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In 1891 Sagunvilas Sabha began non-professional drama activity in Chennai.

In Tanjore Govindswami Rao wrote and staged his plays, while Kashivishvanath Mudaliyar wrote a play "DAMBAKARI VILASAM". The credit of initiating the Tamil Theater activity goes to these two playwrights.

Sambandh Mudaliyar developed the Tamil theater further by translating-transforming plays of other languages. His plays included those by Shakespeare, Moliere, Gorky, Goethe and others. He wrote as many as 40 plays with various themes. He is considered the most outstanding playwright of the Tamil theater. Other known playwrights were Kandaswami Mudaliyar and Shivsanmukh Pillay.

Shankardas Swamigal (1867-1922) is rightly considered to be the father of the modern Tamil theater. He started a drama theater under the name "SAMRAS SANMARG NATAK SABHA". Among his nearly 40 plays noteworthy are "PRAHLADAN", "SIRUTHIHONDAR", "SATYAVAN SAVITRI" and "SIMANTHANE". These dramas newly interpret mythological and historical characters.

Just as Mumbai (Bombay) has its unique Prithvi Theater, so has Tamil theater movement its "SEVASABHA". In the repertoire of this professional theater, Bharthiyar's "KOYIL" and "PANCHALI SHABDAM" merit special mention.

Manohar's "CHANAKYASHABDAM" is a noteworthy play. T. K. S. Brothers and other professional theaters presented melodramas on the Tamil stage. The famous dramatist Cho's over a dozen plays are political satires and have proved highly popular.

Muthuswami Kavirayar and Veerswami Mathithiyar have writeen many plays. Purnam Viswanath written comedy "SASNIL" became a big hit with the audiences. "AMMAN THALE" penned by M. S. Perumal charmingly portrays the typical rural life of Tamilnadu.

The new generation modern dramatist Karaikuddi Narayan's Annesen Theater has been staging "ACHCHHANI" which merits a special mention. "HARE HARE KRISHNA" and "FLIGHT-172" are other popular dramas. Among other playwrights and their plays we must take note of Sundaram's "VIETNAM WIDU" and "RAJAPPO",
T. Janakiraman's "VADI VERU VATHI YAR", Bilahari's "GOPURAM" and Indira Parthasarthy's "PORVAI UDAIGAL".

Even while competiting with ever popular Tamil Cinema, the Tamil Theater has made remarkable progress and today it is vibrant, lively and forward looking.

A Note

The information presented here in respect of the Tamil Theatre has been gathered from available sources. It has been like an attempt to gather pearls from the ocean. It is possible that some happenings, names of some dramas and dramatists and drama artists may have been left out. For our lack of knowledge we seek your forgiveness and at the same time request the experts in this field to draw our attention to any errors or mistakes by writing to us the correct details. We assure you such corrections will be promptly carried out.

Further the names of dramas, playwrights and drama artists who are listed here are not in any order of priority of their qualities or achievements but only with a view to present the information as it has been gathered.

Lastly we once again request you to send in your suggestions, information etc. in respect of Tamil dramas and thereby enrich this humble record of the Tamil Theatre.


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