Sri MGR Year 97, 9th November, Sunday
Our beloved Puratchi Thalaivar character Manickam in Padagotti is not different from other movie characters, the same do-gooder, saviour of the poor and downtrodden, helper of the hapless.
As soon as the movie starts to reveal the plot MGR becomes the head of his village, the position thrust upon by his rivals. The character portrayed by MGR can be discussed in three view points.
As a Leader:
His men are illiterate like their rival group but the rival group people had faith in their leader enacted by Ramadoss they did what their head told him to do so, a blind faith. Here in MGR’s group, sometimes they take their own decision and suffer and sometimes they loose faith in him even if MGR took a right decision. For this type of scenario the Leader should have lot of patience. MGR keeps his calm. The extremity of MGR patience is tested when his people without his knowledge goes to the loan shark (Nambiyar) and without knowing what was written in the agreement signs it. Now MGR interferes and reads the agreement, he comes to know the atrocious method of Nambiyar, his men illiterate and having very little intelligence had fallen easily to Nambiyar’s trap, now MGR has to express and point out their foolishness, but he did not express the point in hard way. Because the best leaders don’t come down harder on people whose performance is lagging; they come to their aid.
He being the leader also has the responsibility to take care his men like a mother to her child in that way MGR conveys. Nambiyar asks MGR “where did you come and what you are talking” (Yenga vanthu yenna pesara). The following one line is what MGR utters for that scene, totally ignoring the direct words for their foolish mistake and says; “I am speaking to my people about their ignorance”. (என் மக்கள் கிட்ட அவங்க அறியாமை பத்தி பேசறேன்). MGR’s expression while reading the agreement is great, the escalation of anger is seen clearly in his face when he looks to his men the anger drains in a second and when he looks at Nambiyar his anger expression comes up instantly.
In another scene when MGR senses the demand for fish in market he raises the price and this idea succeeds his men praises him. And again when the same plan did not worked out they start to loose their faith in him. And they start to take their own decision (a’la the common man) when MGR gets assurance from a new commission agent for their catch, Nambiyar befriends the commission agent and this time also his plan goes wrong.
As a true leader MGR knows how to lead his men knows their needs and wants, he looks at them confidently and tells them, that he will take this to the Government officials and get their help. His men who always think only about today and never care what is for tomorrow blindly denies MGR, they burst with sadness and says you always speak like that but God has given everything to them (Nambiyar) it is our fate. MGR answers to these questions to them through the song “Koduthathellam Koduthan”.
Before the climax there is another scene showing one of his leadership qualities. Sarojadevi leaves her village and comes to meet MGR and wants to get married. By this time his men come up and asks to make a decision of what MGR wants in his life, either the love or his people. MGR knows well that “there is no success without sacrifice” with less time to respond he takes the decision to sacrifice his love. MGR subtly gives an appearance of weight being rested on his shoulders by drooping his head after the dialogue. (The rest of the dialogues will be dealt with in next post as a Lover).