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Comeback queen

Shoba Nair

Sheela and Madhu act together to recreate celluloid magic in `Thuskara Veeran.'



Second Innings: Sheela is game for the arclights once again. Photo: Vipinchandran

Sheela, who made a comeback with `Manasinakkare,' after a break of about 20 years, will star with Madhu in `Thuskara Veeran,' which will be released soon. Madhu and Sheela had created celluloid history in their film `Chemeen,' directed by Ramu Kariat.

After `Manasinakkare,' she went on act in a number of films such as `Akale', `Ponmudi Oru Puzhayoram' and `Thuskara Veeran.' She also acted in the Tamil blockbuster `Chandramukhi' where she essays the role of actor Prabhu's aunt, Akhilandeshwari.

Sense of satisfaction

The passage of years has left her unmarked. Ask her what the secret is and pat comes the reply, "a feeling of satisfaction." As if to reinforce her point she quotes a saying in Tamil, "podhum enrei manamei ponn sei marundhu," meaning the key to one's happiness is being happy with what one has.

And this is one actor who has every reason to feel happy. Sheela's career as an actor began as a substitute in a play organised by railway employees. Her father, a railway employee, passed away before Sheela made her debut in `Paasom' opposite MGR. Her first film in Malayalam was `Bhagyajathakom,' with Satyan.

The next two decades saw her essay roles that were very diverse, in more than 410 films in films such as `Chemeen,' `Kallichellama,' and `Vazhve Mayom.' The number of awards she has won, such as the Kerala State awards, the Lux award (five times), and the Filmfare Life Achievement award, are testimony to her acting skills.

Her name, along with Prem Nazir's name figures in the Guinness Book of Records, for acting together consecutively in 107 films.

In the 70s and 80s, Sheela's tried her hand at directing as well. She directed two films, `Yakshaganom' and `Shikarangal'.

She wrote the story, script and screenplay for 'Shikharangal', which was also remade in Tamil.

Besides films, she has directed a tele-film `Ninaivukale neengividu' in which Jayabharati acted. "The success or failure of any film depends on the manner in which it is presented, and that solely dwells with direction" opines Sheela.

Dream role

Sheela has a dream - to play the role of an AIDS patient, or any role that could convey a message to society.

The actor who has also authored a book, `Kuilinte Koodu,' is weighing the pros and cons of a career on the miniscreen.

Sheela, who took a break from films after having her son, is full of praise for the new breed of actresses who act in a few movies and then quit to settle down to matrimony. Sheela is based in Ooty, where she lives with her family.

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