12 December 1931
|Spouse(s)||Sankaramanchi Srinivasa Rao (m.1947)|
|Family||Krishna Kumari (sister)|
Sankaramanchi Janaki (born 12 December 1931), popularly known as Sowcar Janaki or Shavukaru Janaki, is an Indian actress who has appeared in over 450 films, predominantly in Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada languages. She also performed on stage in over 300 shows and was a radio artist during her earlier years. She won two Nandi Awards.
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. Her granddaughter Vaishnavi Aravind is also an actress who acted in several Tamil, Telugu and a few Malayalam movies since 1987.
Sowcar Janaki has been a prominent radio artist at "Aakashvani Madras" from the age of 14. She has also acted in Telugu plays penned by prominent authors like Dr. P.V. Rajamannar, Dr. Aarudra Padmaraju Atreya and others. She made her debut at the age of 18, after her marriage, in 1949 with the film Shavukaru. 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 Mirasi and K. Balachander.
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 twice for the National Indian Films awards committee and as chair person for State Telugu Films awards committee.
She essayed wide variety of roles throughout her 71 years career. 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 one of the few Indian actors 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 over 450 films in Kannada, Hindi, 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 Srikanth.
She was paired alongside N. T. Rama Rao in her first movie Shavukaru. She acted with A. Nageswara Rao, Jaggayya, Sivaji Ganesan, M.G.R, Prem Nazir, V.K. Ramaswamy, Major Sunderrajan, Nagesh, Srikanth, AVM Rajan, Gemini Ganesan, Ravichandran, Dr. Rajkumar, Kamal Haasan, Rajnikanth and Mammootty.
She has performed on stage in 3 popular plays, written and directed by K. Balachander, in over 300 shows.
She has received several awards. Some notable ones are given below:
- Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South (1984)
- Mahanati Savithri Award in 1985
- Honorary Doctorate from World University, Arizona for Excellence in her chosen field in 1985.
- Indian Express Dyonara Golden Award in 1989.
- Nadigar Thilagam Sivaji Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004
- Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000
- Sri Krishna Devaraya Award, Karnataka
- Kalaimamani by Tamil Nadu government in 1969-1970.
- Tamil Nadu State Film Honorary Award - MGR Award in 1990.
- SIIMA Lifetime Achievement Award, 2012
- Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress, 1970 for Iru Kodugal
- Nandi Award for Best Supporting Actress for Samsaram Oka Chadarangam,1987 
- Nandi Award for Best Supporting Actress for Amoolyam,2007
- SIIMA Lifetime Achievement Award (2013)
- Rajyotsava Award by Government of Karnataka (2015)
- Streeratna Awards (2019)
- Wonder Women Awards(2019) as Evergreen Entertainer of Indian Cinema
- Puratchi Thalaivi Dr. J. Jayalalithaa Special Kalaimamani Award (2020) by the Government of Tamil Nadu
This list(September 2021)
|1950||Shavukaru||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||Athani Kante Ghanudu||Telugu|
|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|
|1981||Kula Kozhunthu||Tamil||Thambi Durai's mother|
|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|
|1998||Bavagaru Bagunnara?||Telugu||Swapna's grandmother|
|1999||Chinna Raja||Tamil||Karthik's grandmother|
|1999||Ravoyi Chandamama||Telugu||Sasi's grandmother|
|2000||Hey Ram||Tamil||Mythili's grandmother|
|2003||Ela Cheppanu||Telugu||Priya's grandmother|
|2003||Abhimanyu||Telugu||Saira Bhanu's grad mother|
|2014||Vanavarayan Vallavarayan||Tamil||Krishna's & Anand's grandmother|
|2014||Pungi Daasa||Kannada||Gayatri Devi|
|2016||Babu Bangaram||Telugu||Sailaja's grandmother|
|2019||Thambi||Tamil||Parvathy and Saravanan's grandmother|
|2020||Biskoth||Tamil||Janaki Paati||400th film|
|2013-2014||Varudhini Parinayam||Telugu||Zee Telugu|
- "Shavukar Janaki Returns". www.indiaglitz.com. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
- "A dauntless spirit showcased". 29 December 2006 – via www.thehindu.com.
- "Still ready to act: Sowcar Janaki". 25 December 2006 – via www.thehindu.com.
- "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.
- "Lifetime Achievement Award (South) winners down the years..." filmfare.com.
- "నంది అవార్డు విజేతల పరంపర (1964–2008)" [A series of Nandi Award Winners (1964–2008)] (PDF). Information & Public Relations of Andhra Pradesh. Retrieved 21 August 2020.(in Telugu)