P C Ramakrishnan, A versatile theatre actor and a communication professional, was a member of the English theatre group ‘The Madras Players’, which is the Oldest in India , where he has played a myriad of characters — some funny, some thematic.
“It is really wonderful , says the well-known voice-over artiste and celebrated English news reader in All India Radio And Doordarshan. He also also been instrumental in shifting the focus of English theatre to Indian writing in english - whether translation or adaptation.
A graduate from Loyola College, P C Ramakrishnan is a mridangam player, a product of Indian Institute Of Management, Ahmedabad, and a veteran theatre artiste who is acknowledged as one of the country’s most-recorded English voices, having lent his voice in more than 50,000 films and scripts.
“My early interests include learning to play the mridangam. I was trained under Palghat Mani Iyer and I could have been a renowned mridangam player after having played for 18 years, but I joined the Indian Institute Of Management ,Ahmedabad for my Masters In Management and subsequently became a corporate honcho. Truly, I was restless in search of a niche for me and gave up the corporate world in 1993 to settle down to a life of doing what I loved - voice over and theatre,” says the multi-talented Ramakrishnan.
But Is It A Pragmatic Decision?
“You know,” he says, “The constant switching of roles from the corporate world to a consummate actor was something I lived with , until I took a voluntary retirement to focus completely on theatre. There is no money we can earn in theatre, but I am passionate about it,” he candidly agrees .
What Helped Him To Take This Decision ?
His inimitable baritone voice and success in voice overs helped him a great deal. “Would you believe that my voice that landed Chandrayan, on the lunar orbit”, he laughs, while talking about his work with the Indian Space Research Organisation.
“I hesitate to say too much, but, when I was introduced to The Readers’ Association for The Blind In Chennai, which was spearheaded by a dedicated couple Annam Narayanan and her husband, I volunteered to offer my reading services to them for almost 20 years. Thereafter, I became a reader for visually-challenged students.
Rewarding Period In Life
“My association with visually-challenged students was a rewarding experience in my life, in which I myself had learnt a lot .What I cherished most is my association with the violonist Lalgudi sir, in his 24-City U S A tour in 1994. In his great operatic ballet Jaya Jaya Devi, I had donned the role of Nandi, ‘Sutradar’. I also cherish the recent invitation by the Cleveland Aradhana Committee and Indian Fine Arts to present the Carnatic play — My Fair Thodi in San Diego and Cleveland,” he adds. This long-standing actor and administrator with The Madras Players ,the oldest English theatre group, Along with the music legend Late M B Srinivas as director and conductor, sang in more than 10 languages.
With a touch of nostalgia, he concludes that M B Srinivas who passed away in the late 80s left a treasure house of choral compositions that are rich in complex harmonics and melodic excellence. “We are continuing his legacy by bringing out these compositions and singing them in public,” said P C Ramakrishnan.