Veteran actress Nirmalamma, known for her on-screen `bamma’ roles, passed away at her residence in Jubilee Hills here at 5.30 am on Thursday after a prolonged illness. She was 82 and is survived by her only daughter, Kavita.
Born in a village near Machilipatnam in Krishna district, Nirmalamma started her career at a very young age of 10. She received an award from Bollywood actor Prthviraj Kapoor for her role of a beggar in a play `Aakali’. After her plays `Tulasi’ and `Sakkubai’ became popular, she got a chance to meet producer-director Ghantasala Balaramaiah who gave her a break in his film `Garuda Garvabhangam’ in 1943. After `Manushulu Marali’ she never had to look back as she went on doing over 700 films. `Padaharella Vayasu,’`Gang Leader’, `Patnam Vachchina Pativratalu’ and `Sneham Kosam’ were some of the biggest hits in which she acted. She won the Nandi award for best supporting actress for her role in `Mayuri’ in 1985.
She acted with three generations of actors _ NT Rama Rao and Akkineni Nageswara Rao; Krishna and Sobhan Babu; and Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna, Venkatesh and Nagarjuna.
Her last film was the SV Krishna Reddy-directed `Premaki Swagatam’ in 2002.
Her husband, the late G Krishna Rao, was a production manager. She produced one film, `Chalaki Mogudu Chadastapu Pellam’ under Nirmala Arts banner. Her son-in-law Prasad produced a film, `Kotigadu’ (an Arjun- starrer), in which she appeared in a key role.
In one of her interviews she had said that a film with herself as the heroine and the late Vallam Narasimha Rao as the hero had been launched by Sarathi Studio but it was not released.
Movie Artistes Association president Murali Mohan and secretary Ahuthi Prasad said in their condolence statement that Nirmalamma was close to everyone in the film industry. She acted in her last film `Premaku Swagatam’ with the same vigour and commitment with which she had acted in her first film `Garuda Garvabhangam’.
Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy said that by acting in about 1,000 film since 1950 she immortalised the `bamma’ character and won a special place in the hearts of Telugu movie-lovers. Her final rites will be held at the Punjagutta crematorium at 10 am on Friday.