Bhagyalakshmi is a South Indian dubbing artist, actress, and activist who works primarily in the Malayalam film industry. She is most famous for voicing the characters played by actress Shobana in Malayali films.
Bhagyalakshmi was born Saturday, 1 November 1962 (age 59 years; as of 2021) in Palakkad, Kerala. Her zodiac sign is Scorpio. After her father’s death, she was sent to an orphanage in Vellimadukunnu, Kozhikode, where she spent a few years of her life before her grandmother took Bhagyalakshmi and her siblings to her place in Chennai, where she began her journey in the Malayalam film industry. At the age of ten, she began working in the entertainment industry. While working in the industry, she continued her studies and completed her plus-two.
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: Black
Family & Ethnicity
Parents & Siblings
Her father, Kumaran Nair, hailed from Powaat Tharavadu in Calicut and ran the restaurant in Palakkad. He passed away when Bhagyalakshmi was three years old. Her mother, Bhargavi Amma, is from Kurupath Tharavad in Shoranur. Her mother passed away due to cancer shortly after Bhagyalakshmi began working in the industry. She has an elder sister named Indira Nair and an elder brother named Unni Nair.
Relationships, Husband & Children
She got married to K. Ramesh Kumar, former cameraman and studio manager, on Sunday, 27 October 1985.
She has two sons with Ramesh named Nitin and Sachin. They separated in 2011 and officially got divorced in September 2014.
In the mid-2000s, she was said to be in a relationship with the famous director/producer B. Unnikrishnan. reportedly, the couple separated after a few years and decided to remain good friends.
In 1972, she began her career as a dubbing artist for a child character in a film, and her first noted movie was ‘Aparadhi’ in 1977. She dubbed for many movies before dubbing for Indian actress and politician Sumalatha’s character ‘Suma’ (main) in the film ‘Kolilakkam’ (1981).
She has dubbed more than 4000 Malayalam films for the South Indian actresses like Rani Padmini, Menaka, Shobhana, Revathi, Sudha Chandran, Ramya Krishnan, Urmila Matondkar, Tabu, Nandita Das, Kavya Madhavan, Nayanthara, Manisha Koirala, and Raadhika.
In 1973, she made her acting debut with the Malayalam film ‘Manassu.’ She went on to star in the films Chamaram (1980), Manassinte Theerthayathra (1981), and Dheera (1982). After Dheera (1982), she did dubbing only and made her return to acting with the Malayalam film ‘Njan Samvidhanam Cheyyum’ (2015) as ‘Gayatri’s friend.’
She then acted in the Malayalam films Pa Va (2016), Oru Muthassi Gadha (2016), and Aniyan Kunjum Thannalayathu (2019).
Bhagyalakshmi made her television debut as a host in season 1 & 2 of the chat show ‘Manassiloru Mazhavillu’ on Kairali TV.
She went on to host the TV show ‘Selfi’ on Kairali TV. She appeared as a judge in the Malayalam reality TV show ‘Tharolsavam’ Season 1 & 2. In 2021, she appeared in Bigg Boss Malayalam 3 as a participant.
Awards & Honours
Kerala State Film Awards for Best Dubbing Artist
- For the film ‘Ulladakkam’ in 1991
- For the film ‘Ente Sooryaputhrikku’ in 1991
- For the film ‘Kusruthikaatu’ in 1995
- For the film ‘Ormakalundayirikkanam’ in 1995
- For the film ‘Yathrakkarude Sradhakku’ in 2002
Kerala State Television Awards
- Best Dubbing Artist in 2002
- Best Anchor for the show ‘Selfi’ in 2015
- Kerala Film Critic Award for Best Dubbing Artist for the film ‘Yathrakarude Sradhakku’ in 2002
- Asianet Television Awards for Best Dubbing Artist for ‘Kumkumapoovu’ in 2012
- Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Bio and Autobiography for ‘Swarabhedangal’ in 2013
- On 26 September 2020, Bhagyalakshmi and two other activists Diya Sana and Sreelakshmi Arakkal attacked and threw black ink at a YouTuber named Vijay P. Nair at his residence in Thiruvananthapuram for allegedly throwing personal insult on Bhagyalakshmi and women in general. The activists recorded the whole incident and uploaded it on their social media account, which went viral. Following the incident, Bhagyalakshmi and the other two were charged with non-bailable offences including criminal trespass. In November 2020, the Kerala High Court granted anticipatory bail to the three accused on their executing bond for Rs. 50,000 each.
- In 2019, she donated her hair as part of a campaign on the account of World Cancer Day. After the news circulated, she began receiving negative comments, saying that her hair donation would do nothing for the cause and it was a publicity stunt. To which, Bhagyalakshmi came on Facebook live to criticize the people for calling her efforts a publicity stunt and asked whether they would do the same for the sake of publicity. She went on to criticize the act of contempt shown to even good activities on social media.
- In 2016, Indian filmmaker Fazil, in an interview, confessed that Tamil dubbing artist Durga Sundararajan was the one to dub for Shobana for her role of ‘Nagavalli’ in the iconic Malayalam movie ‘Manichitrathaazhu’ (1993), an iconic role believed (for 23 years) to be dubbed by Bhagyalakshmi. Fazil said,
Sobhana’s character Ganga in the movie Manichitrathazhu, and it was she who dubbed for the character Nagavalli initially. But later Shekhar sir and others noticed similarities in the voice and pronunciation of words by Ganga and Nagavalli and. So, the part of Nagavalli was later dubbed by Tamil dubbing artist Durga. However, we forgot to inform it to Bhagylakshmi then and for years she believed she gave voice-over for the hit dialogue.”
After the revelation, Bhagyalakshmi received a lot of criticism for taking credits for someone else. To which, Bhagyalakshmi replied,
I personally am not burdened with any sort of embarrassment, insult, guilt, sadness, “protest –nothing at all. I have long got over any such feelings in this regard. I’ve dubbed for more than 4000 movies. This was not my first film.”
- In 2016, after demonetization in India, Indian actor Mohanlal wrote a post on Facebook supporting the decision of the central government. In a social media post, he said that people have no complaints standing in long queues before liquor shops, religious places, and theatres, so, there was no problem to stand in lines before ATM and banks for a good cause. To which, Bhagyalakshmi, on her Facebook page, indirectly opposed Mohanlal’s post. She wrote,
Hospital-bound people are suffering adversely. They are standing in long queues to sustain their lives and not for buying alcohol. Those who are supporting this move will realize the reality only when they undergo such a hardship.”
After her post went viral, where some supported her stand, she received a huge backlash for calling out Mohanlal and not being in support of the action by the central government.
- Bhagyalakshmi once slapped a director for mistreating her and abusing her for not being able to dub the voice of a raped girl properly, during a dubbing session for a film.
- In 2012, she turned writer with her autobiography ‘Swarabhedhangal’ (in Malayalam), published by DC Books.
- Her parents had five children and two of them died earlier. She lost her father at the age of three and after her father’s death, her mother tried to support the family. But her mother failed to do so. Bhagyalakshmi was sent to an orphanage in Kozhikode at the age of four, along with her two siblings. For the next three years, she lived at the orphanage. According to her,
Amma asked me, can we go to a place. I was all excited about my first bus travel. We went to a place and Amma disappeared. Someone told me that Amma left me there and went back. I started crying hard but no one was there to console me. Days after I learned that it was an orphanage and realised that my life is going to be here. Still, the orphanage is a fear for me, from there I have stated feeling loneliness in my life.”
- After her grandmother (who stayed alone), Kamalakshi, came to know about Bhagyalkshmi and her siblings living at the orphanage, she decided to take Bhagyalakshmi and her siblings with her to her home in Saidapet, Chennai, where she did the rest of her schooling with dubbing for films.
- Her mother later came to Chennai and started living with Bhagyalakshmi in Kodambakkam, Chennai, while her siblings stayed with her grandmother. She was suffering from uterine cancer at that time but still managed to earn. At that time, her elder sister and brother were studying in college in Coimbatore. Later, when her mother’s health worsened, Bhagyalakshmi began taking care of her mother in the hospital. She used to do household work, earn for her mother.
- While her mother was bedridden in the hospital, she decided to give Bhagyalakshmi’s parenting to someone else. When she inquired, her mother told her that she wanted her to go (with the people who wanted to adopt her) because she was going to die soon; both her siblings were adults and could take care of themselves but she was still young. Bhagyalakshmi could not bring herself to the agreement and went to her grandmother, telling her that her mother wants to give her to someone. Furious, her grandmother came to the hospital and argued with her mother. She later realized that her mother feared that her grandmother would make her work in the film industry and destroy her future. A few days after the incident, her mother died.
- After her mother’s death, her grandmother arranged a marriage for her elder sister, but her elder sister broke her marriage and returned to her grandmother’s home. In Chennai, her grandmother had a close connection to the film industry as she taught Malayalam to the actresses like Sharada. Her grandmother couldn’t support her any longer, so she began to pressure Bhagyalakshmi to work in the industry. As she got older, her grandmother began to pressure her more to act in films. She did not like acting at that time.
- By the time, she was seventeen, she was pressured to act in films and had acted in four or five films. Many directors called her out for not knowing how to act. Although she liked dubbing, she did want to pursue it as a profession. Her only dream at that time was to get married by the age of twenty.
- While she was dubbing at Sargam Studio in Chennai, director K.G. Rajasekharan introduced her to Ramesh Kumar. Two or three days later, Rajasekharan told her that Ramesh wanted to marry her. She met Ramesh and told him about her past and asked him to wait for a year. After a year, she decided to marry Ramesh. When she told about Ramesh to her grandmother, her grandmother rejected the idea of her marriage and asked her to choose between her and Ramesh. She did not want to be in the industry, so, she left her home and got married to Ramesh in a private ceremony.
- After her marriage, she left the film industry, but after a year, she joined the industry again because she got bored staying in the house alone.
- While dubbing for the voice of Nadhiya Moidu, the lead actress in the film ‘Nokkethadhoorathu Kannum Nattu’ (1984) at Chitranjali Studio, her views on dubbing changed completely. The director of the film, Fazil, mentored on dubbing. He demonstrated what a dubbing artist should know. That’s when she realized that she was doing a serious job. Fazil became her mentor from that day as she began taking dubbing as her career.
- In 2005, she started a dubbing institute with Mohanlal in Kazhakkoottame. She even a guest teacher of dubbing at the Neo Film and Broadcasting School.
- Bhagyalakshmi is a women rights activist and has shown support to women on various occasions. One such incident happened in Kerala’s Thrissur district in 2016, where a woman was gang-raped by four men and was subjected to mental harassment by the police authorities. The case came into public attention after Bhagyalakshmi narrated the woman’s torment in a Facebook post. At a press conference, where Bhagyalakshmi was present, the women named the culprits of which one was CPM municipal councillor P N Jayanthan. The women narrated that the rapists were her husband’s friends. When she reached out to the police, police officers harassed her by asking uncomfortable and scrutinising questions and further humiliating her in front of visitors. Days after filing a police complaint, she was forced to withdraw it under pressure from the accused and the police.
- In 2018, the union of film technicians Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) launched its women’s wing with Bhagyalakshmi as its chairperson.