Archive for September 2007

Resting Place

September 29, 2007

Searching to write up about MGR death anniversary I got these photos taken by Siren song and Lost in colors from Flickr a website for uploading our photos.

The welcome arch at the MGR memorial is definitely enough craftmanship to deserve a place here! a comment by Lost in colors

The arch looks like a woman doing a namaskaram right?

The angle is different and looks beautiful.

MGR

And a different photo a MGR fan posing : Can I say a proverb behind every successful man there is a Woman. Now in front also (Vazhaveikum Deivangalagia thaimargala – After God, MGR is the only person in the World who is having millions of Woman followers)

Hottest Couples

September 27, 2007

I was passing a Book Shop and a Book flashed ODDLY that made to stop and look at it. The Magazine showed intimate pose of MGR and Jayalalitha. Why oddly because it is seldom MGR pictures appearing in English Magazine. I purchased the mag Ritz and went through the cover story.

The title is “Made for Each Other … Onscreen” the article praises Tamil film buffs, Ritz traced 17 famous pairs from 1940’s to present day i.e. Old Black and White movies to Colour movies. The pairs are not just Heroes and Heroines they also included famous comedians of the yesteryears.

The Pairs are:

1) M.K.Thyagaraja Bhagavathar – T.R.Rajakumari

2) N.S.Krishnan – T.A.Madhuram

3) MGR – Saroja Devi

4) MGR – Jayalalitha

5) Sivaji – Padmini

6) Gemini – Savithri

7) S.S.Rajendran – Vijaya Kumari

8) Nagesh – Manorama

9) Rajni – Sripriya

10) Kamal Haasan – Sridevi

11) Sivakumar – Lakshmi

12) Mohan – Radha

13) Prabhu – Kushboo

14) Karthik – Revathi

15) Surya – Jothika

16) Vijay – Simran

17) Vijay – Trisha

The following is the exerts of ‘Onscreen Couples’ – That intriguing chemistry

MGR – Saroja Devi

Magnetic element: Easy grace

Another fabulous romantic pair, Saroja Devi was the epitome of grace with a childlike, endearing voice and pretty, girlish mannerisms to match. MGR was always the gentleman with a handsome ‘open’ face that exuded charm, though above all, he was always the man of the masses. Together, they were a fitting the celluloid couple and even the simplest scripts could do justice on their onscreen chemistry. There was a certain grace perceived from their partnership that set them apart from their peers.

MGR – Jayalalitha

Magnetic element: Sheer Romance

The ultimate idol and the beautiful damsel. Amma as she is now fondly known, was 16 when a 42 year old MGR ushered her into the world of his films. He lovingly called her Ammu. The years between them and the one too many films they acted in together did nothing to faze this couple’s popularity. Her looks combined disarming innocence with proud beauty, while he was older, wiser and supremely indulgent. The fact that he was the quintessential charmer is evident from almost every romantic song or scene and this only enhanced the couple’s chemistry. This is one pair fans can never get enough of.

What you think about? anything new you can say about the pairs.

Comments

Strangers Truth

September 23, 2007

MGR is the unofficial hero to all the Tamil boys my age when I was going up. Mention “MGR”, and all the Tamil boys’ eyes brightened up.

The only thing I know about MGR is what I have seen on the RTM movie channel. The Tamil actor was undoubtedly one of the most popular Tamil actors, if not, the most popular Indian actor of his time.

Every Indian boy growing up in my neighbourhood secretly harbours the desire to be “just like MGR” when they grow up. On screen, MGR fights like a tiger, he wins the hearts of all the pretty women and he’s fiercely loyal to his mother and walks the path of righteousness all the time.

My closest childhood friend was this guy who was a couple of years older than me called Anbalagan. He stayed opposite my house together with his two younger brothers Nathan and Vasugan. But it was Anba who always gave me the rundown on the famous MGR and the wondrous things he did in his acting roles.

Later, of course, he introduced me to Sivaji Ganesan and another actor called Radha (I think). That was how we passed our time after school in the evenings, if we were not playing badminton.

I remember once telling Anba, “how does MGR remember all that monologue?” I was relating to the previous night’s MGR movie where he went on and on about his family, his mother and his filial responsibilities.

Tamil movies, especially those in which MGR starred in, tended to have very long monologues at crucial junctures. And the director had an inclination to pan rather quickly the scene where a statue of a diety is housed to the facial expression of MGR.

The famous actor also tended to talk very fast and amazingly, he never missed a beat, especially all those important lines. All the time, speaking with great passion and conviction.

With Anba’s help and sometimes his brother Nathan’s narration, I got sucked into the Tamil movie world, too. What is a Chinese boy to do? We don’t have that many film heroes of our own. At least I don’t have. I almost never have any pocket money to see even the cheap matinees which cost only about 60 cents (not sen in those days!).

MGR’s name in full is Marudur Gopalamenon Ramachandran. He was born on January 17, 1917 in Kandy, Sri Lanka. His parents were Marudhar Gopalan and Satyabhama.

After his father died, his family moved to Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu. Extreme poverty forced him to leave school at the primary level. At the age of six, he joined a theatre group called the Madurai Original Boys. It was here that he learnt acting, dancing and swordplay.

MGR excelled in acting which turned out to be his true calling. From then on, he gradually rose to prominence in the film industry. His first movie was Sati Leelavathi in 1936. Nothing unusual happened at first.

Eleven years later in 1947, MGR gained immense popularity with the movie Rajakumari. MGR’s forte was his realistic portrayal of a hero who always champion the poor.

The impoverished millions in India loved him. The movie Madurai Veeran further boosted his acting career when he was cast as the leader of the Dalits.

MGR is a member of the Dravidian movement which he joined in 1953. He is labelled as a Dravidian nationalist. The DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) gained popularity with MGR’s entry.

In 1967, MGR was elected into the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. In 1972, he had a falling-out with the DMK, and subsequently formed the AIADMK or the All India Anna Dravidian Progressive Federation. MGR reached the pinnacle of his political career when he became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in 1977.

He held on to the post until his death on Dec 24, 1987. When he died, Tamil Nadu practically came to a standstill, such was his popularity and, the respect that the Tamils had for him.

His funeral procession was attended by about two million people. In Madras today, there’s a temple built in honour of MGR with him as a diety.

In his lifetime, MGR acted in 139 movies, an acting career that stretched from 1935 to about 1970. MGR’s life was filled with real-life dramas that mirrored some of his movie roles.

In 1967, he was shot by a fellow actor Mr Radha. MGR survived and became even more popular. Actually, MGR continues to be as popular as before. In some circles, MGR is also known as the “Jewel of the Masses”.

Today, whenever any of my Indian friends mentioned MGR, I will inadvertently think back of my childhood friend Anba and his family.

I recall those Deepavali celebrations when I would be invited to his house and helped myself with all the apom and Etalli that were available. Anba’s mother and sisters were great cooks so we usually had our fill before we sauntered home, only about 20 yards away!

In a way, MGR had helped to cement a great friendship that stretched across the decades. This report is in honour of my boyhood friend Anba, and also to say “thank you” for all those free meals I had at his house. Hey, those Indian fish and chicken curries were great!

For further reading and photos click here: http://www.nst.com.my/blogs/fillips/48

Nadodi Mannan Revisited Part II

September 18, 2007

As usual MGR Devotee Sathya handed me the Albums including Nadodi Mannan the Fans Effect in Sri Brinda Theatre captured by M.K.Venkat. Instead of uploading the pictures with words I want to do something different, then came the idea to make the pictures of MGR’s Nadodi Mannan into a slide show.

I planned to finish the MGR Slide show in two days, but when I started the work I found my PC is infected with spy ware, malware and all ware which I am not aware… and further Ulead 3D studio exe file in the CD was also infected with virus which I cannot reinstall again. I reverted my plan to work with Ulead Video studio version 9 and Photoshop.

After finishing the video part in one and half week the first impression of the slide show was not satisfactory to me. Something was missing I scratched my head and found out a good audio will give the effect of MGR coming in person, portraying him as Super Hero of Tamil Cinema. I searched online and offline for English movie theme music. Of that I selected two music files one from Ben Hur and second Superman the Movie. Both the movie theme was very good for MGR’s Nadodi Mannan Slide show. But Superman movie came very close to the subject of the Slide show. The theme music was composed by John Williams famous for his Star Wars, Superman, Schindler’s List movies. This was done by John Williams in 1978 for Superman the Movie or Superman I.

With lot of video frame adjustments video effects and re doing the video, the run time came to 1 minute 20 seconds previously it was 3 minutes and 50 seconds or 18 MB. What you will see in the video will be 1 minute and 20 seconds.

Note: Turn on the Speaker and view the Slide show without the music my work is not worthy to watch.

Tribute to MGR – Sachi Sri Kantha

September 10, 2007

This is the extract from Sangam.org an article about MGR by Sachi Sri Kantha.

Tribute to MGR
by Sachi Sri Kantha; published January 18, 2004

Man from Maruthur and Malai Naadu (Mountain State): a Birthday Tribute to legendary MGR
[Front Note: This is a revised and extended version of my tribute, which first appeared in the Tamil Nation (London), January 15, 1992, under my pen name C.P.Goliard. I have a reason to present this. In the internet literature, the multi-faceted life of M.G.Ramachandran (1917-1987) appears prominently as a caricature, contributed by the swarms of literate coolies from India who have a penchant for peddling their half-baked views. These include Sashi Tharoors, M.S.S.Pandians and Cho Ramaswamys. My tribute to MGR, who helped Eelam Tamils at their darkest hour and when assistance was badly needed, is an anti-dote to these contributions.]
Eighty six years ago, a baby boy was born to a migrant couple, Gopala Menon and Sathyabama, in a ‘line room’ of a tea estate in Kandy. Later, this baby boy would grow into a leader with the name Maruthur Gopalan Ramachandran (popularly adored by Tamils all over the world with the initials MGR).

Though as a two-year old toddler, he was taken to Kumbakonam by his mother (who had been widowed after the birth of her fifth and last child MGR), the destiny would make it that in his last five years of life, MGR would again have close links with the Tamils in the land of his birth. After landing in Tamil Nadu, MGR would wise in his professional ranks with perseverance, hardwork and the smile of Lady Luck. He reached the ‘top’, step by step; 10 years as a vaudeville child actor, 10 years as an apprentice actor with secondary roles in then emerging Tamil movies, and nearly 30 years as an ‘uncrowned king’ in the Tamil movie land. He capped his life in his final 10 years as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu state.

Having experienced gripping poverty personally during his growth phase and forfeiting the opportunity to have a formal school education, MGR would see to it that at least one song in his movie had some educational value to the commoner. He would take a keen interest in the theme of the song, its musical composition and its exact appearance in the movie. Not surprisingly, it would turn out to be a hit song among the ‘illiterate’ Tamil masses in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere. I can recollect a dozen of these songs here.
1. Achcham enpathu madamaiyada – Anjaamai Dravidar udamaiyada (on Dravidian glory and heroism)
2. Thoongaathe Thambi Thoongaathe – Nee somberi enra peyar Vaankaathe (on the consequences of idling and procrastination)
3. Chinna payale Chinna payale Chethi keladah (on character building and self confidence)
4. Thirudathe – Paapaa Thirudathe (on prevention of bad habits, especially stealing when young)
5. Moonrezhuthil En Moochirukkum – Athu Mudinthapin thaane Pechchirukkum (on the dignity of one’s duty)
6. Onru Engal Jaathiye – Onru Engal Neethiye (on the unity of human kind)
7. Unnai Arinthaal Nee Unnai Arinthaal Ulagathil Poraadalaam (on developing self confidence)
8. Buddhan Jesu Gandhi pirandathu Bhoomiyil Etharkaaha (on the dignity of labor)
9. Atho Antha Paravai Pola Vaazhavendum (on freedom and liberty)
10. Thaayillamal Naanillai Thaane Evarum Piranthathillai (on motherly love)
11. Chirithu Vazhavendum – Nee chirikka Vaazhnthidathe (on the dignity of labor)
12. Poomazhai thoovi Vasanthangal Vaaztha Oorvalam Nadakkirathu (on sibling love)

MGR also made sure that he would teach good etiquette and discipline to the masses through the movies. Therefore, in the characters he played in 130-odd movies, he would never smoke or use alcoholic drinks. On top of that, he would never physically and mentally abuse women. This self-imposed rigidity restricted the character range he could play and snobbish movie critics – who were mostly feasting on the Holywood movies – ridiculed MGR for the artificial treatment of his characters. But MGR would have the last word and the Tamil masses wouldn’t care less about the criticism of the elitist snobs. Ultimately, he claimed the adoring honorific ‘Vaathiyaar’ (teacher) in its original sense of the word.

Call it a mere coincidence or the destiny of Eelam Tamils, when the liberation struggle began earnestly in 1977, MGR would become the chief minister of Tamil Nadu state. Though his interest on the problems of Eelam Tamils remained passive or indifferent until 1982, the anti-Tamil riots of 1983 in the island kindled his support for the Eelam cause. 1983 also saw the change in guard among the political leaders of the Eelam Tamils. MGR had never felt comfortable with the then TULF leadership, since he had perceived them as emotionally more closer to the DMK leadership of M.Karunanidhi.

When the leadership mantle in the Eelam struggle needed a change and a boost, MGR became the godfather of LTTE and made sure that the then ‘toddler’ would not suffer a premature death in the hands of wily J.R.Jayewardene, the central government of India and the Intelligence agencies of India. Even to his political allies, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, the links MGR developed with LTTE was somewhat embarassing. But they simply had to ignore it for their own political survival in South India. For all this moral support to the Tamil Eelam cause, MGR became the arch enemy of the Sinhalese power brokers in Colombo, from 1983 until his death in December 1987.

That the admiration Tamil masses had on MGR was not purely a ‘cinema craze’ had been proved in India, when movie stars of equal stature such as Sivaji Ganesan, N.T.Rama Rao and Amitabh Bachchan could not transfer their popularity in movies to the political world. The political careers of Sivaji Ganesan and Amitabh Bachchan never took off from the ground. Only N.T.Rama Rao was able to become the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh and he lost that position subsequently too. In that, MGR was a ‘three-in-one’. He had the movie magic of John Wayne, the political success of Ronald Reagan and the messianic appeal of Martin Luther King Jr.

How could one explain the extraordinary career of MGR, which began in Kandy and ended in Madras? Though not considered a native in the place of his birth or in Tamil Nadu where he grew up and called it home, he became the adored leader, who would be envied by any local politician. At least poet laureate Kannadasan (who had been an intimate friend and some times harshest critic of MGR) had an answer. In 1980, Kannadasan noted that MGR was blessed with an ‘asura jaathakam’ (literally meaning, devil’s horoscope). Not everyone would agree with that assessment. But, considering the unfavorable odds he faced in his life and the ‘fights’ he won, definitely there should have been some blessing from the devil (if not an angel!) which protected MGR in his numerous trials.

Like other great leaders and revolutionaries, MGR was not without human weaknesses. He was afterall a human, though viewed and venerated as a ‘living God’. M.S.S.Pandian, in his critical tract, The Image Trap: M.G.Ramachandran in film and politics (1992), makes an issue out of this. Who is without sin? Holywood movie legends Marlon Brando and Katharine Hepburn have lived in sin. But does their life styles take away anything from their stature and ‘class’? Noted scientists Thomas Edison and Marie Curie had personal flaws. Do those flaws dim their greatness and contributions to humanity? Even the saintly Mother Teresa cozied with political despots in power and took their money for her charity. Does that make her a sinner?

MGR’s weaknesses do not detract the good deeds he did to the down-trodden in Tamil Nadu and to the Eelam Tamils who landed in India as refugees after 1983. MGR was neither an intellectual nor a philosopher. But his life-time teaching is short, simple and straight-forward; Fight for your Rights. That’s what he preached in his 130-odd movies. Considering the abuse Eelam Tamils underwent in Tamil Nadu in the post-MGR period, from the minions who claim to be proteges of MGR, one can only say by dipping our head ‘We miss you, Vaathiyaar’.

Recent election of Holywood muscle-man Arnold Schwarzenegger as the governor of California, enticed Shashi Tharoor (one of the currently prominent literate coolies of India) to contribute a feature to the New York Times (Aug.15, 2003). In this nearly 850-word feature entitled, ‘A Land Governed by Film Stars’, more than 350 words were used to provide a caricature of MGR, whom he introduced as “India’s first major actor-politician”. In it, he had stated the following, devoid of any context and any comparison:

“…So great and so enduring was MGR’s popularity as chief minister that when he suffered a debilitating stroke, his party could not afford to let him relinguish office. At rallies that drew millions, the speechless and nearby immobile movie star would be propped up on a high stage in his trademark wool cap and dark glasses, while recordings of old speeches would be played to fool the distant crowds.”

Shashi Tharoor, if he had really studied the 20th century history of America properly, should know that there is a precedence for this in America. How about the unchallenged political success of polio-paralysed Franklin Roosevelt, from 1932 to 1944 (until his death), who was badly needed by his Democratic Party for four times to contest the presidency and win it for the party? His speeches in radio was also used to comfort the distant crowds in America struggling from the Great Depression. If it is acceptable for Americans to accept Roosevelt, why it should be different for the Tamils in Tamil Nadu?

Sure, MGR was debilitated by a stroke in 1984 and became physically handicapped. But he was mentally agile. Compared with the performances of pygmies who thrive in India’s political stage who are physically agile but mentally handicapped, MGR’s performance during the last three years (1984-87) was nothing to be ridiculed. I provide excerpts from a Time magazine feature, which appeared barely seven months before his death. Edward Desmond, after interviewing J.R.Jayewardene, the then Sri Lankan president who was nothing but an undemocrat-autocrat in deeds, had written as follows:

“ [He, i.e., J.R.Jayewardene] did contend that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the most potent rebel group, were ‘the private army of Mr.M.G.Ramachandran, the present chief minister of Madras (Tamil Nadu).”

MGR’s apt and timely retort and response to Jayewardene’s choice words about him and LTTE was reported by Desmond as follows:

“Even as the central government in New Delhi tried to maintain a civil, though somewhat cool, stance toward its neighbor to the south, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ramachandran seemed intent on fueling the fires on the island. He announced a grant of $3.3 million to Sri Lankan Tamils last week for food, clothes, medicine and, ominously, ‘other help’. In an address to the state assembly in Madras, the chief minister was even more scalding than Jayewardene. Said he: ‘Tamil groups are spearheading the war against the dictatorial and fascist actions of the Jayewardene regime, and they should be congratulated and helped.’ With supporters like that, the Tamil guerrillas are not likely to lay down their arms anytime soon.” [Time-International edition, May 11, 1987, p.6]

These are the extract the actual article can be read by clicking this link http://www.sangam.org/articles/view/?id=172

Thanks for the link provided by MGR dasan.

Note: Shashi Thoor’s remark about MGR condition is totally wrong MGR did not visit single constitutency in 1984, which every Tamilian will know. His video image were telecasted by R.M.Veerappan in several places.

Celebrations of MGR Devotees II

September 1, 2007
This is a Slide Show of celebrations of MGR devotees for the movies

Ninaithathai Mudipavan

Kudieruntha Koil

Idhyakani

Slide show mixed with MLTR sound track “That’s Why” from Paint My Love

Click here for the Slide show: