P. R. Thilagam
OccupationDance drama performer
Known forKuravanji dance drama
AwardsPadma Shri
Sangeet Natak Akademi Award

P. R. Thilagam, popularly known as Thiruvarur Thilagam, is an Indian composer, vocalist and exponent of Kuravanji, a traditional form of dance drama popular in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.[1][2] She hails from Kondi parampara (Kondi heritage) of the Isai Vellalar community, a sect of women dedicated to the worship at Thyagaraja Temple, Tiruvarur.[3][4]

Thilagam was born in 1926 at Thiruvarur, a town in Tamil Nadu famous for the Thyagaraja Temple, as one of the last among the Kondi Devadasis, in a family of dancers.[5] Learning Kuravanji from her grandmother, Kamalambal, who was a notable performer of the dance drama,[6] she started public performances and has performed on many stages in India and abroad.[7] She is a recipient of the 1997 Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.[8][9] The Government of India awarded her the fourth highest civilian honour of the Padma Shri, in 2007, for her contributions to Arts.[10] Her performance has been video-documented by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA)[6] while her life story is the main feature of a journal, Madras Season: Its Genesis, published by Sruti, a magazine dedicated for performing arts.[11]

See also


  1. ^ Ananda Lal, ed. (2004). The Oxford Companion to Indian Theatre. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195644463.
  2. ^ Saṅgīt Mahābhāratī (2011). The Oxford Encyclopaedia of the Music of India. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195650983.
  3. ^ Davesh Soneji (2012). Unfinished Gestures: Devadasis, Memory, and Modernity in South India. University of Chicago Press. p. 313. ISBN 9780226768090.
  4. ^ "Before the music stopped". The Hindu. 13 December 2001. Retrieved 18 January 2016.[dead link]
  5. ^ "Padma Shri Awardees for Arts". Kutcheri Buzz. 28 January 2007. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Major IGNCA Documentation". Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. 2016. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Kalakshetra Annual Art Festival" (PDF). Ragashankara. 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Overview in Oxford Index". Oxford University Press. 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  9. ^ "SNA Awardees". Sangeet Natak Akademi. 2016. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  10. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  11. ^ "Madras Season: Its Genesis". Sruti. December 2005. Retrieved 18 January 2016.