(Last Updated on : 03/04/2012)
Chilakamarthi Lakshminarasimham was a Telugu language
author with a nationalist and reformist ideology. He was an ardent follower of Kandukuri Veeresalingam. Born in 1867, he published eleven plays, ten novels and four short-story collections. He also wrote eight brief biographies of eminent spiritual persons, an autobiography, and scores of short farcical pieces reflecting contemporary social evils. In all these writings, his goal was to use literature as a tool for social awareness, which should lead to a righteous life. While Chilakamarthi's other works reveal a societal orientation, his plays, written for the Hindu Nataka Samajam of Rajahmundry, are surprisingly mythological. This also followed contemporary Telugu theatre
practice. Founded by actor-director Immaneni Hanumantha Rao Naidu, the Samajam had Chilakamarthi as its president during 1901-7. Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu acted female roles in their productions. In later days he became the first Chief Minister
of Andhra Pradesh
Chilakamarthi's first drama, Kichakavadha i.e. "Killing of Kichaka" in 1889 proved such a success that he wrote others for them. Draupadi parinayam i.e. "Draupadi's Wedding" in 1889, Gayopakhyanamu i.e. "The Gaya Episode" in 1889, Srirama jananamu i.e. "Sri Rama's Birth" in 1889, Parijatapaharanamu i.e. "Stealing the parijata Tree" in 1890, Nala natakam i.e. "Nala's Play" in 1890, Sita kalyanamu i.e. "Ska's Nuptials" in 1890, Prasannayadavamu i.e. "Pleased Yadava" in 1905-6, Prahlada charitramu i.e. "Prahlada's Story" in 1927, and Chatura Chandrahasamn i.e. 'Wise Chandrahasa' in 1927 are some of them.
Besides all these, he translated Bhasa
during 1915-33. His comedies are of two kinds. The full-fledged ones he called Prahasanamulu or farces and shorter humorous sketches were titled as Vinodamulu i.e. "Amusements" in 1933. Chilakamarthi composed his early drama in prose, but inserted suitable poems when publishing them. The musical Gayopaklryanamu became very popular, selling a lakh of copies by 1933. This was a record for any Telugu book. This is because of the fact that it contained mellifluous poems. Every theatre association performing padya natakam or verse drama staged it. Chilakamarthi Lakshminarasimham died in 1946.