Chennai: Cho S Ramaswamy, a fearless commentator, was a multi-faceted personality who left his imprint in the fields of journalism, theatre, cinema and not the least politics and became a name to reckon with in Tamil Nadu with satire and quick repartee being his forte.
The legendary Cho, as he was widely known, was unflinching in his stand on issues and spared no politician from criticism and never minced words while making a point.
Cho moved with political stalwarts with absolute ease but still would never shy away from making a point against them, whenever warranted.
However, he was a master in drawing the line, keeping politics and other differences out of personal life, making him a much respected and even endearing personality among political leaders, ranging from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Tamil Nadu stalwarts like M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa.
Cho played a leading role in bringing DMK and the fledgling Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) to end the "corrupt" rule of Jayalalithaa in 1996. Superstar Rajnikaanth had also played a role in the stitching of an alliance between DMK and TMC which routed AIADMK in the polls.
However, years later, Cho became one of the most bitter critics of DMK and strongly backed Jayalalithaa during the 2011 elections. DMK was routed in the polls then. The late Chief Minister looked up to him as an advisor and guide till recently.
Incidentally, Cho was admitted to the same hospital where Jayalalithaa died on Monday.
A lawyer by profession, Cho was a popular name in theatre, cinema and journalism.
He always had an anti-Congress streak in him and during the Emergency, he had resisted the establishment and was also averse to dynasty politics. But his critics found in him sympathy for the saffron forces.
In his ultimate onscreen satire, as it is considered till date, Cho wrote and acted in the titular role of the film 'Mohammed Bin Thuglaq' (1971), an unabashed take on the prevailing political situation of those times especially the style of politics practiced by the late Indira Gandhi.
Cho's sharp dialogue and critical portrayal of issues left a mark in Tamil cinema. He was featured more in comedy roles, but occasionally played serious characters too.
He had acted in a number of films, including those of matinee idols M G Ramachandran and Sivaji Ganesan, besides Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan.
In his film roles, the actor would seldom let go of an opportunity for a humorous take on politics, using a particular scene to his advantage. His well-timed jokes and witty takes on politics often left the audience in splits....