Jobs said when Antennagate cropped up, no.... this is not just the way to remember Savitri. Savitri should be remembered only as the one and only Mahanati. In fact, Mahanati word itself feel honoured as it was bestowed upon Savitri.
One more way to remember Savitri is to remember her as a woman in public knowledge with a golden heart. Savitri should be remembered as the angel she was and should have been as angels are immortals both in the physical world and in spirit. yes. Savitri is immortal. Her immortality lies in her character. Here we wish to present five incidents that show the golden heart of Savitri.
She paid the school teachers from her earnings (as said by the banker)
SSGH School in Vaddivaripalem is built by Savitri in her native place in order to help poor girls like she once was. Eventually, the school was recognised first and then aided by the government. That means the salaries to all the teaching staff at least would be given by the government.
But in those salaries were not given for months at a time as there was a shortage of funds, and more importantly, it was because it is from the government that the money had to come. The teachers were suffering. Sometimes it even took 6 months since the teachers received salaries the last time.
Savitri heard about the plight of the poor teachers and didn't want the school she had built in her village to suffer because of the lack of funds. Savitri herself sent the cheque for an amount of around 1,00,000 rupees. Savitri used to inquire about the school she built. Once in such a conversation, the correspondent of the school told her about the problems faced by the teachers and rest of the staff.
This incident proves that Savitri is not an ordinary human being. She had no business o pay the school is it was already aided, and the government had already paid salaries albeit very late. But Savitri couldn't bear the truth that the teachers are suffering which in turn might create problems for the students. This was in the early 80s, when Savitri's life was already in tatters.
She gave away her gold to help the defense of the nation
Lal Bahaddur Shastri was the Prime Minister of India. On one side Pakistan was attacking Indian borders. To add insult to the injury, China attacked India from the North. Indian economy was as poor as it gets at that time. It was tougher even to fund the army men. At that time, the Prime Minister Shastri Ji called for donations from the people of the nation.
If the army was armed with proper weapons and was given the boost they needed with funds saying that the nation was behind them, that would help India in those war days. Shastri Ji gave a call to the people to help the nation to help raise funds. Those were the days that Indian Nation spirit was at its high as the memory of the freedom struggle was still fresh in people's memory. They didn't want another rule of foreign nationals. They gave away whatever they could give.
Even Shastri Ji fasted for a day, and the amount he saved with it and his one day salary are donated to inspire people. The Prime Minister toured the nation and various actors helped fund the army with donations. But most of them didn't give the help wholeheartedly. But Savitri was not one to throw alms. She gave away all her gold ornaments to the defense of the nation. Does gold need gold ornaments to shine? Savitri is more than 24 Karat gold.
Savitri's patriotism knew no bounds
Savitri was not only a great actress. She was known for her kind heart. She helped anyone who asks her help and she gave away money without even thinking. That made her latter years hell, but she stood tall among who were busy earning. One more incident that highlights her nature and commitment to the National Defence is here. During the days he was the CM of AP, Sri P. V. Narasimha Rao visited Chennai. He talked about India's war with Pak to help Bangladesh. Pakistan was armed with advanced weapons. Indian army needed the support of the citizens.
Sri P. V. Narasimha Rao asked for donations from those who are in attendance. The garland with which he was felicitated was auctioned and Savitri bought it for Rs. 32,000 in the days when 1 kg of rice was 1 rupee. She didn't even have second thoughts. Such was her commitment to the nation and her prise for the nation. Marveled by her golden heart and love for the nation, PV honored Savitri with the same garland.
Incidents narrated by Dasari Narayana Rao
Dasari Narayana Rao is one of the most respected directors in Telugu Cinema. He had worked with Mahanati Savitri in movies like Gorintaku. There are a couple of incidents that show how compassionate Savitri was.
Once in the shooting, Savitri found a junior artist fainted in the shoot. On talking to the production manager, she found that the artist in question skipped her lunch as the production executive talked rudely to her when she requested for better food. The next day, she brought lunch for the entire unit – the same seven different curries that she brought for herself. The producer who heard this was apologetic and ensured that everyone was fed well from that day on. Such was the kind heart of Savitri.
The actress was generous and affectionate towards everyone she came across. During the shoot of a movie, she found out that the day was Dasari Narayana Rao birthday. The unit was planning to celebrate his birthday. That's when she heard the commotion and asked him, "Thammudu! What is all this?" When Dasari told her it was his birthday, she was upset for not being informed about it earlier and immediately took her gold chain and put it in his neck. It was one of his most memorable moments with her. This was before she left to Bangalore never to return again.
And finally one more incident
Legendary singer P. Suseela once went to meet Savitri. She was collecting donations to help senior actors. Savitri opened her purse and gave all the money she found, without even counting. The amount was a whopping Rs 15,000. Even in these days after 50 years after the incidence, not many give Rs. 15,000 for charity. She would never say no to students who came seeking help for education.
If she found young disillusioned girls who had come looking for roles in cinema, she would give them money to help them to return home safely – she was an angel in human form when it came to helping people. Savitri was the manifestation of universal love. Her heart was gold is an understatement.