She was born in 1936 on January 4 in a remote village called Chirravuru in Guntur district. She lost her father when she was just six months old. Her mother Subhadramma took both her daughters (Savitri and her elder sister Maruti) to live with her sister Durgamba and her husband Kommareddy Venkataramaiah Chowdhury who worked as a driver in Bejawada (Vijayawada). Despite poor finances, both the kids attended school. Savitri showed great flair for dance and so Venkataramaiah enrolled her in dance classes.
She was not even 11, and she was a part of the renowned theatre groups of the time doing dance dramas all across Andhra Pradesh before acting in plays. She was the crowd puller and had acted with all the popular theatre groups including NTR’s National Art theatre, Jaggaiah troupe and several others. She had shared stage with many actors like Jamuna who in later years met her in the film world. By that time, films were making inroads. Her uncle who took care of her finances ensured she took every step needed to get closer to acting in films, just like every other stage actor in those days.
When she was just 12 she was carted off to Madras to try her luck in films. Savitri did not mind it one bit and was hoping to catch a glimpse of her favourite actor Akkineni Nageswara Rao. By then, she had left her school behind and was busy acting on stage. A quick tour of the studios in Madras confirmed that she was too young to act as a heroine in films; this is despite her uncle trying to make her look older with the help of makeup. Any failure, whatsoever, made Savitri only more determined. “Feed her well!” was only what her uncle instructed her mother and aunt before getting back to theatre.
Savitri showed great flair for dance and so Venkataramaiah enrolled her in dance classes.