Gautami Tadimalla – Popular South Indian Film Actress of 1990s

Gautami Tadimalla, best known as Gautami is a very popular south Indian film actress, who remained at top in the 1990s. She turned a lead actress in the late 1980s and worked with many lead heroes like Kamal Hassan, Rajinikanth, Mohanlal, Mammootty etc. Among all actors, her screen chemistry with Kamal Hassan was appreciated most, and later had a live-in relation for 11 years. She has worked in all south Indian language films, and a few Hindi films. She has done a couple of TV soaps, and has appeared as a judge for a few reality shows.

After retiring from acting, she turned a costume designer. In 2015 she returned to acting after a hiatus. Nee Pathi Naan Pathi, Thevar Makan, Apoorva Sagodharargal, Kuruthipunar, Paapanasan etc are some of her major works in Tamil. His Highness Abdullah, Dhruvam, Jackpot, Ayalathe Adheham, Sukrutham, Daddy, Chukkaan, E etc are some of her major works in Malayalam. In 1991 she received Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil for Nee Pathi Naan Pathi and in 1990 received Tamil Nadu State Film Award Special Prize for Namma Ooru Poovatha.

She joined films in 1983 in a supporting role

Gautami hails from Andhra Pradesh, and belongs to a Telugu speaking family. Her parents were doctors at a tea estate. She completed engineering studies from GITAM University in Visakhapatnam. She started her film journey through Telugu films and initially did supporting roles. She also appeared in Kannada films, before she joined Tamil films and turned a huge star.

Vasanthame Varuga in 1983 was her first acting role, followed by Dayamayudu, Gandhinagar Rendava Veedhi, Srinivasa Kalyanam etc. She was introduced to movies by her cousin who produced Vasanthame Varuga. Gandhinagar Rendava Veedhi, remake of Malayalam cult classic, Gandhinagar 2nd Street introduced her as lead actress in Telugu cinema. It was followed by Srinivasa Kalyanam, where she played parallel lead aside Venkatesh and Bhanupriya. The movie was a commercial hit, and she turned a familiar face of Telugu cinema. After that she started receiving offers from other language films.

She was introduced to Tamil films through Guru Shishyan

Elu Suttina Kote in 1987 was her first movie in Kannada where she was paired with rebel star Ambarish. She did one more Kannada movie, Saahasa Veera, after which she concentrated to Tamil and Telugu films. Bazaar Rowdy, Thodallullu, Bharya Bharthalu etc are some more Telugu releases in a lead role, before she bagged her first Tamil movie, Guru Shishyan in 1988. She shared screen space with Rajinikanth and Prabhu in this action masala movie. More acting roles came pouring in. Very soon she turned a busy actress of Telugu and Tamil cinema, and remained at top till mid-1990s. She also worked in a few Malayalam hit movies, mostly pairing with lead actors.

She became a part of several masala entertainers of late 1980s till mid-1990s. Her Tamil releases include – Enga Ooru Kavalkaran, Namma Ooru Nayagan, Kalicharan, Kaaval Nilayam, Periya Gounder Ponnu, Raththa Dhanam, Adhikari, Pattathu Raani, Brahmachari etc. After she played second lead in Kamal Hassan’s Thevar Magan (1992), she cemented her position in Tamil cinema. Together they worked in many movies later. Same year she joined Malayalam cinema through His Highness Abdullah. Though she did several glamorous roles in Telugu and Tamil, she gained recognition in Malayalam cinema through her next-door girl looks in a series of films.

Her career deteriorated in the second half of 1990s

Like many actresses, after a career peak she faced a down fall with mid-1990s and most of her films turned flops. When new heroines joined film stream, she started accepting supporting roles before taking a break from acting. With late 1990s offers started draining and she retired from films. She turned a costume designer in the late 2000s. In 2015 she returned to acting in a bang with Tamil thriller, Papanasam, playing Kamal Hassan’s wife. She was nominated at Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil. She made impressive performances in Manamantha (Telugu) and E (Malayalam) later.

Gautami’s personal relationships

She was married to Sandeep Bhatia and had one daughter Subhalakshmi. After separation she had a live-in relationship with her co-star and divorcee Kamal Haasan between 2005 and 2016. They separated after that. She has a special bond with Kamal’s daughters from first marriage with Sarika – Shruti Haasan and Akshara Haasan. During her fight with breast cancer, Kamal stood as her pillar of support. Gautami announced her breakup with Kamal through her personal blog. It was after 13 long years of their deep bonding. She founded Life Again Foundation which aims at improvisation of life through many means.

Gautami Tadimalla – Some interesting and less-known facts

1. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35, and later she successfully recovered from it.

2. In Tamil, her screen pairing with Kamal Hassan is popular. Thevar Makan, Apoorva Sagodharargal, Kuruthipunar, Paapanasan etc are some of her best works with the mega star.

3. She did a series of movies with Mithun Chakraborty in Hindi, though most of them were box office failures. They started off with Pyar Hua Chori Chori in 1991, remake of Malayalam hit, Chitram, and later worked together in Teesra Kaun, Aadmi, Janta Ki Adalat etc.

‘Jab Dil Ne Tujhe Yaad Kiya’ song from Teesra Kaun, the movie in which Gautami made a cameo appearance

4. She made a special appearance in the chartbuster song Chikku Bukku Rayile composed by A. R. Rahman for Gentleman. The song introduced Prabhudeva to silver screen, and he choreographed the song also.

5. She has done costume designing for a few movies of Kamal Hassan. As a costume designer she received Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Vishwaroopam and Vijay Award for Dasavathaaram.

6. Her lead role in Sukrutham bagged her the prestigious Ramu Kaaryatt Award for Best Actress in Malayalam.

7. She lost her father and mother within a small gap of 1-2 years. She was around 30 years old then.


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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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