Chennai: There are many legends in Indian cinema, but T P Rajalakshmi tops them all. She is an iron lady who has played a major role in giving south Indian cinema a boost. Starting out as a drama artiste to support her family, she forayed into cinema when people had very little knowledge of it.
T P Rajalakshmi was cast as the heroine in the first Tamil talkie, Kalidas, which gave a big break to her career in the year 1931. After this, offers came flooding on, and most of the films in that decade had TPR as the female lead.
Right from a young age she developed a passion towards all art forms her knowledge in music was the talk of the town then. After coming on screen, Rajalakshmi went on to take up assignments in all departments behind the scenes as director, producer and writer.
She became an inspiration for most women who were not then able to come out of their homes to work. Rajalakshmi was the second woman director in India after Fathima Begum.
Her first film was Miss Kamala, which garnered rave reviews in the year 1936. She had wide knowledge of post-production work too as she used to edit her own films.
What’s more, Rajalakshmi holds another achievement to her name. She is the first woman to be featured in the first silent Tamil film. After donning all the roles in the industry, she began to play versatile characters, including that of mother to all the top heroes of the time.
Recently, the Tamil Nadu government celebrated her birth centenary, honouring her with the title of ‘Cinema Rani’. She was also honoured by various magazines for her contribution to cinema.
Many people did not know of her passing until days later as most of the media missed the news of her death.