Chennai: “Drama in India is as old as the hills. Buddhist literature provides the earliest evidence for the existence of Indian theatre,” said Governor Banwarilal Purohit during the golden jubilee celebrations of Annual Tamil Drama Awards – Best of 2018 organised by the Mylapore Academy at Narada Gana Sabha in Alwarpet yesterday.
Purohit participated as the chief guest and distributed awards to the drama artists.
Addressing the gathering, he said, “Kalidasa in the 4 and 5 century was one of ancient India’s greatest Sanskrit dramatists. Other later famous Sanskrit dramatists include Bhasa, Asvaghosa and Bhavabuti. From times immemorial, drama formed one of the three components of Tamil expression.”
He added that there is evidence in ancient Tamil literature for specifications about the physical dimensions of the stage.
“It is important to recall that the two legendary actors of the film world M G Ramachandran and Sivaji Ganesan honed their acting skills initially for many years in drama companies,” said the Governor.
He also mentioned former Chief Minister who was a prolific writer and an actor. He acted in plays to propagate and highlight the principles of his party. His first drama was Chandrodayam. He formed a troupe in Kanchi along with his comrades C V Rajagopal, K Subramaniam and Ezhathu Adigal. His Nallathambi and Velaikkari went on to become film hits.
“I am mentioning all this to show how Tamil drama has a great literary and hoary tradition comparable to the best in the world. You, who have received the awards today, are the flag bearers of the great legacy,” he added.
The Governor also thanked Mylapore Academy who have been taking special efforts to invigorate Tamil drama by honouring the veteran artistes through their awards year after year. On this occasion, Justice and president of the academy S Jagadeesan, MLA R Natraj and other academy officials were present.