R. S. Manohar was a Tamil actor. He was born in Namakkal, Salem district in 1929. He graduated from Pachiappa`s College, Madras. Driven by his love for acting, he sought his fortune in Tamil theatre. In 1954, he established National Theatres and started staging shows fashioned after his concept of performance. His shows were spectacular extravaganza and showmanship in acting and production. His thematic selections relied on the overly dramatic.
This is extraordinary character from the epics and history who lent themselves to his kind of theatre, offering possibilities to show off valour, heroism, larger-than-life characterization, thrills, and sensation. The figures he chose such as Ravana, Surapadman, Malik Kafur were evil in popular perception, so that he could play up their other side.
The other sides were noble, sensitive, artistic, and with other qualities demanding admiration, like unbending courage or the will to fight to the last. His portrayal of them was intended to earn the audience`s sympathy. Manohar dominated his productions and took on the principal roles himself.
His favourite and successful vehicles were Ilankesvaran i.e. `Lord of Lanka`, Chanakya sapatam i.e. `Chanakya`s Vow`, Vengai marban i.e. `Tiger-chested`, and Kataka Mutarayan. Ilankesvaran in 1956 was an honorific for Ravana. It was the most famous. It had over 1000 performances in India and Sri Lanka.