Archive for December 2005

MGR Fans – the Power Centre

December 18, 2005

Early Years of MGR Part II
Before going further deep into MGR’s career we must first understand his Power centre. None other then his own Fans. His Fans were classified into two categories the first type is Active Fans and the another is Pacific fans. The active fans involved and now also involves mostly in designing his cut outs, bringing out small books about MGR, upkeeping and Garlanding his statue, working in election campaign etc. their presence is predominant in the theatre – example the First scene MGR appears. The other part of his fans are name suggests are quite they never come into limelight but show their faith in him in Elections.
Nowadays though MGR films are shown mostly in TV channels and his titles are coming out in VCD and DVD format, still the theatres are full whenever his film is re-released. We say that in a English movie has this effect and that effect if you want to see the peoples effect you have to watch one MGR movie in a theatre. I had the experience a dozen times watching MGR movie. Eight years back I went to a movie Ulgam Sutrum Valiban, though I have seen that movie 10 times, from the start of the film till the end the Fans never stayed in their seat. They lit camphors when MGR appears and started to praise, even people started to say their problems, I understand, that MGR will hear to their problems and do their needs some of them are saying their life problem even. Whenever the villians say bad about MGR there is reaction from the people. All I came to know from that day is that MGR should not weep, he should not be beaten, he should not die in the movie, he should not loose a battle, he should not be criticised. If all this happens then the film is not a MGR movie. I have checked every film of MGR and say that all these above things are not present. Albeit the villian characters criticies MGR character that wont be much, as the writers of the MGR film and the actors also know how the people react.
An eminent actor Nambiyar who was always the villian in MGR films had a great encounter with MGR fans. In Enga Veetu Pillai, MGR donned two characters one character is coward who gets whipped by Nambiyar. After the release of the film, Nambiyar was driving through a village, he was stopped by some villagers. He came out of the car and the conversation goes like this;
Villagers : You are the one who lashed MGR right?
Nambiyar: No I am his friend.
Villagers : No we saw you lashing MGR in that film?
Nambiyar : It is a film I am an actor.
Villagers: Whatever it is you should not beat our Vathiyar (MGR) right if you do it again we will beat you.
Nambiyar: OK I wont do that, but in that film MGR lashed me back don’t you see that.
Villagers: Vathiyar will beat you, but you should not.
After getting the assurance from Nambiyar that he wont harm MGR they gave way. He also mentions that his fans were so much involved with MGR that in a movie “Thirudathae” in climax scene, where Nambiyar is hiding below the staircase to kill MGR and MGR getting down, his fans mostly ladies were shouting “Vathiyara” be careful Nambiyar in below the staircase. That was the love MGR got from his fans. Even now though 18 years after his death the same feeling is expressed by his Fans.
Hats off to MGR Fans.

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Early years of MGR

December 3, 2005

Marudhur Gopala Ramachandran, AKA MGR born in Kandy Sri Lanka, (accepted Date of Birth is 17.1.1917, according to Astrologers it is 11.1.1916 and in his School records 25.6.1916)and his family came to India when he was two years old, after his father’s death. His schooling ended prematurely. Poverty has driven him and his brother to Drama acting. After years of hard work in stage acting, MGR got a chance to act as an Inspector in a Tamil movie “Sathi Leelavathi”. The film was released in 1937 nobody know that after a decade that MGR could be the Box Office Record breaker and he will be the Ruler of Tamil Nadu in the future.
Most of the films of that time are based on Mythological characters or Historic figures. He too continued to act in such roles.
In 1947, India got Independence and MGR too. He was liberated from small roles to big roles. He first got the lead role in Rajakumari (Princess) was released in the same year and was the second best grosser next to Gemini Studios (A great studio like MGM, which produces big budget film) Chandralekha.
After elevated as a Hero, MGR mentions in his autobiography that 24 hours in a day is not sufficient for his schedule. Most of his films turned out as a Box Office grosser, MGR at the time was also called as Minimum Guarantee Ramachandran. During this period MGR mostly acted as a King, or a Commander or a Prince meaning all his films is historic ones. And the Tamil film industry in first half of 1950s began to evolve the story base to Social oriented movies. But still MGR was considered as Best Mythological Pillar, his films did not change.
By 1957 MGR produced, directed and acted in his movie called “Nadodi Mannan” (Wanderer & King) He pooled all his resources to the making of the film and he boldly took the second half of the film in Colour. His enemies expected that the film will doom in the Box Office. MGR himself stated that if the film is a HIT he will be a Mannan (King) if it fails he will be a Nadodi (Wanderer). The film was a huge success when it was released in 1958.
Tamil movie witnessed a different technology as MGR acted in two roles, the technique for double action scenes are done by Mask shot. i.e. the camera stands still, one side of the film is masked while the other half is shot and vice versa, the exposed side is masked and the other half unexposed side is retaken, to make the shot perfect the Camera should be steady. But in “Nadodi Mannan” the Camera moves with the two characters and there is no jerk. How they took the scene is still a mystery. The Angle of Luck was on MGR side forever.
To be continued…