MGR I SAW HIM
by S.N.Narayanan, Journalist.
The Year was 1975, I had an assignment from Film World, Bombay (now Mumbai), and to interview MGR. Till then I had not met the great star in person. So I was in a fix.
I had been seeing almost all his starrers as also reading a lot of pro and anti writings on him. Unwittingly influenced by political speeches, I never developed a desire to cultivate friendship with him. However, for the Film World interview I had to establish a contact. And I did meet him. That was my turning point, a correction of a deceptive conviction, a metamorphosis of the MGR image that loomed in my mind till then!
I met him in his Arcot Mudaliar Road residence (Now MGR memorial) there was a large crowd comprising party workers, favour seekers, fans and film personnel. I lost hopes that I could meet him at all, because I did have absolutely no influence there. That feeling was further fanned by my inherent prejudice!
Hardly had I waited for ten minutes. Muthu (now the Care taker of MGR memorial) his valet came to me. “Thalaivar (Leader) calls you in”. I was ushered into the august presence of MGR, sitting behind his desk, cap-less, make-up-less, clad in a sleeveless banian and lunghi. He looked as handsome as in his moves! That was my first shock!
He enquired about my calling, welfare, family and only then permitted me to begin the interview. (Note MGR’s nature when interacting) We talked for an hour. All my questions, some political and hence irritable, he answered patiently.
I came out, a totally changed man. My ambiguous and ill-founded impression about the great star, nay the great human vanished. In its place, I installed the ‘MGR‘ as I really saw him. Then only I understood why millions in the country owe everything to him. He deserves it! Thereafter I had the good fortune to be with him for shooting at Bangalore (Capital of Karnataka) and Ooty (hill resort) I was an eye witness to the perennial fountain of generosity that MGR is.
“I came into the world as a have-not. Let me depart also so” He said. Had he wished, he could have owned half of Madras city (Now Chennai) with his fabulous earnings! But his munificence always overtook his income! Well, Sir, now the whole state is in your balanced hands!
MGR has given new interpretation to the word PHILANTHROPY. No dictionary can improve upon it, ever!
The interview of 1975 was titled “MGR – next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu” It was no clairvoyance on my part. Any one who knows this great leader even casually would have attested my view. The State of Tamil Nadu reached a stage when it had to be reclaimed by a strong and soft hand. Only MGR possesses that! And, we, the people of Tamil Nadu today experience the niceties!
LONG LIVE MGR – HELPER OF THE HAPLESS!
This is an extract of the Journalist experience when MGR came to Power in 1977.