This is my experiment with 18 lakhs. This was said by MGR in 1958 after stupendous success of the Movie Nadodi Mannan. How humble he is. The movie was a revolutionary in tamil cinema. It had showed the movie world a new way of story telling a new way of film making, a new way of editing, a new way of techniques in double action scenes so on and so forth.
I have taken some of the instances said by MGR in “Yaruku Vetri” way back in 1958, most of writing in video format. MGR’s education level is so poor but his writing skills is awesome when I read the Special edition by MGR Pictures. How well he knew and how clear his ideas are for instances the technical side, story side, dialogue side, music side, cinematography side, costume side, editing side and how he knew which actors to do which part etc. MGR is multi faceted that was proved if you watch Nadodi Mannan. We cannot put MGR into a position of mere actor alone.
When he talks about the story part he says that I am not blind sided that Nadodi Mannan does not have any minus points and I am not that stupid, but I can say that it does not have more minus points. See how humbly he uses the words. MGR further goes into how the story was developed in the year 1937-38 he was in the shooting of Maya Machindra, in Calcutta (Kolkatta) one day he went with his friends to watch a Hollywood movie “If I were King” acted by Ronald Colman, one of the scene the Hero says If I become a King … but MGR did not follow what the dialogues his mind was revolving around the words If I become a King. That is the day when Nadodi Mannan was seeded in his mind, it developed slowly when the time was ripe, MGR went on to produce the movie. Why did he produce then? Because he said it is an experiment so I did not want other producers to loose money if the film fails.
The Seed for Nadodi Mannan
First the movie was named Uthamaputhiran with MGR and Nadigar Thilagam with same movie title. MGR then re christened the name into Nadodi Mannan with a hint on it is remake of Prisoner of Zenda at first. In the shooting of Alibaba actress Bhanumathy questioned MGR that she was also producing the same movie with the same story. She asked MGR to discontinue the movie, but MGR said politely that this story only had the King’s character from the movie but the others are different. And that he has nurtured the story for years and he has the idea to direct also. She was hesitant at first, then after some days, Bhanumathy told that she has stopped the movie that you can now take the movie as you wish, MGR thanked her whole heartedly. (Can any one in the calibre of MGR can tell the truth like this).
Here is the Intro for most important characters of the movie, starting with M.N.Nambiyar who is also has the right to become King, if you watched whole movie you will understand that MGR has given costly costumes to Nambiyar in this movie, and also that Nambiyar is good looking. Watch for the line of Nambiyar in this clip. Followed by most memorable song “Thoongathey thambi thoongathey” written by Pattukottai Kalyana Sundaram. Followed by the clip showing the camera angle the creativity of MGR and Ramu (Camera Man) imagining the point of view of Bhanumathy through the ventilator shaft. A great achievement of those days for camera angle.
The intro of King MGR in a Chariot, look closely the intricate details of the chariot, it looks very royal. How much did MGR has spent for this chariot alone.
Double Action Scenes:
This is a video clip for the for the technical brilliance of MGR for the movie “Nadodi Mannan” the first conversation scene of King and the Wanderer and other scenes. Those days double action scenes are done by mask shot, that is covering half side of the film and shooting with one character and re shooting the other half of the film with other character. The character and as well the Director and Camera man should know the scene very well and they should have a good memory, the lighting plays a major role also. See editing technique of three individual shots in 2 seconds first shot King MGR walking from the left, next medium long shot showing King MGR, Wanderer MGR and the two ministers third shot both of them all these in 2 seconds. The editor was first Arumugam, he resigned from the project then came Perumal he was upto the editor for Black and white portion, he was unable to work for the remaining portions, and the assistant editors also withdrew from the project the colour portion was completed by Jambu, and he asked MGR not to mention his name in the title card. (This was said by the Director, Producer MGR)
When King and Wanderer starts the conversation about the kingdom and the condition of the poor people the dialogues shifts from the ability of the king and commons, both MGR will be sitting in arms distance, left side was King, right was Wanderer, camera was on the side of Wanderer now then the camera pans to the left for the conversation part of King. The movement part is small or tiny for the camera, you cannot see any jerk as we know both the characters are MGR. Such is the work of the camera man Ramu. Watch the eye movement of Wanderer when King speaks his condition and his plans.
The conversation scene between King and Wanderer is good example for double action scenes, concentration should be on the technical side but remember the dialogues are also very well written and used by MGR, the dialogues are by Kannadasan and Ravindran a good balance between audio and visual.
I added this clip to continue to show the brilliance, very simple technique but awesome to watch. Wanderer as King was speaking with the Queen enacted by M.N.Rajam. These characters standing near a big glass window. M.G.Chakrapani takes King MGR to show him that his wife is cheating King MGR. The camera shows Wanderer and Queen now the camera turns left to show the King entwined by his enemies. First it appeared to me two shots interconnected. I slowed the clip and watched frame by frame there was no jerk, here the distance between both MGR characters are more when compared to the above conversation scene between King and Wanderer. With second one I came to conclusion that Wanderer and Queen shot is back projection and the camera spins to King MGR side that is live character, watch the camera gets inside the set and you can see 3D view of King MGR side.
I think this is one movie were MGR has spoken a lot of dialogues the dialogues are not lengthy which is supposed to be protocol for historical movies. The time was 1958 the dialogue was ruling the tamil movie world. Kannadasan who was also a D.M.K. and Ravindran is very close to MGR. Both the writers had one concept that worked well. MGR had told that both of them belonged to same kind of principles that made MGR very easy going with them.
In this clip I took the famous one liners, when Wanderer insists to give him powers to make law, both the Ministers look dumb struck watch now in a second three shots are joined. one shot prime minister looks to the side of Commander, second shot Commander looks to the side of Prime Minister and third the Prime Minister looking to MGR. I conclude that first and third shot are one shot and MGR used the last part of the first shot for third one. Remember the importance is for dialogues only but the visual is balanced evenly.
I added this to glorify MGR because all the Actors in the world have proclaimed some heroic deeds but I feel MGR only had fulfilled what he said in the screen that he had done in his life. Look into the dialogue that he is giving away half of the property to the deaf and dumb. (Remember the Will of MGR in 1986). The other laws Wanderer as King proclaims are the one MGR done in his political career. I think MGR had some time travel mechanism that he knew what are going to be happen in the future.
This one video clip is special that I have touched the cup used by MGR in this movie. Out of these two cups which one I took into my hands I don’t know. Both are looking same. I thank Jr.MGR Pradeep the opportunity to handle the precious glass the important thing which change the Wanderer to become the King.
To be continued.