Sandilyan Tamil author

Sandilyan (சாண்டில்யன் )

About the Author

Bhashyam Iyengar (06 November 1910 - 11 September 1987), better known by the pen name of Sandilyan, was an Indian writer known for his historical fiction novels in Tamil. He is known for his historical romance and adventure novels, often set in the times of the Chola and Pandya empires.

Sandilyan was born in Tirukoilur, Tamil Nadu on 10 November 1910 to Ramanujam Iyengar and Poongovilvalli. His family was from Thiruindalur village near Mayiladuthurai. He did his schooling in Chennai Pachaiyappa's School and Saidapet Model School. His college education came from Tiruchirappalli St. Joseph's College. While in college, he was influenced by the visit of C. Rajagopalachari and joined the Indian independence movement. He became a member of the Indian National Congress. He married Ranganayaki in 1929.

After finishing college he moved to T. Nagar in the 1930s. He became friends with his neighbours V.Swaminatha Sharma who was working in Thiru. Vi. Ka's weekly magazine Navasakthi and the noted Tamil writer Kalki Krishnamurthy. With their encouragement he wrote his first short story titled Shantha Seelan. Impressed with his work, Kalki published his short stories like Kannammavin Kadhal, Adhirshtam in Ananda Vikatan. Encouraged by this success Sandilyan started learning the Tamil language formally from a Tamil Pandit named Thirukannapuram Srinivachariar. He started writing Tamil short stories in the Tamil Weekly Sudesamithran and also worked as a reporter in Sudesamithran from 1935 to 1942. Later he became a sub-editor at the English daily newspaper Hindustan Times.

During his time at the Hindustan Times he became friends with B N Reddy of Vijaya Studios and Chittor V. Nagaiah. This bought him into the world of films. He co-wrote the screenplays of films like Swarga Seema (1945) and En Veedu (1953). He later wrote about his film world experiences in his book Cinema Valarndha Kadhai (1985). Later he also produced a documentary titled "Birth of a Newspaper".

After his stint at the Hindustan Times he returned to work at Sudesamithran and started writing full-length novels. One of his first works was a self-published political novel called Balathkaaram. He also started publishing in other magazines like Amudhasurabi. Paalaivanathu pushpam and Sandha deepam were his earliest historical novels. Sandilyan's most famous novels were serialised in Kumudam, a weekly Tamil magazine and was instrumental in increasing the circulation to a greater extent. He was one of the very few Tamil writers to get a monthly salary from Kumudam for his novels. After leaving Kumudam, he unsuccessfully ran a weekly magazine called Kamalam. His historical novels were published in book form by Vanadhi Padhippagam and became best sellers. As of 2009, many of them still remain in print, four decades after being first published. Kamil Zvelebil once called him as the "fourth most popular Tamil Writer".

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