M. G. R
The man belonged to this 3 letter was undisputed king of the 2 of the most entertaining world(Politics and Cinema) in Tamilnadu for little more than 3 decades. The success of him in both was more to do with the way he connected with the people through his movies which he later translated into votes.
Early 1950s, the Tamil film industry is undergoing into a change from song oriented story telling to dialogue oriented and someone has to take up the superstar mantle from Thyagaraja Bhagavathar. Some interesting talents are coming up from late ‘Sivaji’ Ganesan to M.G.Ramachandran. But M.G.Ramachandran won the hearts of the people with his people saviour image in the film MalaiKallan in the year 1954 and the new superstar was born who didn’t left his throne in film industry until he started his own party A.D.M.K after the difference in opinion with Present Tamil nadu CM Mr.M.Karunanidhi (DMK).
His position as superstar was well placed when his directorial debut ‘Nadodi Mannan’(literal meaning: Nomad King) was lapped up by masses when released on 1957. He made this popular statement before the release of this film.
If this film goes on to become a hit, I am the king, else, I am nomad.
And the rest is history. From what I have heard(yet to see it but have the DVD for a long time ) that film is technically superior comparing the year it is released. There is also a unique thing about that film. Half of the film was in black and white and the other half in Tamil. His other notable films are: Anbe vaa, Aayirathil oruvan, Vettaikaran, adimai pen, Engal veetu pilai and Ulagam sutrum vaaliban. Of these I consider the song played in ‘Engal Veetu Pillai’ as the pinnacle of heroism. The song goes as:
Naan Aanaiyital, athu nadandhuvittal, ingu yezhaigal vedhanai pada maatar. Uyirullvarai oru thunbam illai, avar kanneer kadalile vizha maatar which means ‘If I order and if that happens, the poor people don’t need to worry about anything.Until I live there is no problem and they won’t fell into the sea of tears’.
The song goes on like this only, with the enjoyable rhythm and the great screen presence of M.G.R made the song is instant hit then and an evergreen hit now. Enjoy this song:
For most part of his film career he played the character of the honest, straight forward, self-disciplined person and caring for the poor. And tried to show the same in the real life too. And the most prominent part of his films are the philosophical songs featuring him just like the introduction songs of these days. And his favorite among them is:
The song says about by knowing oneself what are all the things will follow. I have read that he always plays that song while driving.
He was really good in sword fights and its really great to watch his old period films as they have good action sequences.
His political career is as eventual as the film career with he associated with politics right from his start of the film career. He was a member of the congress at first, then joined DMK as he was attracted by the founder of the DMK, late Mr.C.N.Annadurai. His popularity among people helped DMK to gather huge number people for public meetings and he was one of the prominent reasons for the winning of DMK in 1967 and 1971. Of these 1967 win was a special for DMK as they dethroned the then congress government for the first time. MGR was shot by another actor M.R.Radha near his neck and his posters with the bandage in the neck was used by DMK to garner votes. He has become as MLA in 1967.
In 1972 another chapter in TN politics was opened with MGR founded his own party ADMK after the tussle with Mr.Karunanidhi and his subsequent removal from the DMK. Many followed him from DMK and the people too followed him. Its a great achievement that ADMK won the Tamil nadu assembly elections held in 1977 that is within 4 years of launching the party. He has become the CM of Tamilnadu and continued till his death in 1987 which is again an achievement as he won 3 assembly elections which is record in Tamil nadu. Every win is special as,
In 1977, its a new party under a new leader and it took on well established DMK.
In 1980, MGR’s government was dissolved by the pressure given by the opposition leader Mr.Karunanidhi as they had alliance with Congress(central governemnt). DMK and congress has won almost 100% seats in TN by the general election held in May 1980. The assembly election held few months later and everybody’s prediction is DMK coalition will win comfortably but MGR-led ADMK won very comfortably.
In 1984, MGR was not even went to any constituency and canvassed for votes as he was bed ridden and was in America for treatment but then again ADMK won comfortably which shows how the people loved and believed him and he become the CM for the third time.
He is the inspiration for many tamil film stars to enter into politics but the thing is, they are nowhere near this great man and his success in politics due to his involvement for a long time. But the present stars likes to enter politics today and become as a CM or PM tomorrow. Funny, really funny.
Tamil nadu has never seen a person like him before who lived and lives in the hearts of the people and still lives on. Still there are 1000s of voters are voting for ADMK just for the name of MGR. No one achieved something like that for sure. In one of his songs he featured(Kan pona pokile),
irundhalum, maraindhalum paer solla vendum
ivar pola yaar endru oor solla vendum
(Whether one lives or dies, the world should say his/her name and should say no one is like him).
Truly he lived by that/his words.
I don’t know about his administrative skills but I like him as a hero and I am a huge fan of his movies which is entertaining now also. And he lives on.
His birthday is on Jan 17th and this is a little tribute to him from me.