Sri MGR Year 100, 17th January, Tuesday
Today 17.1.2017 is the Centenary year of our beloved Leader Puratchi Thalaivar MGR. The world is celebrating his birthday in a grand manner. The Government of Tamil Nadu has announced 17th January as a holiday to commemorate our Thalaivar's centenary. We srimgr.com team thanks the Chief Minister O.Pannerselvam for his gesture and also writing letter to the Central Government to issue commemorative coin and special postal stamp on the birth centenary of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MGR.
As this a special day for us, we have published a post as a tribute to our MGR. His story, born 1917 in Kandy, Sri Lanka came to India at the age of 2, left school at the age of 7, joined a drama troupe for living, then entering Cinema in 1936, becoming Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in 1977 and leaving this earth in 1987, it is not an end, still his legacy is kept alive by his fans all over the world. Still his movies are re-released every week all over Tamil Nadu, still his movies are re worked for digital formats and released, still his movies are telecasted in every TV channels. And still his presence is felt in media such as Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp. MGR had attained demi God status when he was alive, revered and respected by people, today his fans have constructed a temple, worshipped not only by his fans but also common people from other religion. All these were achieved by MGR not only through his charismatic appeal, dialogue delivery and philosophical songs in movies but mainly because of his benevolent heart commanded him to do service to people through his humane nature and philanthropy. We will never see such a person in our time and we are very fortunate to have lived in his times. His legacy will continue for hundreds of years and some of us will be fortunate to witness our Thalaivar continuing legacy in future.
It is very difficult to write all the important events into ten paras, I have tried my best. Some of the events are given shortly as they have been dealt already extensively in our blog.
1917 to 1926 : Born as fifth in family of Gopala Menon, Sathyabama couple on 17th January 1917, Kandy, Sri Lanka (then it was known as Ceylon). Lost his father at the tender age of 2. The family moved to India and they find difficult to live as the relatives abandoned them. They moved to Kumbakonam, MGR joined school along with brother M.G.Chakrapani. Poverty gripped them, MGR left his education and went to act in Boys drama. Under the tutelage of Kali N.Ratnam for acting, MGR grasped and toned his talents in acting and martial arts.
The images above are, to the right MGR’s first movie Sathileelavathi and to the left his last movie Maduraiyai Meeta Sundarapandian
1927 to 1936 : MGR raises in his position in dramas, lead part were given to him. And also in this time his adolescence hindered his voice useless for the lead roles. It was a time when talking movies ruled the roost. MGR and his brother with help of M.K.Radha’s father entered the cinema world. MGR was cast as Inspector in his first movie "Sathi Leelavathi".
1937 to 1946 : We can assume from his biography that this period is the worst period in his life. MGR had very little chance to prove his mettle. At this time MGR was married to Thangamani, as it was war period and poverty, Thangamani left Madras and went to her parents. There she died after child birth and unfortunately the child was still born. MGR was very much affected by this blow. His mother Sathyabama and brother M.G.Chakrapani consoled him. Later he married to Sadanandavathi and to the end of 1946 MGR's future shined for the first time.
MGR in front of his Mother’s Temple and to the right MGR with his brother M.G.Chakrapani
1947 to 1956 : MGR's first movie as a hero was released in 1947 before India got Independence. His charismatic face beautiful physique helped him to grab action movies. MGR lost his mother in 1952. Slowly MGR movies started to turn super hits he was called by Tamil Cinema industry as Minimum Guarantee Ramachandran which later turned into Maximum Guarantee Ramachandran. MGR whose heart always wanted to help the poor understood the fact that to extend the reach he needed another platform, Politics. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam under the leadership of Peraringnar Anna was making news his ideologies attracted MGR. He joined the party in 1952. Later in his movies Dravidian ideology echoed in the movies by way of the MGR character, dialogues and songs.
Left image shows MGR's letter to his fans through Pesum Padam magazine while recuperating from his leg fracture
1957 to 1966 : MGR entered into an costly experiment for that he produced and directed his dream movie "Nadodi Mannan" which was a super hit in box office. After a huge success MGR while enacting a fight scene in a drama in Sirgazhi on 16.6.1959,his leg was fractured. It took 6 months to heal, then the talk was MGR cannot do action movies. He worked tirelessly and returned to cinema and started to give many more hits with shift from period movies to social oriented acrion movies. His character and his formulas in movies exalted him a position which others envy of. His character which are do gooder and chivalrous impacted the commons, his movies such as Padagotti, Ayirathil Oruvan exhibited the low life of people and how one leader can change their life. Through his movie and songs MGR always showed the positive energy which give strength and vitality required for downtrodden people.
1967 to 1976 : MGR's position and his need for Tamil Nadu was clearly known to the world by shooting incident that happened in 12.1.1967. His dharma saved him, MGR's photo with bandaged neck pulled the people in election towards DMK. Peraringnar Anna elected as the Chief Minister and MGR was given a post equivalent to Minister. In very short time his mentor died and a power vacuum formed, MGR supported Kalaignar Karunanidhi for the post, later MGR became the treasurer of DMK and Karunanidhi as the Leader and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. In 1971 MGR's block buster hit movie Rickshawkaran was released and this movie made him to get the Bharath award for the best actor in Indian movies. Difference of opinion mounted between MGR and Karunanidhi and over the corrupt rule of DMK. MGR asked accounts of every DMK members on 10th October 1972. MGR was ousted from the party, people came out and thronged his house and the studio, MGR toured all over the state and came to accept people's decision to form a political party "Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam" on 17.10.1972. Within six months his party faced a Parliament election for Dindugal. His party won with staggering vote difference. MGR movies had to face hurdles from the ruling party, his very own produced and directed movie “Ulagam Sutrum Valiban” was released on 11th May 1973 amidst considerable resistance from DMK rule. The theatres were threatened if they release the movies, some withheld but most stood on side with MGR. The movie was a mega hit, the collection was unparallel in history. Both politics and movies MGR reigned supreme. In 1976 DMK rule was dismissed based on the charges of corruption.
A 1959 painting showing MGR as a charioteer and another photo taken during the 1967 election showing MGR with bandaged neck
1977 to 1986 : The year 1977, MGR called as Puratchi Nadigar became Puratchi Thalaivar emerging as the winner of 1977 elections and forming Government. MGR became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu first in the Indian history an actor holding a highest post of a State. MGR introduced many policies to improve the life of downtrodden. Adversaries political back play, MGR's rule was dismissed in 1980. Again he was elected by people of Tamil Nadu as their Chief Minister. MGR introduced free current to farmers and poor and expanded the free meal to all the school children as Nutritious meal, so as to increase the enrolment, attendance and to improve the nutritional level of school going children. This policy was mocked by many political pundits and parties of those days, later this policy was praised in UN and many States in India started to follow. MGR's health condition affected and by October first week he was hospitalised. MGR was taken to United States of America for treatment. After the demise of Indira Gandhi election was announced for Parliament and Tamil Nadu, ADMk took this opportunity. With prayers of many thousands and his dharma saved him again. And the election result was massive success for ADMK amidst DMK and Karunanidhi's campaign that MGR is dead.
1987 to 1996 : With declining health MGR looked and cared for Tamil Nadu and Tamil people. When there is a beginning there is also an end, and our beloved MGR died on 24.12.1987. MGR was awarded the highest civilan award Bharath Ratna in 1988 posthumously. His party was split and faced the election. A very long waiting Karunanidhi, DMK captured power. ADMK was united under Jayalalitha. In 1991 ADMK came to power and in the middle of 1996 DMK came to power. There is non stop MGR movie re-releases.
1997 to 2006 : With MGR's vote bank envied by other parties Jayalalitha came back in 2001 and by 2006 DMK with Congress formed Government. As usual MGR movies were re-released all over the State, subsequently his Emgeeyar Pictures 3 titles, Nadodi Mannan, Adimai Penn and Ulagam Sutrum Valiban were released in digital formats.
2007 to 2016 : The vote bank was again used by other parties, Jayalalitha secured the confidence of MGR fans and faced the election in 2011 and 2016, ADMK was a ruling party. The 1965 classic hit Ayirathil Oruvan was digitised and released all over Tamil Nadu. On MGR's centenary year the party formed by MGR is still the ruling party after the demise of Jayalalitha. Some of his fans one who thronged the theatres understood the principles of MGR and constructed a temple and made MGR as their God.
The images were from my MGR fan friends. Your comments can be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org