CHENNAI: Senior political satirist Srinivasa Iyer Ramaswamy, popularly known as Cho Ramaswamy, died in Chennai on Wednesday morning following a cardiac arrest. He was 82.Cho was a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha from 1999 to 2005.
Cho Ramaswamy was a close friend of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, who died on Monday night. Cho campaigned for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the latter called him his “raj guru.”
“Cho was insightful, frank, brilliant. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family and countless readers of Thuglak,” Modi tweeted.
Cho was admitted to Apollo Hospitals on November 29 for chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). He was moved to the intensive care unit when his condition worsened. “He was watching the news and Jayalalalithaa funeral procession until Tuesday afternoon. His condition deteriorated and he was put on a ventilator,” said a treating doctor. He died at 4am.
Doctors said his chronic lung condition had been worsening for more than a year now.
Cho is survived by his wife Soundara Ramaswamy, son Rajivakshan alias Sriram and daughter Sindhu.
His body has been taken to his house in MRC Nagar and the funeral has been scheduled for Wednesday.
Born on October 5, 1934 to senior lawyer-turned agriculturist Srinivasa Iyer and Rajambal, Cho grew up in Mylapore and studied law. During his college days, he was a member of an amateur theatre troupe, where he befriended young Jayalalithaa who used to accompany her mother Sandhya for rehearsals.
He had practised law in Madras high court for six years before joining TTK Group as its legal advisor for several years.
Cho scripted nearly 23 stage plays, including “Mohammed Bin Thuglaq,” where he resurrected Sultan Thuglaq from his grave to become the prime minister of India. He acted in 200 films, directed four and scripted another 14. He got the name “Cho” from a character he enlivened on the stage in a play called “Thenmozhiyal.” He scripted and directed TV serials and acted in them.
On Tuesday Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on long time friend and Editor-in-Chief of Tamil weekly news magazine ‘Thuglak’, Cho Ramaswamy, The meeting between Modi and Ramaswamy lasted about 10 minutes and during this brief interaction Modi enquired about Ramaswamy’s health.