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12 December 1931
Rajahmundry, East Godavari district, Madras Presidency, British India
|📆 Years active||1949–present|
Sankaramanchi Srinivasa Rao (m. 1947)
|👪 Relatives||Vaishnavi (granddaughter)|
|Family||Krishna Kumari (sister)|
Sankaramanchi Janaki (born 12 December 1931), popularly known as Sowcar Janaki, is an Indian actress who has acted in over 387 Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi and Malayalam films. She also performed on stage in over 300 shows and was a radio artist during her earlier years. Her career as film actress began only after her marriage. She became a popular actress with hits in various languages between 1949 and 1975 as the lead heroine such as Shavukaru (Telugu), Valayapathy, Rojulu Marayi (Telugu), then in Tamil, such as Naan Kanda Sorgam, Kaviya Thalavi, Bhagya Lakshmi, Pallum Pazhamum, Paar Magale Paar, Thayikku Thalaimagan, Kumudham, Panam Paadithavan, Puthiya Paravai, Bama Vijayam, Oli Villaku, Ethir Neechal, Maanavan, Uyardha Manidhan, Nimarundhu Nil, Thunaivan, Needhi , Kaliyuga Kannan and Iru Kodugal (Tamil), with Kannada films such as Devakaanika, Saaku Magalu, Sadarame, Thayige Thakka Maga and then with her Malayalam debut Schoolmaster (1964) and with a film in Hindi - Teen Bahuraniyan. She worked with famous directors such as Dada Mirasee and K. Balachandar.
She moved to supporting roles after 1975 and her performances in Cinema Paithiyam, Thee, Thillu Mullu, Vetri Vizha and Kaanche were widely appreciated. She served as jury member for the National Indian Films awards committee and as chair person for state Telugu Films awards committee.
She made her debut at the age of 18, after her marriage, in 1949 with the film Shavukaru. After this, she essayed wide variety of roles for next 70 years. The only other actors to have had such long careers in the field of acting in India were Dev Anand, Pran, Ashok Kumar, Akkineni Nageswara Rao and Kamini Kaushal However, by 2016, her career span has overtaken most of the actors and she remains the actress with the longest career span.
She was the most comfortable on being paired with Sreekanth, Gemini Ganeshan and Shivaji Ganeshan repeatedly in Tamil films. She quoted in an interview on her pairing with Sivaji Ganesan, "He would compliment me in public using superlatives. I’d be thrilled! We would always rehearse together. If my character needed a little over-acting, he would tone down his and vice versa. It was a challenge working with the great actor! If they remember Sivaji Ganesan, they remember me". She has done around 387 films in Kannada, Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam and Telugu.She acted in supporting roles in films with M. G.Ramachandran as lead hero like Panam Padaithavan, Thaikku Thalaimagan,Oli Villakku.
She actively participated in drama troupes and did live drama shows right from 1960, despite being a busy film star and continued doing so till 1995. In many of the dramas, she worked with co-star Sreekanth.
She is the elder daughter of T. Venkoji Rao and Sachi Devi of Rajahmundry. She completed her earlier studies from Gauhati University in Assam and has received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Arizona. She has two daughters and a son, four grandchildren and two great granddaughters. Her granddaughter Vaishnavi is also a famous actress who acted in many Tamil movies in 1987 to 1996.
She was paired alongside N. T. Rama Rao in her first movie Shavukar. She acted with A. Nageswara Rao, Jaggaiah, Sivaji Ganesan, M.G.R, Prem Nazir, V.K. Ramaswamy, Major Sunderrajan, Nagesh, Sreekanth, AVM Rajan, Gemini Ganesan, Ravichandran, Dr. Rajkumar, Kamal Haasan, Rajnikanth and Mammootty.
- Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South (1984)
- Kalaimamani by Tamil Nadu government
- Tamil Nadu State Film Honorary Award - MGR Award in 1990.
- SIIMA Lifetime Achievement Award, 2012
- Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress, 1969 for Iru Kodugal
- Nandi Award for Best Supporting Actress, 2007 for Amoolyam
- SIIMA - Lifetime Achievement (2013)
- Kannada Rajyotsava Awards (2015)
- Streeratna Awards (2019)
|1950||Shavukar||Telugu||Subbulu||debut in Telugu|
|1952||Valayapathi||Tamil||Sathyavathi||debut in Tamil|
|1954||Panam Paduthum Padu||Tamil|
|1955||Asai Anna Arumai Thambi||Tamil|
|1955||Kaalm Maari Pochu||Tamil|
|1958||Veettukku Vandha Varalakshmi||Tamil|
|1958||Ganga Gauri Samvadam||Telugu|
|1958||Nalla Idathu Sammandham||Tamil||Rathinam|
|1959||Raja Malaya Simham||Tamil|
|1959||Raja Malaya Simha||Telugu|
|1960||Sri Venkateswara Mahatyam||Telugu||Yerukala Saani|
|1960||Kadeddulu Ekaram Nela||Telugu||Seeta|
|1960||Naan Kanda Sorgam||Tamil||Meenakshi|
|1962||Paarthaal Pasi Theerum||Tamil||Janaki|
|1962||Vadivukku Valai Kappu||Tamil|
|1963||Paar Magale Paar||Tamil||Lakshmiammal|
|1964||Puthiya Paravai||Tamil||Chitra & Saroja|
|1964||School Master||Malayalam||Johny's wife|
|1964||Peetala Meeda Pelli||Telugu|
|1966||Motor Sundaram Pillai||Tamil||First wife|
|1967||Kan Kanda Daivam||Tamil|
|1967||Pesum Dheivam||Tamil||Guest role|
|1968||Enga Oor Raja||Tamil||Sivakami|
|1968||Undamma Bottu Pedata||Telugu|
|1970||Kaaviya Thalaivi||Tamil||Devi (Meera Bai) & Krishna|
|1970||Dharma Daata||Telugu||Zamindar's wife|
|1970||Rendu Kutumbala Katha||Telugu|
|1973||Engal Thanga Raja||Tamil||Kanaga|
|1975||Uravukku Kai Koduppom||Tamil|
|1975||Naaku Swatantram Vachindi||Telugu|
|1978||Thayige Thakka Maga||Kannada||Kumar's adopted mother|
|1978||Devadasu Malli Puttadu||Telugu||Aruna's sister|
|1978||Kannan Oru Kai Kuzhandhai||Tamil|
|1978||Chal Mohana Ranga||Telugu|
|1979||Pattakkathi Bhairavan||Tamil||Arjunan's mother|
|1980||Gopala Rao Gari Ammayi||Telugu||Janaki|
|1981||Kula Puthra||Kannada||Guest appearance|
|1981||Prem Geet||Hindi||Mrs. Laxmi Bhardwaj|
|1981||Thillu Mullu||Tamil||Meenakshi Duraiswamy|
|1984||Kai Kodukkum Kai||Tamil||Kaalimuthu's sister-in-law|
|1986||Dosti Dushmani||Hindi||Sumitra Singh|
|1987||Samsaram Oka Chadarangam||Telugu||Chilakamma|
|1987||Murali Krishnudu||Telugu||Murali Krishna's grandmother|
|1987||Sardar Krishnamma Naidu||Telugu|
|1989||Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal||Tamil||Goa resident|
|1989||Vetri Vizha||Tamil||Shirley's aunt|
|1991||Oorarinda Rahasyam||Tamil||TV Serial|
|1999||Ravoyi Chandamama||Telugu||Nagarjuna's grandmother|
|2000||Hey Ram||Tamil||Mythili's grandmother|
|2014||Vanavarayan Vallavarayan||Tamil||Krishna's & Anand's grandmother|
|2014||Pungi Daasa||Kannada||Gayatri Devi|
|2016||Babu Bangaram||Telugu||Sailaja's grandmother|
|TBA||Untitled Santhanam Movie||Tamil|
- "Shavukar Janaki Returns". www.indiaglitz.com. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
- "A Trip Down Memory Lane". The New Indian Express.
- "Shavukaru Janaki: Did Not Act Out of Passion But to Meet Family's Needs". The New Indian Express.
- "Still ready to act: Sowcar Janaki". 25 December 2006 – via www.thehindu.com.
- "A dauntless spirit showcased". 29 December 2006 – via www.thehindu.com.
- "Lifetime Achievement Award (South) winners down the years..." filmfare.com.