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Raja Raja Cholan is a representative work by the recipient of the Cultural Medallion in 1984 (Theatre), Mr S Varathan, who is at the forefront of the development of the Tamil theatre in Singapore. The play depicts King Raja Raja Cholan who ruled the Chola Kingdom from 985 BC to 1014 BC. During his reign, art forms such as dance, music and sculpture flourished. He was also well known for building ‘Periya Kovil’, a renowned Indian temple. UNESCO has recorded it as one of the world’s greatest monuments. The Singapore Indian Artistes` Association staged this one act play as part of their 37th anniversary celebration under Varathan’s direction. Varathan’s choice to include this epic piece among the other items for the show clearly shows his versatility and strong desire to depict history on stage. In his effort to show reality of the settings for this drama, he installed a canvas backdrop with a photo print of the ancient Chola kingdom. He also used majestic period costumes and traditional Indian dance in the play. Through this play, Varathan attempts to connect present day audience with Indian tradition and culture, a very important aspect in all his presentations, where he shows the importance of understanding and appreciating Indian heritage.
All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2007.