MGR History
Name : Dr.M.G.Ramachandran
Lovingly called : MGR, Yezhai Pangalan
: Puratchi Nadigar by Karunanidhi
: Ponmanachemmal by Kirupanda variar
: Makkal Thilagam by Thiru Tamilvannan
: Kalaivendhan by Singapore fans
: Nruthiya Chakravarthi by Sri Lankan fans
: Puratchi thalaivar, vaathiyar - by his fans
Profession : Politician, Actor, Producer, Director, philanthropist 
Date of Birth : 17th January, 1917 
Birth Place : Kandy, Sri Lanka
Died : Dec 24, 1987
Family : Father : Marudhar Gopalan Menon
: Mother : Satyabhama
: Brother : M.G. Chakrapani
Wives   : Bargavi (a)thangamani -She died early  due to  illness.Sathanandavathi also died soon of TB. V.N.Janaki 
Education : up to third standard
Marudur Gopalamenon Ramachandran, or MGR as he was widely known, was a unique phenomenon in Indian politics. Idolized by his followers as a an   "Puratchi Thalaivar "   (revolutionary leader) , MGR was a prominent film star who parlayed his popularity with the masses into a successful second career as a politician.Born in Kandy,Sri Lanka in 1917,MGR's family moved to India a few years later.Hard poverty compelled MGR to join the theater at the early age of seven and then enter the movie business as an actor.MGR's mentor C.W.Annadurai died in 1969,Muthuvel Karunanidhi became the leader of the DMK and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.MGR parted with the DMK and Karunanidhi in 1974 after making corruption the main issue.They have corrupted a party that was once incorruptible,"MGR told The New York Times in 1974. "What they do best is lie, give false accounts, take money. " It's likely that Karunanidhi's efforts to promote his son Muthu as a film star also played a role in MGR's decision to leave the DMK. 

After parting ways with the DMK, MGR launched the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. In the 1977 state Legislative Assembly elections, MGR's ADMK won a resounding victory over the DMK.MGR and his political offspring,the ADMK never looked back after that. Until his death in 1987, MGR comfortably won the two subsequent state Legislative Assembly elections.The name of his party was later changed to AIADMK, with the prefix "AI" standing for All India.Even as the rural and urban poor idolized him, the middle class and the media was disdainful of the star. Some political observers are dismissive of the MGR era.  Under his dispensation, profiteers of different kinds...greatly prospered while a stagnant,if notdeclining economy forced the poor, who constituted the mainstay of MGR's support, into unbearable misery."While it is true that the lot of the poor did not improve much during MGR's reign, the situation was not much different in other states of India. Most likely, theplight of the poor was far worse in several other states, particularly Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.MGR's best known program was the free mid-day meal scheme for poor children.

 The height of emotional response that 'MGR' could evoke was evident when in 1987 during a critical illness, 22 people committed suicide in the hope their deaths would save him! Stories of poor people selling their blood in order to get money to see his films on first release are legendary! Born Marudur Gopalamenon Ramachandran in Kandy,Sri Lankain 1917, his family moved to Tamil Nadu where they lived in poverty.   When he was 6, he joined a theatre group - the Madurai Original Boys. Here he picked up acting, dancing and swordplay.MGR made his screen debut in Ellis R Duncan's Sati Leelavathi (1936) but his first major breakthrough came much, much later with Rajakumari (1947). MGR's 1950s screen persona in adventure films constructed an image of political as well as physical invincibility.   Often the themes of his films were derived from heroic ballads which are part of the oral tradition of rural Tamil Nadu. For example - Madurai Veeran (1956), one of his most popular films, is based on the legend of Madurai Veeran, a popular deity of Southern Tamil Nadu. 

 His legend has been the subject of various ballads and plays and this was the second filmed version of the story.  In the 1960s MGR turned to more 'realistic' fantasies mostly in a contemporary setting often playing someone from the oppressed class - a peasant, taxi driver or fisherman. For millions of fans, his image as the knight in shining armour, saving damsels in distress and being totally dutiful towards his mother was in fact a reality. Mother tongue, motherland and motherhood were what he based his popularity on. To quote MSS Pandian in The Image Trap: MG Ramachandran in Film and Politics..."The social universe of the MGR is a universe of asymmetrical power.......The conflict between the upper caste/ class oppressors and MGR as a subaltern, and its resolution forms the core of the film. MGR, in the course of the conflict, appropriates several signs or symbols of authority or power from those who dominate." MGR used food, colour patterns (black and red, symbols of the DMK) and masquerades (often through double roles of oppressor and oppressed) to construct this universe. 

In Engal Thangam (1970) for example, MGR playing a truck driver Thangam, fights, sings, cares for the poor and preaches against smoking and drinking. The DMK colours - black and red are frequently featured in the clothes he wears. He even appears as himself in the opening scene at a Small Savings Function. Thangam is in the audience and even refers to him as 'Vathiyar' (Teacher), the reverent title by which he was known to his fans! MGR had joined the DMK party in 1953 and remained its member till 1972.   This included a brief stint in the Madras Legislative Council from 1962 - 64, being a member of the Legislative Assembly (1967) when the party won the state elections and the DMK Treasurer (1970). He fell out with the DMK chief Karunanidhi and used the DMK's propaganda idiom against the DMK itself in Nam Naadu (1969). In 1972 he set up the rival Anna - DMK party claiming allegiance to the DMK's founder, the late Annadurai. In 1977, his party renamed the AIADMK won the state elections in alliance with Indira Gandhi's Congress party. MGR became Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and was re-elected for three consecutive terms. 

Making his film debut in 1935, in the film Sati Leelavati, directed by Ellis Dungan, an American born film director, . Generally starring in romance or action films, MGR got his big breakthrough in the 1947 film Rajakumaari, written by M. Karunanidhi. He had the maximum number of all-time blockbusters to his credit at that time viz. Nadodi Mannan, Enga Veetu Pillai and Adimai Pen. He was shot by fellow actor Mohan R. Radha, affecting his ability to speak clearly. He won the National Film Award for Best Actor for the film Rickshakaran. His film Nadodi Mannan, which was produced and directed by himself and released in 1956, and ran to full houses full shows in Tamil Nadu for 14 weeks.He also got Bharata ratna.