(Last Updated on : 30-03-2012)
Balamani Ammal was the citizen of early twentieth century. She hailed in Tamil theatre
as the "queen of theatre". She was the first woman to run a company, comprising only women. Balamani Ammal was born into a Devadasi
family. Balamani Ammal formed the theatre troupe of her own. She and her sister Rajambal ran it almost as an asylum for women who needed shelter and security. Balamani Ammal became the most popular actress in the Kumbakonam region of Thanjavur district. The story goes that "Balamani Special" trains from Tiruchchirappalli
and Mayavaram in Thanjavur district
would stop at Kumbakonam during performance timings, to meet the demands of her fans. The company was the first to dramatize a Tamil novel, J. R. Rangaraju's detective bestseller, Rajambal. Balamani was also the first to introduce Petromax pressure lamps in that area as against the oil lamps normally used. Balamani Ammal's death was tragic, with no money left even for her final rites. Theatre historians have yet to properly recognize contribution of Balamani Ammal to Tamil theatre.
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