indian cinema heritage foundation

Raja Chandrasekhar

  • Real Name: Raja C Sekhar
  • Born: 1904 (Tiruchirapalli)
  • Died: 1971
  • Primary Cinema: Tamil
  • First film: Gnanasoundari (1935)

A noted director of early Tamil cinema, Raja Chandrasekhar specialised in costume dramas. Born in 1904 in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, he started his career as a textile engineer. Initially starting wrk in cinema in Bombay in 1926, he was an assistant to Fatma Begum. After working with General Pictures and East India Film Company he adapted the hit stage play Sadarame for his first film in 1935. Although some sources report that he co-directed Harishchandra (1932) with Sarvottam Badami, this cannot be confirmed beyond doubt. His early films were costume dramas inspired from their Bombay iterations which were themselves inspired from Douglas Fairbanks films. Some of these films were Gnanasoundari (1935), Chandramohana (1936), Raja Desingu (1936), and Bhakta Tulsidas (1937). He cast future superstar MGR in some of his early films like Dakshayagnam (1938), Maya Machhindra (1939), the M K Thyagaraja Vagavathar superhit Ashok Kumar (1941) which was an adaptation of the Veer Kunal story and had a famous musical score. It featured two future stars in supporting roles - MGR and Ranjan. Other films were Arundhati (1943) and Raja Mukthi (1948).