(Last Updated on : 02-08-2014)
Nawab T. S. Rajamanikkam was the head of Tamil companies that had the greatest reputation for its discipline. He was born in Thanjavur
in 1906. Rajamanikkam took part in boys' companies from the age of 8. From 1924, he started operating on his own. In Madurai, he joined Bala Mina Ranjani Sangita Sabha and soon became its leader. He played the Nawab in Bhakta Ramdas or "Devotee Ramdas" in 1927 at Chennai
, and his total identification with the role won him that name.
In 1933 he became managing director of his own troupe the Devi Bala Vinoda Sangita Sabha in Madurai
. It had other great hits like Sampurtia Ramayariam i.e. "Complete Ramayana", Yesunatar i.e. "Lord Jesus", which notched up 1300 performances, Iyappan, and Inbasakaran i.e. "Ocean of Joy" in its repertoire. The members had to follow strict codes of conduct. At a time when the elite considered Tamil theatre synonymous with obscenity and vulgarity, this company proved that the art was not necessarily 'bad' or bohemian. Rajamanikkam trained hundreds of pupils including some who became very famous actors on stage and screen.
T. S. Rajamanikkam's company was popular for its magical spectacle. It used scientific principles in constructing stunning episodes like those of Lord Krishna
's birth, rainfall, or the snake guarding the child Krishna. Christ's resurrection was one of its most famous scenes. It was the first professional troupe to stage Tamil plays with social themes. Kovai Ayyamuttu wrote Inbasakaran for Rajamanikkam. Sambandha Mudaliar refers to the company with utmost regard. In 1934, Mahatma Gandhi blessed them on watching their Nandanar in Coimbatore. T. S. Rajamanikkam died in 1974.
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