Thanjavur Damayanthi Kusalakumari (6 December 1937 - 7 March 2019) was an Indian actress and dancer. She featured in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam language films.[1]

Early lifeEdit

Born in Thanjavur, Kusalakumari is a niece of T. R. Rajakumari. Her birth name is Kusalambal. Being born in an artistes family, she began learning Bharata Natyam at the age of 3. When she was 5 years old, the family moved to Chennai. She used to go to film shooting with her aunt T. R. Rajakumari.

Film careerEdit

Kusalakumari began her film career as a child artiste. Though she has danced in films before, she got a character role in Avvaiyar as the child Avvaiyar. Her major role as the poor woman falling in love with Sivaji Ganesan, was in Koondukili, the only film Sivaji Ganesan and M. G. Ramachandran featured together. Later she acted as the younger sister of Sivaji Ganesan in Kalvanin Kadhali, and then as the younger sister of K. R. Ramasamy in Needhipathi.

The competition dance with Kumari Kamala in Konjum Salangai brought fame to her as a dancer.

She began her film career in Telugu with Raju Peda as a dancer. The film featured N. T. Rama Rao in the main role and was a success. After that, she starred in many Telugu films both as dancer and in character roles.

She was paired with Prem Nazir in Malayalam-language film Seeta in the title role. The film ran for more than 200 days. Another Malayalam film Mariakutty won the President's award.[2]


Later lifeEdit

Kusalakumari did not marry. She lived with her brother T. D. Sekar in Chennai. The then Chief minister of Tamil Nadu J. Jayalalitha learned of Kusalakumari's financial difficulties and sanctioned a monthly allowance of Rs.5000.[3]


Kusalakumari died of old age (83) on 7 March 2019 in Chennai.[1]


Film name Language Year Role
Mahamaya Tamil 1944 Child Bala
Credited as Baby Kusalambal
Krishna Bakthi Tamil 1949 Child dancer
Avvaiyar Tamil 1953 Child Awvaiyar
Koondukili Tamil 1954 Sokki
Konjum Salangai Tamil 1962 Kamavalli
Kalvanin Kadhali Tamil 1955 Abirami
Needhipathi Tamil 1955
Raju Peda Telugu 1954 Dancer
Sita Malayalam 1960 Sita
Mariakutty Malayalam 1958 Betty
Pona Machaan Thirumbi Vandhan Tamil 1954 Chandra
Mahishasura Mardini Kannada 1959
Mahathma Kabir Kannada 1962
Manmadha Leelai Tamil 1976 Rekha's mother
Bhatti Vikramarka Telugu/Tamil 1960 Dancer
Raja Desingu Tamil 1960 Dancer
Kaveriyin Kanavan Tamil 1959 Dancer
Marumagal Tamil 1953 Dancer
Jayasimha Telugu/Tamil 1955 Dancer
Ratha Kanneer Tamil 1954 Dancer
Harichandra Tamil 1968 Dancer
Mangalya Bhagyam Tamil 1958


  1. ^ a b Kusari, Kareena (8 March 2019). "Koondukili's Tamil Actress Kusalakumari Departs This Life On Wednesday At Age Of 83". Starbiz. Archived from the original on 13 December 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  2. ^ R. C. Jayanthan (11 March 2016). "மறக்கப்பட்ட நடிகர்கள் 3: தென்னகம் கொண்டாடிய திறமை! - குசலகுமாரி" (in Tamil). tamil.thehindu.com. Archived from the original on 4 April 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  3. ^ "பழம்பெரும் நடிகை குசலகுமாரிக்கு ஜெ. நிதியுதவி" (in Tamil). oneindia.com. 14 October 2015. Archived from the original on 4 April 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2019.