As the title of Nivin Pauley’s latest movie says, Shanti Krishna is to return to silver screen after a long break (Idavela) through Njangalude Nattil Oru Idavela directed by actor-turned-filmmaker Althaf, best known for his role of the protective friend of Mary, George’s teen love interest in Premam. It’s her return to silver screen after two decades, and her third innings too. She left a mark in both those innings before she retired. Shanthi took those two breaks from the industry following her marriages and after her second divorce most recently, she has decided to completely concentrate on to her professional career as an artist.
It created a lot of buzz and trolls in social media when she commented that she had to google net to know who Nivin Pauley is. For many her comment may look surprising. But for an artist who has stood far away from Malayalam film industry for a long time may not be acquainted with the latest updates and the new generation stars of Mollywood. Shanthi Krishna plays Nivin Pauley’s mother’s role in Njangalude Nattil Oru Idavela.
A brief note on Shanthi Krishna’s early days in cinema
Her ancestral home is in Palakkad. But she was born and brought up in Mumbai. She reached films while doing her pre-degree course. She continued her education in Mumbai to pursue a career in dance forms. When she got a central government scholarship for dance forms, the news got published in a newspaper and that’s how she got her first film role. She got her first film break through Bharathan’s Nidra to play the female lead opposite Vijay Menon. However Salini Ente Kootukari was her first release.
She was only a teenager then, who knows little about cinema in the early 1980s. She didn’t know then who is Bharathan. At that time her dreams were fully filled with classical dance forms, and she joined film field only to gain popularity which can serve as a ladder to pursue her dreams in dance field. But gradually she got opportunity to work with almost all leading directors of 1980s except Padmarajan. She completed her graduation through a private course, which was not common to Malayalam heroines in that era.
Shanthi’s romance with Sreenath
|Shanthi Krishna and Sreenath in Swarna Mukile song from Ithu Njangalude Katha
Sreenath played a supporting role in Salini Ente Kootukari, Shanthi Krishna’s first release. They met for the first time on the sets of a Tamil film. Later they shared screen space in several movies of early 1980s and have also been paired for many movies. Shanti’s screen pairing with Sreenath for movies such as Mangalam Nerunnu and Ithu Njangalude Katha was well received by family audience. Slowly a bond developed between the two resulting in their marriage against parents’ wish. Sreenath didn’t want her to act in movies after marriage, and Shanthi too didn’t have a second opinion.
Shanthi’s first break from the industry and return
When she quit film industry she was only 19 years old. She moved to a small village, Madathumpadi near Mala of Thrissur district soon after marriage. Later she moved to Thiruvananthapuram with Sreenath so that he can remain in touch with film field and get good roles. But when Sreenath didn’t get film roles as per expectations and the family had financial issues, Shanti returned to silver screen. They also lost their single daughter soon after delivery which affected the couple a lot. The child was born after a long period and her loss pulled Shanti to depression. She got the offer for Nayam Vyektamaakkunnu by Balachandra Menon and she accepted the role. Actor Mammootty encouraged her to accept the role as his female lead.
She returned to film screen in a bang through some of her memorable roles in the early 1990s. Her memorable roles such as Chakoram, Vishnu Lokam, Savidam, Nayam Vyektamaakkunnu and Ennum Nanmakal were released during this time. She earned two state awards during this period –for best actress (Chakoram) and for second best actress (Savidham). She also received a huge fan following crowd through her popular TV serials on Doordarshan such as Scooter, Chapalyam, Mohapakshikal etc during early 1990s.
Sreenath was a flexible actor to handle both serious and light comedy roles. However Sreenath lost chances in movies, personal ego and indifferences crept in their relationship, and one of the celebrated couples of Malayalam film industry ended their marriage bliss after 11 years. They legally separated in 1995. Both re-started their lives with new partners. However Sreenath’s frustrations and struggles in film and television industry to get opportunity took away his life. He committed suicide in 2010 when he was only 53 years old.
Shanthi’s second marriage and divorce
She met her second husband Bijoy, a businessman at Bangalore. He was 9 years younger to her and speaks Kannada. Yet they became friends soon and got married. The couple got married and she left the film industry. The couple had two children – Mithul and Mithali, and she lived with her kids in New York. Thus her link with Malayalam cinema was virtually broken. Her second marriage life too was not smooth and resulted in divorce. When she received an offer from Althaf to play Nivin Pauley’s mother in Njangalude Nattil Oru Idavela, she accepted it. She denied the rumours that she left her second marriage to pursue a career in entertainment industry.
The actress believes that cinema world has given her only gains
She believes that she received support from cinema whenever she needed so. Though she didn’t enter film world to pursue a career, she received a lot of fans and she stayed here with many memorable roles. There had been many personal losses. But film world gave her enough strength to overcome everything. Earlier she preferred to stay lonely, now loves a social life. Over the years Shanthi has not changed too much in physical appearance too and most recently she gave a stunning photo shoot for Vanitha Magazine.