The definitive guide to South Asian lingo

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Definition

Rajapart is a piece of Tamil theatre jargon from the 1930s, referring to the lead role in a play. The word mixes Tamil and English: rajapart is the 'king's part', the hero's role in costume dramas staged by the travelling theatre troupes of the time. I found the term in the autobiography of Sivaji Ganesan, the legendary Tamil actor who started out in one such 'boys' company' during this period, and also appeared in a film titled Rajapart Rangadurai later in his career.

Usage

In the theatre jargon of those days, I wanted to play Rajapart which was the role of a King. I appealed to my teacher demonstrating to him my prowess at playing this role. Gradually the number of female roles that came to me lessened and I was given male roles, and finally, I reached the status of a Rajapart actor. I was considered one of the most important actors in the troupe. (Sivaji Ganesan, Autobiography of an Actor, ed. by T. S. Narayana Swamy. Translated English edition, Chennai 2007)
Added 2011-07-25 by Logonathan
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