Click here for all links


Kumbakonam, the temple town, was the centre of the Isai Velalar tradition. Music and dance teachers practised in this town. As the nationalist movement gained momentum, reformists began critiquing the devadasi system as demeaning and immoral. Moovalur Ramamirdham Ammaiyar and Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy, women leaders from the community, demanded legal measures to abolish the practice. It was Ramamirdham Ammaiyar who rechristened the community Isai Velalar, meaning "farmers of music", at a conference in 1925.
('Devadasi influence in Tamil cinema' by Theodore Baskaran, Frontline, Oct 11, 2019)

All the 61 films made in the first five years of the Tamil talkie were exact duplications of stage shows of plays of drama companies. Most of the female leads in these films were from the Isai Velalar tradition. Their daughters and granddaughters would also shine on the Tamil screen. Jothilakshmi and Jayamalini, who were active in films in the 1960s and 1970s, were the daughters of S.P.L. Dhanalakshmi, the star of the films Parvathi Kalyanam (1936) and Kalamegam (1941). Now Jothilakshmiís daughter is in films.
('Devadasi influence in Tamil cinema' by Theodore Baskaran, Frontline, Oct 11, 2019)



Click here for all links
Snippets | Home | About | Address Bank | News | Info Centre | Featured Columns | Interactive