Kottayam Santha is a Malayalam film actress who has given voice overs for more than 1,000 films and has acted in more than 300 films. She also has acted in 26 dramas. She entered her acting career in a theater group and later evinced interest in cinema and started her career as a voice over actress. She was the famous actress in the sixties and seventies. She has dubbed for actresses like Seema and Lakshmi. Actress Seema, while giving her call sheet, emphasized that Kottayam Santha should do voice over for her. Her voice was suitable for Seema, especially synchronizing with her lip movements. Though her voice suited Seema well, she gave voices for Lakshmi, Swapna, and Sumalatha. Her first film was M Krishnan Nair's film ’’Aniyathi,’’ and the last film was ‘
Palunku’. She also acted in TV serials.
Kottayam Santha started in the industry as a dubbing artiste, where she had to emote all kinds of emotions. As a dubbing artiste, she gained exceptional dialogue delivery skills. As Kottayam Santha was from the theater background, it helped her in adapting the characters and in the technical aspects of voice modulations and dialogue rendering. In Mollywood, actresses survive with the aid of dubbing artiste. Thus, she was in high demand in the sixties and seventies. She also acted in films ‘’Pareeksha’’, “Aaravam’’, ‘’Abhayam’’, ” Pavam Pavam Rajakumaran’’, ‘’Viruthan Shanku’’ etc. In the movies, she was seen acting only in supporting roles and managed to remain in the limelight. Her prominent films include Chemmeen, Kallichellamma, Moodupadam, Doctor, Eetta, Palunku, Bhargavi Nilayam, Manase Ninakku Mangalam. Kottayam Santha was responsible for making audiences connect to the character. She spoke romantic and powerful dialogues for an actress as a dubbing artist but did not get her credit. It was, for this reason, she became an actress. She also has done playback singing for many Malayalam movies.
Santha passed away on 27 April 2007 in Kottayam.
An Indian Malayalam actress and stage artiste, Kottayam Santha Devi devoted her 60 years to acting. Born in 1927, she was the 7th child out of the ten children of Thottathil Kannakkuruppu and Karthiyayani Amma. She got married to Balakrishnan, a railway guard, at the age of 18. Unfortunately, that relationship did not work out and came to an end. Subsequently, she got married to famous Malayalam playback singer
Kozhikode Abdul Kader and had two sons-
Suresh Babu and the Late Satyajit.
Moving towards her filmy career, she was the debutant actress in KundanariAppu Nair’s ‘Smarakam’ in 1954. She made her cinema debut in Minnaminungu (1957) directed by RamuKaryat. Her spectacular performance in ‘Yamanam’ in 1992 by director
Bharath Gopi brought home the National Film Award for the Best Supporting Actress. Various awards like the Kerala stage Award for best actress for ‘Kuddukukkal’ in 1968. That very year she was applauded by the Thrissur Fine Art’s Society. The very following year she won the Best Actress. The very reputed Kerala Sangeetha Nadaka Academy Award was in her lap for the films Ithubhoomiyanu and Inquilabintemakkal as the best actress. The Kerala Film Critics Association Award in 1979 and Kerala State Award for Best Actress in the state were also awarded to her for the film ‘Deepasthambham Mahashcharyam’ in 1983.
She was also given the Premji Award and the year 2005 honored her with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Kerala Café, by director Ranjith, was her last movie depicting the role of an aloof grandmother. Her best roles on television have been Manasi and Minukettu, which are worth mentioning.
She was a talented actress with the best of acting skills hidden within her.