At the Vijaya Gardens in Chennai, in 1977, Seema was waiting with a dancer Manisha for a film shoot. Suddenly, she heard somebody snapping his fingers. It was the film director I V Sasi. Manisha said, “Why is the director calling us by snapping his fingers? Why can't he use our names?”
Seema remained silent. Then Sasi said, “Hey, come here.”She replied, “I am not a dog that you call me by snapping your fingers.” Sasi said there was a dance in his film, ‘Ee Manohara Theeram’, and asked Seema whether she would do it. Seema declined. Sasi did not say anything.
The next day, dance master Vaikom Murthy went to Seema’s house and requested her to accept. Seema decided to ask for a huge sum of money. Surprisingly, Sasi agreed. She then asked for more. And again Sasi agreed. “I said, ‘Give me the money first’,” says Seema. “And, amazingly, he sent it.”
So Seema had no option but to dance in the film. And it was after the shoot was over that Sasi fell in love with her. In the meantime, Sasi had begun work on Avalude Ravukal. Not surprisingly, all the established heroines refused to act in it because the role was that of a prostitute.
Sasi did make-up tests and took photo stills of Seema. He liked what he saw, and selected Seema. Of course, it was a path-breaking movie and established Seema as a sexy siren in Malayalam films. By now, both of them were in a relationship. But it was only on August 28, 1980, that they got married, at the Mangad temple, near Chennai.
Over the years, Seema realised that cinema is Sasi’s first love, or, as she says, “It was his first wife. I had no problems with that. It was through films that we have earned our bread and butter.”In fact, so intense was Sasi's commitment that when a film’s release day neared, Sasi went through an enormous tension. And, irrespective of whether it was a hit or a flop, the director suffered from loose motions for a week.
“That showed his commitment,” says Seema.
But both of them were like chalk and cheese. While Sasi never talked, Seema is loud and voluble. “In 33 years we must have spoken to each other for 15 days,” she says. The couple have two children, daughter Anu and son Ani.