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Vettaikaran Golden Jubilee

Golden Jubilee Padagotti

04 September 2013

Reminiscences Of A Friend

Sri MGR Year 96, 4th September, Wednesday

Below is the article from the book Impact, MGR and Films, written by V.Gopalakrishnan, a veteran actor who had acted with out beloved Leader Puratchi Thalaivar MGR in many movies. And he did some memorable roles some to mention are:

As a dearest friend in Naan Yen Piranthen and Kalangarai Vilakkam, evil Doctor in Ulagam Sutrum Vaaliban as a foster father in Netru Indru Naalai, ruthless Police Officer in Pallandu Vazhga.

 

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I have the honour and pleasure of knowing Dr.Puratchi Thalaivar MGR for almost 30 years. It was 1957-58 when he was producing and directing his first venture Nadodi Mannan, when I met him. Let me start with an unforgettable incident. It was August 21, 1958, Mr.MGR, Mr.Tirupathi Swami (an actor in MGR troupe) and myself left Madras around 6.30 pm for a place called Chengam – a little beyond Thiruvannamalai.

It was raining Mr.MGR was kidding Thirupathi Swami about whether he was going to get paid for the play or not! If it rained hard the play was to have to be cancelled. We reached Chengam after visiting Mr.P.U.Shanmugam in Thiruvannamalai around 11 pm. It was still raining! There was a convention that tickets were to be sold only after Mr.MGR arrived.

Thousands of people were waiting to see Mr.MGR in the play Inbakkanavu. Mr.MGR addressed the gathering – He said because it was raining and the audience had to sit on the floor, could he come the next day and perform? The audience in one voice requested “Please go on with the play what is the guarantee that it won’t rain tomorrow? The now famous Ms.G.Shakunthala and Ms.Pusphalatha were in the play.

The play started to a packed house with me sitting on the 5th or 6th row, on the ground with the audience. By the time the fourth scene was over, I received a Turkish towel to put on my head, because it was still drizzling. Mr.MGR had seen me from the stage and had sent the towel. How thoughtful of him?

Now the rain increased in intensity. The orchestra had to be transferred to the stage and some lights went out of action because of the raindrops.

The play ended around 3 am. Then the audience wanted Mr.MGR to talk to them! He spoke to them for half an hour and we left! I would not have believed this incident if I had not been there!

On the way back to Madras, Mr.MGR grew ill. He said it might be because of the release of Nadodi Mannan that day. If it became a success he was a Mannan if not, a Nadodi. He had sunk his last shirt on this venture. He had such belief, such confidence in his maiden effort. Around 9.30 am we reached Madras and he requested me to go to the preview of Nadodi Mannan at 10.30 am at Vijaya Gardens as he was not feeling too well.

I saw the reaction of the Press and the Invitees. Even before the last few colour reels. I telephoned him saying the reaction was excellent and could he come and meet the press during lunch. That would make them feel happier. He arrived as the show ended and the Press was unanimous in its pride and the phenomenal success of the film is HISTORY.

Then he had his fracture and had to be in bed for six months. I used to visit him very often for, he needed company because he had to be in bed with a leg in plaster!

Dec 31, 1959, “Thaai Magalukku Kattiya Thaali” was released. The first shot shows his fractured leg in good condition! This was the great late Anna’s story and the dialogues were by Mr.Rama Arangannal and I had a good role in film.

From this, I have been with him in several pictures upto Indru Pol Endrum Vazhga which had (Minister) Kalimuthu as the script writer. In fact the film function where Mr.MGR attended as Chief Minister was the 100th day of this picture at Woodlands hotel.

On Oct, 10, 1972 I was with him when he was thrown out of DMK party. We were shooting Netru Indru Naalai. It was around 10.30 am. He told me to be with him for the next two or three days. At nights he used to go about 30/40 KM outside Madras to meet people. They started flowing in thousand to Sathya Studios. He knew the people were with him and the idea of starting a party struck him. These three days he asked me to write to Indira Gandhi and send some telegrams too. If only I had joined the party then! One of those ifs that never be explained! The great man that he is, never asked me to join the party. Probably he thought I was unfit for politics.

After he became the Chief Minister I have met him several times – but it was getting more and more difficult. The officials would ask me who I was and why I wanted to see the Chief Minister. As I had no purpose and it was just a courtesy call, I used to return without seeing him. I told him this when I met him accidently at the Madras Airport in March 1983, when I was going to Sri Lanka.

Whether I see him or not, he is always dear to me. He is a person I respect and hold in high esteem. He has become a legend in his life time. The only example of an actor in the World becoming the Chief Minister of a State and remaining with the masses till date – You might say Reagan became the President of the United States. But Reagan was never a front rank actor. He was only in B grade movies like The Bad Men an MGM film and he quit film nearly 20 years before he was elected President.

There is something strange about MGR – unique. When he is down and out, he goes higher like when he had the fracture, when he was thrown out of DMK party when be became very ill recently.

The last time I met Mr.MGR and he talked to me was when the film industry gave a reception to Dr.Friedman who had treated our MGR in the States.

Like Shakespeare says: Our MGR has no equal – no second.

M.G.R. Blog to you via E mail

M.G.R. Blog to you via E mail
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