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Thanjavur Ranganayaki Rajakumari

T. R. Rajakumari in Sivakavi (1943)
Born Thanjavur Ranganayaki Rajayee
c. 1922
Thanjavur, Madras Presidency, British India
Died September 20, 1999 (aged 77)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Years active 1941–1963
Spouse(s) none

Thanjavur Ranganayaki Rajayee (c. 1922 - d. September 20, 1999), popularly known by her screen name T. R. Rajakumari (Tamil: டி. ஆர். ராஜகுமாரி) was a Tamil film actress, Carnatic singer and dancer. She has been called the first "dream girl" of Tamil cinema.[1]


Early life

Rajayee was born in 1922 in a Telugu-speaking family of carnatic musicians. Both her mother and her grandmother wanted Rajayee to become a singer and trained her in Carnatic music.

Film career

In Katcha Devayani (1941)

Rajayee made her film debut as "T. R. Rajakumari" in the 1939 Tamil film Kumara Kulothungan which was an average grosser. Her second film Kacha Devayani (1941) was a hit and helped launch her career in movies. There is some confusion about in which film she actually made her debut as Kacha Devayani's director K. Subramaniam later insisted that he was the one who introduced her to films.[2][3] In 1944, Rajakumari starred in the record-breaking film Haridas alongside M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar and gained recognition for her glamourous portrayal.[4]

In her Tamil film career, Rajakumari acted as the female lead to many major film stars including Thyagaraja Bhagavathar, T. R. Mahalingam, K. R. Ramaswamy, P. U. Chinnappa, M. G. Ramachandran and Sivaji Ganesan. She also started a film production company (with her brother T. R. Ramanna) called "R. R. Pictures" and produced films like Vaazhapirandhavan (1953), Koondukkili (1954), Gul-E-Bagaavali (1955), Paasam (1962), Periya Idathu Penn (1963), Panam Padaithavan (1965) and Parakkum Paavai (1966). Her last film as an actress was Vaanampadi (1963).[5]

Later life and death

Rajakumari died on September 20, 1999 after a prolonged illness.[6]

Partial Filmography

Year Title[7] Role Notes
1939 Kumara Kulothungan
1941 Kacha Devayani
1941 Manthaaravathi
1942 Manonmani
1943 Sivakavi
1944 Haridas Haridas' mistress
1948 Chandralekha
1952 Amarakavi
1954 Manohara Vasanthasenai
1955 Rajakumari


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