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Cho Ramaswamy
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
In office
16 November 1999 (1999-11-16) – 15 November 2005 (2005-11-15)
Prime MinisterAtal Bihari Vajpayee
Founder & Author of Thuglak
In office
14 January 1970 (1970-01-14) – 7 December 2016 (2016-12-07)
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded bySwaminathan Gurumurthy
Personal details
Srinivasa Iyer Ramaswamy

(1934-10-05)5 October 1934[1]
Mylapore, Madras Presidency, British India
(present day Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India)
Died7 December 2016(2016-12-07) (aged 82)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Soundaramba Ramaswamy
(m. 1966)
RelativesRamya Krishnan (niece)
  • Actor
  • Political satirist
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Editor
  • Director
  • Screen writer
AwardsPadma Bhushan (2017)

Srinivasa Iyer Ramaswamy, better known as Cho Ramaswamy (5 October 1934 [1]  – 7 December 2016), was an Indian actor, comedian, character actor, editor, political satirist, playwright, film director and lawyer from Tamil Nadu. He was a popular comedian in the 1960s and 70s, and had acted with all the top stars in that period.[2]

Early life

Srinivasa Iyer Ramaswamy was fondly addressed and remembered as Cho. Born in a Brahmin family of lawyers[3]


The elder son of R. Srinivasa Iyer and Rajammal, Cho had a younger brother, who was also an actor. Cho died on 7 December 2016.[4] He has two children Sriram Ramaswamy and Sindhuja. He did his schooling from P. S. High School. His niece is actress Ramya Krishnan. The name 'Cho' was the name of the character he played in a Tamil play written by Bhageerathan titled Thenmozhiyaal.[5]

Film career

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Cho made his debut in 1963 with Paar Magale Paar as a comedian. From 1963 to 2005 he acted in 180 Tamil films and directed 5 films. He also wrote and directed 20 plays.[6]

He also wrote and acted in 27 Television serials. He wrote 10 books. Apart from being an actor, he was both the screenplay and story writer of films such as Thenmazhai, Ninaivil Nindraval, Bommalattam, Aayiram Poi and Panam Paththum Seyyum, all of which proved to be box office hits.[citation needed]

Cho played the role of a bike mechanic in the play Petralthan Pillaiya, written by Pattu of the United Amateur Artistes (UAA), which became a huge success. When the play was later adapted into a film by director A. Bhimsingh, Sivaji Ganesan persuaded Cho to play the same role in the film too, leading to Cho's entry into the film world.[citation needed] Cho and Jayalalithaa have worked together in 19 films and also had been part of the same drama troupe.

Frequent collaborations

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Cho as an actor has been pitted against other actors across generations. His comic timing against T. S. Balaiah in Manam Oru Kurangu, or with M. R. Radha, or many times with actors like V. K. Ramaswamy, Nagesh, Manorama and Sachu in many films brought out the best in him.

Cho and Manorama were paired together in 20 films, which included Malligaip poo, Annaiyum pithavum, Dharisanam, Anbait thedi, Ninaivil Nindraval, Nirai Kudam, Therottam, Aayiram Poi, Mohammed Bin Tughlaq, Bommalattam, Pugundha Veedu, Vilayaattu Pillai, Kanavan, Rojavin Raja and Velum Mayilum Thunai and were pitted in a non-couple role in Suryagandhi, Delhi Mappilai and Naadagame Ulagam.

Cho acted alongside Nagesh in Thenmazhai, Ninaivil Nindraval, Ulagam Ivvalavudhaan and Bommalattam among others. He was paired opposite Sachu in films like Deva Sankalpam, Galaataa Kalyanam and Delhi Mappilai.

Cho has acted with the MGR–Jayalalitha combo in films like Oli Villaku, Kanavan, Kumarikottam, Mattukara Velan, Aadimai Penn, Engal Thangam, Thedi Vantha Mapillai, En Annan and Neerum Nerupum. Cho has acted with MGR in many films like Petralthaan Pillaiya, Sangey Muzhangu, Rickshawkaaran and Thalaivan. Cho has acted with Jayalalitha in other films like Bommalaattam, Galaattaak kalyanam, Suryagandhi, Vandhaale Maharaasi and Anbai Thedi.

Cho has acted with Sivakumar in films like Shanmugapriya, Onne Onnu Kanne Kannu, Thaip Paasam, Uravu Solla Oruvan, Aan Pillai Singam, Yaarukkum Vetkamillai, Chinna Kuyil Padudhu, Sattai Illatha Pambaram and Kanna Thorakiran Samy. Among these, Yaarukkum Vetkamillai was directed by Cho in 1976.


He was the founder and editor of the Tamil magazine Thuglak.[7] Politicians such as J. B. Kripalani, Indira Gandhi, Karunanidhi, Chandra Shekhar, G. K. Moopanar, M. G. Ramachandran, Jayalalithaa, Ramakrishna Hegde, N. T. Rama Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and L. K. Advani, Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and P. Chidambaram were targets of his editorial attacks. In his last years, he predicted that Narendra Modi would "win laurels for India" in the future,[8] and also praised Jayalalithaa for her administration of Tamil Nadu.

Cho enjoyed challenging MG Ramachandran (MGR) and his politics, while Karunanidhi stayed his target. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), in his opinion, was populist and lacked ideology. When Jayalalithaa got into power and followed in MGR's path, however, the absence of ideology of the party was no longer an issue for him.[9]

On 25 January 2017, the Government of India announced a posthumous Padma Bhushan award for his contribution towards Literature & Education – Journalism.[10]


Cho has been described as a right-wing public intellectual in tributes.[11]

Cho was publicly opposed to Sri Lankan Tamil militants, particularly the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), at a time when Sri lanka's ethnic crisis was at its peak and almost all political parties in Tamil Nadu highlighted the issue of the Sri Lankan Tamils.[12]

The rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Hindutva wave made Cho their sympathiser. He started involving in direct politics as a mediator. In 1999, he was instrumental in bringing the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) together in an alliance with BJP.[13][14] He was successful in bringing G. K. Moopanar, of the Tamil Manila Congress and Karunanidhi together in the 1996 elections, and getting Rajnikanth to publicly support the alliance to defeat Jayalalithaa.[13][15]

Post 2004, he became soft towards Jayalalithaa and spent all his energy in opposing the DMK and promoting BJP.[13] Later on, in 2011, he convinced Vijayakanth to partner with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).[15] Cho was an ardent supporter of Narendra Modi.[16] Cho had campaigned extensively for Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 2014 Indian general election; Modi described Ramaswamy as "Rajguru", and called himself his "fan".[17]

He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the President of India, K. R. Narayanan. In the Rajya Sabha 12 MPs are nominated by the President of India from amongst persons who have special knowledge or practical experience in the fields of literature, science, art or social service. He served as a Rajya Sabha MP from November 1999 to November 2005.[18][19]

He remained the Sangh Parivar's political man in Chennai.[1]

Partial filmography

As actor

Year Film Role
1963 Paar Magaley Paar
1966 Marakka Mudiyumaa?
1967 Ninaivil Nindraval
Manam oru Kurangu
Penn Endraal Penn
Naan Yaar Theriyuma
1968 Galatta Kalyanam as Vittal
Neelagiri Express
Delhi Mapillai Chinna Thambi
Lakshmi Kalyanam
Kannan En Kadhalan
Oli Vilakku
1969 Nirai Kudam
Aayiram Poi
Ulagam Ivvalavuthaan
Adimai Penn
Aindhu Latcham
Kanni penn
Magizham Poo
Annaiyum Pithavum
1970 En Annan
Maattukara Velan
Engal Thangam
Thedi Vandha Mappillai
Nadu Iravil
Vilayattu Pillai
1971 Muhammad bin Tughluq
Neerum Neruppum
Oru Thaai Makkal
Kumari Kottam
Yanai Valartha Vanambadi Magan
1972 Thavapudhalavan
Something Something
Thaaikku Oru Pillai
Sange Muzhangu
Deiva Sankalpam
1973 Vandhale Magarasi
Pon Vanndu
Ganga Gowri
Manitharil Maanikkam
Kasi Yathirai
Veettukku Vandha Marumagal
Malligai Poo
School Master
Anbu Sagodharargal
1974 Thanga Pathakkam
Orey Saatchi
Anbai Thedi
Idhayam Parkkirathu (Guest role)
Devi Sri Karmariamman
Kalyanamam Kalyanam
Onne Onnu Kanne Kannu
Pillai Selvam
Thai Pasam
Puguntha Veedu
1975 Aan Pillai Singam
Sonthankal Vaazhga
Cinema Paithiyam (Guest role)
Unga Veettu Kalyaanam
Avandhan Manidhan
Thai Veettu Seethanam
Uravu Solla Oruvan
Yarukkum Vetkamillai
Pinchu Manam
Melnaattu Marumagal (Guest actor)
1976 Unmaye Un Vilai Enna
Mayor Meenakshi
Rojavin Raja
Avan Oru Sarithiram (Guest role)
Perum Pugazhum
1977 Thanikudithanam
Unnai Sutrum Ulagam (Guest actor)
1978 Sakka Podu Podu Raja
1979 Aarilirunthu Arubathu Varai
Nadagame Ulagam
Velum Mayilum Thunai
1981 Kadavulin Theerppu
1983 Adutha Varisu
1984 Naan Mahaan Alla
Saattai Illatha Pambaram
1985 Navgraha Nayagi
Puthiya Theerpu
1986 Kanna Thorakkanum Saami
1987 Chinna Kuyil Paaduthu
Kani Nilam
Paruva Ragam
1988 Guru Sishyan
1990 Adhisaya Piravi
1990 Ulagam Pirandhadhu Enakkaga
1998 Kadhala Kadhala


  1. Muhammad bin Tughluq
  2. Unmaiye Un Vilai Enna
  3. Mr. Sampath
  4. Yarukkum Vetkam Illai
  5. Sambo Siva Samboo


  1. Neelagiri Express
  2. Aayiram Poi
  3. Nirai Kudam
  4. Bommalattam
  5. Ninaivil Nindraval
  6. Manam Oru Kurangu
  7. Thenmazhai

Other works


Year Play Role Notes
Kalyani debut drama
Wait and See directed by KB
Why Not directed by KB
What For directed by KB
Muhammad bin Tughluq
Yaarukkum Vetkamillai
Saathiram Sonnadhillai
Nermai Urangum Neram
Iraivan Irandhuvittana?
Enru Thaniyum Inda Sudandira Thaagam?
Judgement Reserved
Quo Vadis
Unmayae Unn Villai Ennae?
Saraswathiyin Selvan
Unmai Urangum Neram
Madras by Night


  1. Hindu Maha Samudram Vol – I, II, III, IV, V, and VI (Latest)
  2. Mahabaratham Pesugirathu
  3. Valmiki Ramayanam
  4. Verukathagada Bramaniyam
  5. Nane Raja


  1. Engey Brahmanan?
  2. Verukatthakkatha Brahmaneeyam?
  3. Sambavami Yuge Yuge
  4. Vande Mataram
  5. Ivargalai Therindhu Kollungal
  6. Washington Il Nallathambi
  7. Sarakar Pugunda Veedu
  8. Koovam Nadikaraiyinile
  9. Adhigaprasangam
  10. Yaro Ivar Yaro?
  11. Saadhal Ellaiyel Kaadhal
  12. Mydear BrahmaDeva
  13. India Enge Pogiradhu?
  14. Kamarajarai Sandhitthen
  15. Puratchi Geethai
  16. Sattam Thalai Guniyattum
  17. Enge Pogirai?
  18. Embak Kana Onru Kandaen
  19. Saraswathiyin Selvan
  20. Manam Oru Kurangu
  21. En Koodathu?
  22. Eravil Chennai
  23. Uravugal Ellaiyadi Pappa
  24. Edarkaga?
  25. Thiraiyulagathai Thirumbi Parkiraen
  26. Unmayae Unn Villai Ennae?
  27. Janatha Nagar Colony


Following Sanjay Gandhi's death in an air crash, Cho released stamps in memory of Capt. Subhash Saxena, the pilot of the aircraft, who also died in the air crash. The postal departments failed to realise that these stamps were not official and mistakenly delivered mail that had them affixed.[20]

Illness and death

Cho was hospitalized in January 2015 and was in and out of hospital due to illness. He died of a cardiac arrest at 3:58 AM on 7 December 2016, aged 82, at Apollo Hospital in Chennai, where he was receiving treatment for respiratory problems. He was survived by his wife, Soundaramba Ramaswamy,[21] son Rajivakshan alias Sriram, and daughter Sindhu.[22][23][24][25]

His death happened a day after Jayalalithaa had died. Rajinikanth disclosed later that Jayalalithaa had always wished that Cho should live as long as she lived. He quoted: "As it turns out, he was alive till then and even few hours after that."[26]

K. Veeramani, leader of the Dravidar Kazhagam and a self-confessed atheist, in his tributes to Cho, said he was a unique journalist with independent views.[12]


  1. ^ a b c Geetha, V. (7 December 2016). "Cho Ramaswamy (1934-2016): Writer and editor who was a relentless critic of power and its misdeeds". Scroll.in. Retrieved 8 December 2021.
  2. ^ "Cho Ramaswamy". veethi.com. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Cho Ramaswamy: The man who defied many and yet defined many". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 8 December 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  4. ^ Geetha Venkataramanan (8 December 2016). "Actor Neelu on his 60-year old bond with Cho". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Jayalalithaa's friend, Modi's 'Rajguru': Who was Cho Ramaswamy?". India Today. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  6. ^ Karthika Raveendran (7 December 2016). "Rajinikanth, Sivakumar, Suriya, Karthi pay homage to late Journalist-actor Cho Ramaswamy". Bollywoodlife.com. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Thuglak". Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Narendra Modi will win laurels for India in the future – Shri Cho Ramaswamy". YouTube. 1 November 2013. Archived from the original on 14 December 2021.
  9. ^ "Cho Ramaswamy articulated the anxieties of conservative, middle-class Brahmins". The Economic Times.
  10. ^ "PadmaAwards-2017" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Cho Ramaswamy articulated the anxieties of conservative, middle-class Brahmins". The Economic Times.
  12. ^ a b "Cho Ramaswamy: Fearless critic who was a friend to all". 7 December 2016.
  13. ^ a b c "Cho Ramaswamy: Remembering the C(onservative) H(indutva) O(racle)". News18. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2021.
  14. ^ Veeraraghav, T. M. (30 November 2019). "Art of Political Alliance: How Men Like Cho Ramaswamy Mastered It". TheQuint. Retrieved 8 December 2021.
  15. ^ a b "Remembering Cho Ramaswamy, the Statesman-Satirist Who Knew No Fear". The Wire. Retrieved 8 December 2021.
  16. ^ "Cho Ramaswamy, a prolific writer who spared neither friend nor foe - An obituary". The News Minute. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2021.
  17. ^ December 7, India Today Web Desk. "Jayalalithaa's friend, Modi's 'Rajguru': Who was Cho Ramaswamy?". India Today. Archived from the original on 23 September 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ Biodata; accessed 28 January 2018.Archived 14 May 2003 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "He Introduced Me As 'Merchant of Death': PM Modi on Cho Ramaswamy". Ndtv.com. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  20. ^ "Cho's 'Thuglak' -- 50 Years of Poking Fun at Power, Donkey Style | Outlook Magazine".
  21. ^ Ramaswamy, Srinivasa Iyer. "Srinivasa Iyer Ramaswamy passes away, aged 82". The Times of India. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  22. ^ Obituary, thehindu.com; accessed 28 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Cho Ramaswamy watched Jayalalithaa's final journey before he breathed his last — Firstpost". firstpost.com. 7 December 2016.
  24. ^ "Cho Ramaswamy watched Jayalalithaa's final journey before he breathed his last". Firstpost.com. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  25. ^ Ramaswamy, Cho (7 December 2016). "Cho Ramaswamy passes away". The Hindu. The Hindu India. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  26. ^ Jesudasan, Dennis S. (14 January 2017). "Modi pays tributes to 'Cho' Ramaswamy". The Hindu.