Playwright, comedian par excellence

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ANUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN
Published Dec 8, 2016, 6:04 am IST
Updated Dec 8, 2016, 6:07 am IST
Born as Srinivasa Iyer Ramaswamy, he entered the Tamil film with the nickname Cho and became a popular comedian.
Cho Ramaswamy
 Cho Ramaswamy

Chennai: It’s been a tragic week for Tamil Nadu. After Chief Minister J. Jayalaithaa’s departure, veteran journalist, ace actor, former Rajya Sabha Member, political commentator and satirist Cho Ramaswamy passed away Wednesday morning.

Close sources say he was informed about the critical condition of Jayalalithaa.  Cho seemed disturbed and was constantly uttering that nothing should happen to Jaya, sources said.  

 

Born as Srinivasa Iyer Ramaswamy, he entered the Tamil film with the nickname Cho and became a popular comedian, which earned him that moniker and went on to be called as Cho Ramaswamy. His political magazine Thughlak was known for his fearless writing on the ruling government. Apart from his political magazine, the multi-faceted personality was a well-known actor, scriptwriter, a theatre personality, filmmaker, dialogue writer and a lawyer.

Cho made his debut in 1963 with Paar Magale Paar as comedian. From 1963 to 2005 he was part of many Tamil films. He also wrote and acted in 27 television serials. He wrote 10 books. He was both the screenplay and storywriter of films like Thenmazhai, Ninaivil Nindraval, Bommalattam, Aayiram Poi, Panam Paththum Seyyum, all of them were hits at BO.

He had shared screen space with legends like MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, Jayalalithaa, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan and many others. Cho and Jayalalithaa have worked together in 19 films and also had been part of the same drama ensemble. In fact, MGR himself had consulted Cho about Jayalalithaa’s political career.

Cho’s memorable films include Oli Villaku, Kanavan, Kumarikottam, Mattukara Velan, Aadimai Penn, Engal Thangam, Muhammad Bin Tughlak among others.
As an actor, Cho worked with many comedy legends of Tamil cinema including T.S. Balaiah, M.R. Radha, V.K. Ramaswamy, Nagesh and Manorama. He satirical comedy and timing was his hallmark. With Aachi Manorama alone Cho has acted in 20 films together.  Cho, who came from stage, also carved a niche for himself in stage dramas, which were not only satirical comedy but also carried social messages. His plays were admired by all in power as well as audiences lapped it up, since he never used abusive words or hurt anyone in his writings.  

His noted plays include Wait and See, Why Not, Muhammad Bin Tughlaq, Yaarukkum Vetkamillai, Saathiram Sonnadhillai, Unmayae Unn Villai Ennae?, Saraswathiyin Selvan, Unmai Urangum Neram and Sambavami Yugae Yugae.

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