Kumbakonam Balamani

Kumbakonam Balamani Ammal was hailed on the Tamil stage of the early twentieth century as the queen of theatre. The first woman to run a company entirely of women, Balamani was born into a Devadasi family. She and her sister Rajambal ran  a theatre company she launched as an asylum for women who needed shelter and security. She became the most popular actress in the Kumbakonam region of Tanjavur district. The story goes that Balamani Special trains from Tiruchchirappalli and Mayavaram in Tanjavur district would stop at Kumbakonam during performance timings, to meet the demands of her fans. The company was the first to dramatise a Tamil novel--JR Rangaraju`s detective bestseller, Rajambal. Balamani Ammal`s death was tragic, with no money left even for her final rites.