Sri MGR Year 95, 3rd January, Thursday
Our beloved Leader Puratchi Thalaivar MGR has acted in 115 films as Hero. Of these 40 films are colour and the rest are black and white. MGR starrer movies were directed by many notable directors like Ellis R.Duncan, Raja Chandrasekar, T.R.Ragunath, T.R.Sundaram, Sriramulu Naidu, P.Neelakantan, K.Sankar, A.S.A.Samy, T.R.Ramanna, Krishnan Panchu, T.Prakash Rao, Chanakya, B.R.Panthalu, A.C.Thirulogachander, M.Krishnan, C.V.Sridhar, A.P.Nagarajan and others.
Of the above mentioned notable directors P.Neelakantan had directed 17 movies starring MGR. He is the number one director to direct MGR movies. The first movie he worked with MGR is Chakravarthy Thirumagal and final movie as a Director is Neethiku Thalaivanangu.
Though P.Neelakantan name credited, who had helped in directing for Emgeeyar Pictures Ulagam Sutrum Vaaliban and he also helped in finishing MGR’s last movie Maduraiyai Meeta Sundarapandian.
The list of MGR movies directed by P.Neelakantan
|06||Kannan En Kadhalan||25.04.1968|
|12||Oru Thai Makkal||09.12.1971|
|14||Raman Thediya Seethai||13.04.1972|
|15||Netru Indru Nalai||12.07.1974|
This is the extract from The Hindu Newspaper of September 1991.
The odd pair: It may appear strange how Neelakantan, a Congressman to the core, made 17 films with MGR, one of the frontline leaders of the DMK who later founded the AIADMK. Former Minister, Mr.R.M.Veerappan of Satya Movies, whose mentor was MGR has this to say. To my knowledge, Neelakantan was one of the two persons who graduated from script writers to become directors, the other being A.S.A.Samy (1947 – Rajakumari with MGR in the lead) They made their debut perhaps at the same time. There are many technicians who later in their career, became directors but these two made their grade with their felicity with the pen. Neelakantan was a good writer with national interest. He directed two films for us. Kavalkaran and Kannan En Kathalan (both MGR and Jayalalitha)
Meticulous planner : Neelakantan firmly believed in a strong story base, and a clear way of projecting a theme. He would do all the spade work for a given day’s shooting at time. He could tell before hand what shots he had in mind, the artists required for it and divide the shots in a planned manner so that if an artist not required say for two hours he would tell him or her to withdraw from the set. He would not waste one full day for taking a shot making many artists wait unnecessarily. This was the reason why a busy politician cum actor like MGR preferred him for his films. His time saving ways suited MGR and Neelakantan freely exchanged views with him. A no nonsense man, he would complete a film within the budget and he was one person who did not nurture grandiose ideas in his mind and project them on the screen at huge expense. What was required from entertainment angle for a film he would certainly insist upon and get it done.
For further reading click the below image.
MGR and P.Neelakantan relationship did not start in a good way, in the first movie “Chakravarthy Thirumagal” MGR asked him to change the camera angle for a scene, so that the set will be in full view. P.Neelakantan hesitated he thought he is the Director and MGR is an actor, what MGR know about directing and camera angle. When MGR asked him to do, he got angry and left the set, one of his friend came to him and explained if that camera angle is changed nobody will notice that MGR is the person who made that change, since the credit will go to the Director.
P.Neelakantan then came to the set and changed the camera angle as planned by MGR, the scene later was praised for the camera angle. Their relationship also continued strong.
During 1982 P.Neelakantan was given the opportunity to direct Tamil Sangam period short movie. This movie was shown in World Tamil Conference. The same I have watched in my school as 16 mm film in 1984.