M.G.Ramachandran

  • Social justice, political rights for all classes of people, abolition of superstitions that hamper growth, and rationality – these are the principles upon which the Dravidian movement was started. MGR holds the credit for taking this movement to every citizen of the state and making the Dravidian movement a people’s movement. His limitless fame and goodwill cannot go unfactored in taking the Dravidian movement to the Assembly.
  • MGR was a person who came from the lowest economic strata. He was the second of 3 children. His elder brother Chakrapani and he used to work in drama troops for less wages to land a chance as an actor. MGR was introduced in Sathi Leelavathi directed by Ellis Duncan. At that time he was just M G Ramachandran. As the years passed, with his active movements and dynamic screen presence, M G Ramachandran became Tamil Nadu’s beloved MGR.
  • Initially, his political interests were aligned with the Congress party. Around 1953, he was attracted to Dravidian philosophy upon hearing one of Anna’s speeches. That was the moment that spurred him to join Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). What’s interesting is that DMK was not the big name it is today. It was still short of a good recognition. But that didn’t bother MGR. He decided that DMK is the party he should be with and that Anna is the mentor he should learn politics from. The determination he showed in joining DMK sprouted stronger and guided him when he quit DMK and started ADMK. He then won 3 elections without a history of a lost election.
  • He regarded Anna on the same scale he regarded his mom. He summarised ADMK’s principle as follows – “This is Anna’s administration. Need I say more?” Anna was also very fond of MGR. Anna’s words to MGR – “Your presence is enough to popularise our motto. I can chisel DMK’s identity!”.
  • His generosity towards the needy when he was at the top is nothing compared to his generosity when he had nothing. Even during the days when he was employed with Jupiter Pictures, when his salary was counted in anaas, he was generous to the core.
  • MGR’s full career was entirely made of mass films. But that did not showcase anything and everything for the sake of entertainment. He had strict standards to be upheld. His movies and character arcs were based on good morals and good behaviour. He knew that his pictures would be viewed by every age group. He made sure that children learn only good from his movies. A great point to illustrate this would be the villains in his movies. His movies would have the climax of the villain reforming or the villain getting arrested. There sure are fight sequences in most of his movies, but not one movie shows the villain getting killed by him. This shows how conscious he was in not showing murder as an option, even on the screen.
  • He avoided having irrational, superstition-based scenes in his movies. When questioned about it, he replied, “My movies are seen by all sections of society, educated and uneducated. Many of them believe whatever I say on screen. If i say casting a spell can cause a fruit to fall from the tree, am I not setting a wrong example for them? As an actor, I have a social responsibility, and I will not mess with that.” Upon hearing this, the immediate thing that comes to our minds is the scene in ‘Alibabavum Naarpadhu Thirudargalum’ – the scene where MGR says “Anda Ka Kasam.. Abu Ka Hukum.. Thirandhidu Sesame..”. If you observe keenly, you’ll see that even in that scene, it is humans who open the door of the cave. So it is shown as a code word to open a door and not as a magic spell that automatically opens a heavy door. By eliminating unbelievable components and presenting them in a believable fashion, MGR made sure that he did not mislead even one person towards believing intangible, unproven things.
  • The fact that he did his best to present only rational thoughts did not mean that he was an atheist. He has visited temples, but doing devotional films was not something in his focus. When asked about it, he commented, “We have a temple in almost every street. The devotion that didn’t come by visiting these holy places is not going to arise suddenly from seeing devotional movies. In my opinion, love your mother, have respect for your teacher, be affectionate with your friends and have mercy for the needy. These values are what make one’s heart pure. Purity of heart is the highest form of devotion.” Having said those words, he doesn’t try to hide the fact that he did movies like ‘Genova’ and ‘Paramapitha’.
  • MGR’s acting was limited only to his screen time and that acting never extended a second outside of those frames. So what is the deal with the cap that soon became a trademark look? It’s a cap and just a cap. There are no more connotations to that. He wore that to protect his head from the sun. This should be enough to negate the rumour of MGR attacking a person for knocking over his cap. That just doesn’t align with his love he had for the people of our state
  • Kamarajar sowed the seed for primary education, and MGR sowed the seed for secondary and higher secondary education. During his rule, all talukas had at least one college. More than 200 colleges were built during his tenure as the Chief Minister. He started Annai Teresa University in Kodaikanal, as a step towards equal rights. Thanjai Tamil University was also started during his tenure. Today, Tamil Nadu’s percentage of high school graduates is 51%. This percentage is higher than that of America. MGR’s contribution in achieving such a feat cannot go unnoticed.
  • The Nutritious Meal Scheme is perhaps the best of his political achievements. He started this scheme on July 1, 1982. Initially it was implemented only for children of ages 2 – 9. After 2 years, upon seeing the success of this scheme, it was extended to children between 2 – 15 years of age. In due course, this scheme was made available to children of urban areas also. Now, more than 50 lakh children and mothers are being benefited by this scheme, annually. This scheme ensures the food for kids for at least 210 days of a year.
  • If we had to describe MGR’s life using one of his movie title, it would be ‘Naadodi Mannan’. Naadodi translates to nomad and Mannan means king. During the phase in which he was hunting for a chance, he was ‘Naadodi’. From the day he marveled people with his performance till his last breath, he was ‘Mannan’.