Kothamangalam Subbu was born in the year 1910 in the village Kannaariyendal near Karaikudi, to Mahalinga Iyer and Gangammal. His actual name was SM Subramaniam. He studied upto the eighth form in Karaikudi, after which commercial compulsions forced him to take up clerical jobs, before he made the plunge in theatre and writing.

Subbu’s interests varied from photography to examining gemstones. A person with a friendly disposition, Subbu was close to several persons of eminence including TV Sundaram Iyengar (founder of TVS Group), PS Kumaraswamy Raja (former chief minister of TN), R Venkatraman and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan (former Presidents of India).

Kothamangalam Subbu was a secular person, and yet, a devout Hindu with immense devotion to Lord Muruga. He had earned the affection of a person no less than Kanchi Paramacharya. A Gandhian by creed and deed, Subbu was always clad in Khadi.

Kothamangalam Subbu was married to Alamelu, Meenakshi, and his costar from Gemini Studios, Sundaribai. He had eight daughters and six sons. After more than four decades of involvement in film and literature worlds, Subbu succumbed to health problems and breathed his last on February 15, 1974, when he was 63 years old.