Annadurai Canjeevaram Natarajan was born in 1909. He was popularly known as the "Bernard Shaw of Tamil" who pioneered the drama of ideas. Annadurai Canjeevaram Natarajan revolutionized Tamil theatre and also served as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu from 1967- 9. Anna, as he was endearingly called, was born in Kanchipuram, his humble origin in a weaver's family greatly instrumental in shaping his social views in later days. Highly qualified in law and literature, he started writing articles in journals and newspapers. Annadurai Canjeevaram Natarajan also edited a trade union weekly. He also tried his hand at short stories. As a college student he was drawn towards 'Periyar' E. V. Ramaswamy Naicker's Self-Respect movement, assisting in the formation of the Dravida Kazhagam party in 1944. He was an active cadre of the Dravidian movement. Annadurai, Canjeevaram Natarajan used language with fiery zeal in his public speeches. Eventually, he argued for Tamil nationalism, attacking north India, the Hindi language, and the Indian National Congress party as hegemonistic.
Career in Theatre for Annadurai Canjeevaram Natarajan
In 1944 Annadurai Canjeevaram Natarajan's first play, the propagandist Chandrodayam i.e. "Moonrise" was staged at the party conference in Erode. The author performed the roles of three villains, and his protege M. Karunanidhi also acted. The soon-to-be-famous star Sivaji Ganesan earned his nickname after taking the lead in Annadurai's historical Sivaji kanda indu samrajyam i.e. "The Hindu Empire Founded by Shivaji" in 1946. Anna launched his Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party in 1949. Of about forty plays, prominent ones included the radical and almost atheistic Velaikkari i.e. "Maidservant", or iravu i.e. "One Night", and Niti devan mayakkam or "Dilemma of the God of Justice". Annadurai, Canjeevaram Natarajan also penned many one-act scripts. Although most political parties have used theatre and cinema for propaganda, Annadurai, Canjeevaram Natarajan's initiative made the Dravidian movement unequalled in its media strategies. Among his screenplays, Velaikkari and Nallatambi were the first and also the most successful. Both were the productions of 1949.
Linguistically, the drama by Annadurai Canjeevaram Natarajan introduced a new rhetoric in Tamil language that remains in vogue, though cliched today. Thematically, it gave voice to the emotions of social underdogs such as women, servants, and Dalits and also documented the concrete realities of contemporary society. It shattered feudal structures, mocked superstitions, resisted inequalities, and exposed women's plight. Typically, it showed poor protagonists suffering and finally rebelling against upper-class oppressors. The Tamil stage, hitherto treading the path of Puranic shaivism tales and imaginary royalty, came down to everyday life with Annadurai, Canjeevaram Natarajan's efforts. K. R. Ramasamy's group usually performed his plays.
Annadurai Canjeevaram Natarajan died in the year of 1969.