Kali N. Rathnam

Narayana Padaiyatchi Rathnam (c. 1897 – August 1950), popularly known as "Kali" N. Rathnam, was a Tamil stage and film artist known for his roles as a comedian in Tamil movies of the 1930s and 1940s. Renowned Tamil actor and politician M. G. Ramachandran was a protege of Rathnam.[1]

Narayana Padaiyatchi Rathnam
Kali N. Rathnam Sabapathy.jpg
Rathnam in the movie Sabapathy (1941)

c. 1897
DiedAugust 1950 (age 52 or 53)
Kumbakonam, India
Occupationstage and film actor, singer
Years active1923–1950
Spouse(s)Kunjammal, Pichaiammal
ChildrenMeenalochani Rajaram, Lokanayaki, Shanmuga Sundaram

Early lifeEdit

Rathnam was born at Malaiyappanallur near Kumbakonam in Tanjore District in the year 1897 to Narayana Padayatchi and Thangathammal. His parents were agriculturists and Rathanm was acquainted with rural songs and folk arts from a very early age. As a young boy, Rathnam learned to act from a stage actor named Parameswaran Iyer.[2] Seeing Rathnam perform the role of Kali in a stage play, Iyer christened him "Kali" N. Rathnam.[2]


Rathnam joined the Madurai Original Boys Company in 1923 and acted in Pathi Bhakthi (1936), the first movie produced by the Company. Rathnam's second movie was Mannarswami (1936). But Rathnam's first hit was Chandrakantha (1936). Following the success, Rathnam acted in hit movies such as Uthama Puthiran, Sathi Murali (1940), Sabapathy (1941), Manonmani (1943), Burma Rani (1945), Chow Chow (1945) , Paranjothi (1945), Sri Murugan (1946), Arthanari (1946), Aaravalli (1946), Sahada Yogam (1946), Udayanan Vasavadatta (1947), Kannika (1947), Sulochana (1947), Sri Aandal (1948), Adhithan Kanavu (1948), Devdasi (1948), Pizhaikum Vali (1948), and Bhojan (1948).[3][4]

Personal lifeEdit

While in a drama tour of Coimbatore, Rathnam was impressed by the histrionic skills of C. T. Rajakantham, daughter of the owner of the house in which they stayed and inducted her into his troupe. The two became a successful[weasel words] comedy pair and acted together in a number of movies. Subsequently, Rathnam and Rajakantham got married.

Prior to this, Rathnam had married twice. The first wife's name was Kunjammal who died at a young age. Rathnam and Kunjammal had two daughters Meenalochani and Lokanayaki(late). Then he married his second wife Pichaimmal(late). Rathnam and Pichaimmal had a son Shanmuga Sundaram(Retd PWD Superindent Engineer). Rathnam died when his son was nine months old. Shanmuga Sundaram married Chandra, daughter of his sister Meenalochani RajaRam. Now(2020) Meenalochani RajaRam, Shanmuga Sundaram and Chandra are living in Kumbakonam.


Rathnam died in August 1950 at the age of 52 or 53. His last completed film role was in the Ellis R. Dungan-directed Ponmudi.[citation needed]


This is a partial filmography. You can expand it.

Year Film Language Role
1936 Pathi Bhakti Tamil Detective (First film role)
1936 Mannarswami Tamil
1936 Chandrakantha Tamil Thirukallur Bandaara Sannidhigal
1937 Raja Mohan Tamil
1938 Punjab Kesari Tamil
1938 Meenakshi Kalyanam Tamil
1939 Mathru Bhoomi
1940 Uthama Puthiran
1940 Sathi Murali Tamil
1941 Sabapathy Tamil Sabapathy
1941 Surya Puthri
1942 Manonmani Tamil
1942 Sivalinga Satchi
1943 Dewan Bahadur
1945 Burma Rani Tamil Kunjitham
1945 Chow Chow
1945 Paranjothi
1946 Sri Murugan Tamil
1946 Arthanari
1946 Aaravalli
1946 Sahada Yogam
1946 Valmiki Tamil
1947 Kannika
1947 Udayanan Vasavadatta
1947 Sulochana
1947 Aayiram Thalai Vaangi Apoorva Chinthamani Tamil Kali
1948 Sri Aandal
1948 Adhithan Kanavu
1948 Devadasi
1948 Pizhaikum Vali
1948 Bhojan
1950 Ezhai Padum Padu
1950 Ponmudi Tamil Last film


  1. ^ "Kali N Rathnam". Antru Kanda Mugam. 3 August 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b Guy, Randor (5 February 2015). "The Rathnam brand of comedy". The Hindu.
  3. ^ "Kollywood Comedian Kali N Rathnam Biography, News, Photos, Videos". nettv4u. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Kali N. Rathnam". Spicyonion.com. Retrieved 19 March 2020.

External linksEdit