Early years of MGR

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…

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