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T.P. Rajalakshmi

Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

February 12, 2024 to February 12, 2025

T.P. Rajalakshmi was born in Thiruvaiyaru at Thanjavur District in the year 1911. She was the daughter of Punjabakesa Iyyer and Meenakshi. She was married at the age of 11, but was abandoned by her husband when she could not pay her dowry. Rajalakshmi’s father committed suicide. Then Rajalakshmi left her village along with her mother. In order to support her family, Rajalakshmi joined a drama troupe and acted in stage plays. She learnt dance and music from Sankaradas Swamigal, a popular dramatist. Rajalakshmi got a grip on life in 1931, when she acted as the heroine in the first Tamil talkie, ‘Kalidas’. She had the honour of being the first Tamil actress and also got the special name ‘Cinema Rani’. Through acting, she became rich and started her own film company named ‘Rajam Theatres’. She produced a film ‘Miss Kamala’. The story was written by her and she directed it. Thus, she became the first woman film director of South India. She was very popular in the film industry but she was interested in the Indian National Congress and Gandhian principles. Therefore, she produced a film ‘Indiya Thai’ regarding our independence. The British Indian censors objected to the title of the film, but TPR disregarded the protest and released the film daringly in the name of ‘Indhiya Thai’. Heavily mauled by the censors, this film fared badly at the box office but she did not mind the loss. Rather, she felt it was her contribution to the Freedom Movement. She passed away in 1964.

Source : Indian Culture Portal