Kodumudi Balambal Sundarambal was born in 1907 in Kodumudi in Trichy district into an agonizingly poor family, which lived in a thatched hut. The family struggled to keep the wolf away from its thin doors and left with no choice the young girl had no option than to sing for alms in local trains running from Trichy to nearby destinations. A talent scout, stage actor and man of fine arts of Trichy, and a SIR- senior official F.G. Natesa Iyer noticed the girl with the stunningly vibrant and pliable voice singing for alms in running trains.

Natesa Iyer took charge of the girl and had her trained in music and also got her into the well known P.S. Velu Naicker drama company. With her remarkable singing talents, voice and all, young Sundarambal quickly made a mark as stage star, and also cut gramophone discs of songs, which became best sellers. Invariably many families in Tamil Nadu and even adjoining non-Tamil-speaking areas owned such ‘plates’. These records sold in thousands and today they are collector’s items. Thanks to her increasing popularity and success as stage star she toured Ceylon where the plays were screened in places like Colombo, Kandy, and Jaffna and others where there was considerable Tamil presence in those happy leisurely days.

Why she was making waves in Ceylon, S. G. Kittappa who was by now a star and well on his way to become a cult figure also reached the island nation with his drama troupe. The two met in Ceylon and fell in love. Kittappa was already married but that did not prevent him from falling for Sundarambal. They became ardent lovers and lived as husband and wife without the ‘benefit of clergy’ until the sad, sudden and shocking demise of Kittappa while on stage in Kumbakonam….

Some of her Great Hits

'Gaandhiyaip Pol parama Ezhai sanyasi…’
‘Tayidattil anbillada…’
‘Panditha motilal neruvai ….’
‘Pittham theliya marundhondru…’
'Vazhi maraittirukude malaipol….’
'Shiraiccalai enna seyyum…’
’Pazham ni appa... gnana pazham ni appa…’
Vazhkai ennum Odam…’


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