K B Sundarambal was an Indian stage artist, singer, and actor. She was born as Kodumudi Balambal Sundarambal, on October 11, 1908, in Kodumudi at the Erode district located in Tamil Nadu. She has been bestowed upon the title of the Queen of Indian Stage, and she also gave stunning performances in Tamil Movies. K B Sundarambal spent her childhood trying to earn money through the tips she received for singing in trains. On one such performance, she caught the eye of a talent scout, FG Natesa Iyer, but some people also speculate that it was a police official by the name of Krishnaswamy Iyer who found out her hidden talents.
Despite that, what is definitely known is that by the age of nineteen, K B Sundarambal had become a sensation and a rising star in 1927. Her debut was in a traveling theater troupe that performed Tamil dramas. She made use of this opportunity to sharpen her skills and even started performing in between the acts and entertained everyone with her performance. One of her noted plays still stands to be Valli Thirumanam where she starred opposite ‘S G Kittappa’ and left the audience mesmerized by her stunning performance. She slowly found herself falling in love with SG Kittappa, and they finally got married in the year 1927.
It enhanced their performances and made them even more famous. In 1993, due to excessive stress and workload, SG Kittappa fainted on the stage while performing. Everyone tried to revive him, but he soon passed away. He was only 27 years old. The death of SG Kittappa completely devastated SB Sundarambal, and she decided to quit theater and to perform on stage. Despite her firm resolve, she could not manage to stay away from art, and she started to pursue a career as a performing artist in concerts. She later became a political activist before India attained her independence and she participated in a large number of movements dedicated to India’s freedom.
As a matter of fact, while Kittappa was still alive, the husband and wife were absolutely influenced by the rise of the Indian National Congress and its fight for Indian independence. They became proper supporters and used their talents to spread awareness about the organization. Even after Kittappa’s death, Sundarambal continued to express her unwavering support towards the cause, even to the extent of recording songs that extolled the struggle and sacrifices made by those fighting for India’s Independence. Her backing for the foundation was so strong that she shed all lavish clothes to start wearing plain Khadi.
She had the honor of being the first Indian film artist who later became a part of the legislature when she had been honored by being entered in the Legislative Council meant for the state of Madras, in 1951. She represented Congress. For all her contributions to art, theater, and movies, she had been successfully awarded the glorious Padma Shri in the year 1970. She had also been presented with the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer, which was sponsored by the Government of India. She died on October 15, 1980, at the age of 72.