(Last Updated on : 28-03-2012)
Cho Ramaswamy, also known as Srinivasa Iyer Ramaswamy, is a renowned Tamil playwright. He is also famous as a good actor, novelist, journalist, political commentator, and civil-liberties activist. He is popularly known by his pen name, Cho. Born in 1934, S. Ramaswamy was educated in Madras (now Chennai
). He took up the family profession of law and did not evince any special interest in theatre in his early years. But he was inspired by Y. G. Parthasarathy's plays and started assisting that group on sets and backstage. Once, when they did not receive a promised script for a show at Vivekananda College, he had to rise to the occasion and write his first drama. In 1956, he and his close friends founded the Viveka Fine Arts Club, which started staging his plays.
Life in Theatre for Cho Ramaswamy
With over 4500 performances to his credit, Cho wrote and directed everything. Viveka even had three shows a day. This was a rare phenomenon in Tamil theatre. However, Cho denied any commercial interest in theatre, saying, 'None of our group members performs for money.' Their unique feature was that from inception to disbanding, all the members remained part of the group. Since they had a policy not to admit others, no new person joined. Over the years they aged and found it difficult to act roles of younger people. Hence Viveka quit staging plays, though they reassembled in 2000 for revivals of a few productions.
Cho specialized in social and political satire, full of parody, farce, and mockery. Enru taniyum inta sutantira tagam i.e. 'When Will the Thirst of Freedom Be Quenched?' raised a lot of objections, which in turn became an advertisement for him. Typically, he made fun of the government, which delighted the opposition, but when the latter came to power, he targeted them with equal fairness. Among the twenty-odd works to his credit, the popular ones include Mohammed-bin-Tughlaq, Yarukkum vetkamillai i.e. "Nobody Has Any Shame", Vande mataram or "Hail Motherland", and Nermai urangum neram or "Times When Honesty Sleeps". Ironically, Cho himself underrates his plays and instead respects the commercial theatre, which in fact faded partly as a result of his dramatic efforts.
Three of Cho's plays have been cinematized. The newly elected DMK party sought to ban the film of Mohammad bin Tughlaq in 1971. This film he directed and acted in, because it depicted the eccentric fourteenth-century Sultan winning contemporary elections in Chennai. From 1970, Cho edited a weekly, Tughlaq, with a wide circulation among the middle class owing to its political humour. He does not owe allegiance to any ideology, and can be described as a conscientious objector whose fierce independence defends fundamental freedom of speech. In the 1990s, he became involved in producing tele serials.
Filmography by Cho Ramaswamy
Plays by Cho Ramaswamy
Muhammad bin Tughluq, Yaarukkum Vetkamillai, Saathiram Sonnadhillai, Nermai Urangum Neram, Iraivan Irandhuvittana?, Enru Thaniyum Inda Sudandira Thaagam?, Judgement Reserved, Quo Vadis, Unmayae Unn Villai Ennae?, Saraswathiyin Selvan, Unmai Urangum Neram, Madras by Night
Movies Acted in by Cho Ramaswamy
Guru sishyan, Adhisayappiravi, Aarilirundhu Aruvadhuvarai, Adutha vaarisu, Manithan, Kazhugu, Kaadhalaa Kaadhalaa, Then Mazhai, Nirai Kudam, Galaattaa Kalyaanam, Muhammad bin Tughluq, En Annan, Maattukaaravelan, Pommalaattam, Engal Thangam, Aayiram Poi, Neelagiri Express, Paar Magale Paar, Thanga Pathakkam, Mr.Sampath, Unmaye un vilai enna, Thanikudithanam, Vandhaale Maharaasi, Suryakaanthi, Gowravam, Ninaivil Nindraval, Then Kinnam, Anand, Moonrezuthu
Religious Works by Cho Ramaswamy
* Hindu Maha Samudram Vol - I, II, III, IV, V, and VI
* Mahabaratham Pesugirathu
* Valmiki Ramayanam
* Verukathagada Bramaniyam
* Nane Raja
Other Noteworthy Works by Cho Ramaswamy
Engey Brahmanan?, Verukatthakkatha Brahmaneeyam?, Sambavami Yuge Yuge, Vande Mataram, Ivargalai therindhu kollungal, Washington il Nallathambi, Sarakar Pugunda Veedu, Koovam nadikaraiyinile, Adhigaprasangam, yaro ivar yaro?, Saadhal Ellaiyel Kaadhal, Mydear BrahmaDeva, India Enge Pogiradhu?, Kamarajarai sandhitthen, Puratchi Geethai, Sattam Thalai Guniyattum, Enge Pogirai?, Embak kana Onru Kandaen, Saraswathi Sabatham, Manam Oru Kurangu, En koodathu?, Eravil Chennai, Uravugal Ellaiyadi Pappa, Edarkaga?, Thiraiyulagathai Thirumbi Parkiraen, Unmayae Unn Villai Ennae?, Brahmanan Oru Madayan, Janatha Nagar Colony