Sri MGR Year 97, 23rd October, Thursday
A fitness trainer from Coimbatore Sukumaran met M.G.Ramachandran for the last time 29 years ago, his memories of the movie star turned politician are vivid. MGR was keen on being fit and encouraged Sukumaran to start a fitness centre. Whenever they met at Circuit House in Coimbatore, MGR spoke of the importance of good health.
A passing mention of MGR gets Sukumaran excited. According to him, MGR has no parallel in the political world and his philanthropy has no substitute. His adoration of MGR is very much visible in his house, office, fitness centre and even in his car.
Old photographs of him with MGR are displayed on the front and back of his car. A board that sits atop his car says his gym was started with the blessings of MGR.
His house and gym have virtually turned into MGR museums and photos of the charismatic politician adorn the walls. I have a two-wheeler and that also has a rare photo of MGR,'' says Sukumaran. His visiting card carries a black and white photograph in which MGR shakes his hand.
It was actor 'Philevan' Ranganathan who introduced me to MGR when I was just 20 years old. Ranganathan was the fitness advisor of MGR and they shared a rare camaraderie. As I was trained under Ranganathan, it was easy for me to approach MGR.
According to him, MGR was totally against consumption of liquor and tobacco. He wanted all of us to convince youngsters against using intoxicants. On one occasion he gave a written statement urging people to keep fit, which Sukumaran has displayed in his health centre.
The above article appeared in Times of India dated 18th January 2012.