MGR Remembered – Part 54

An Overview of the Final 31 movies of 1970s

by Sachi Sri Kantha, December 27, 2019

Part 53

Front Note

Due to commitments in teaching, I took a five month ‘leave’ from writing this series. Since I began this series in December 2012, seven years have passed by. As evident, I have covered MGR’s life and movie career extensively to a level that has not been touched by previous authors who had attempted this theme. I’m also pleased that many attentive readers have cited this series as a source in the Wikipedia entries relating to Tamil movies and Tamil actors. This indicates the reception this series has reached with a wider audience digitally. MGR’s political career, since 1967, had been elegantly presented by biographer R. Kannan’s 2017 study. As such, for multiple reasons I don’t intend to repeat along the same lines. But, MGR’s involvement with the Eelam Tamil issue deserves recognition. As such hereafter, I intend to focus on specific themes in MGR’s life of the period from 1972 to 1987 and beyond, which have not been tackled by Kannan. I value the constant rapport and encouragement offered by Kannan and Arul M. Pandian for this series.

 

MGR in a press interview, Aug 1972

Post-Anna Period in DMK of 1970-71

Once MGR elevated his pal M. Karunanidhi as the leader of the DMK party (in preference to V.R.Nedunchezhiyan) following Annadurai’s death in February 1969, it became evident to him that Karunanidhi spent little time in promoting his self-interests in grasping the reigns of the party’s ‘machine’. Though there was formal respect and love for the ‘other brother’ for an year or so, both MGR and Karunanidhi pitted their wits to outsmart the other one. Anna’s death also saw the eclipse of the influence of other two acting heroes of DMK – namely K.R. Ramasamy and S.S. Rajendran. But, MGR proved to be a tough nut to crack for Karunanidhi. The campaign of active promotion of M.K. Muthu (b. 1948), Karunanidhi’s first son to his first wife Padmavathi, as a younger generation replacement for MGR in 1970, pissed off MGR.

Lyricist Vaali had recorded that MGR pulled his collars once, when Vaali had written a few lines in which the heroine extolled hero’s (i.e., Muthu, in his debut movie ‘Pillaiyo Pillai’ glamor, following a request from Karunanidhi to greet his son. Vaali’s lines that pricked MGR were,

‘Did the three Tamils derived from you? – You

Becoming the descendant of the Three Kings?’

Lt to Rt – Sandow Sinnappa Thevar, MGR, T.M.Soundararajan and M.S.Viswanathan

The ‘three’s in these lines refer to the categorization – Iyal (prose and poetry), Isai (music) and Nadagam (drama) as well as Chera, Chola and Pandiya Kings. MGR had quizzed Vaali, ‘Are you sure that, it’s only with Muthu, that the three Tamils got derived?’ To this query, Vaali had pouted politely, ‘Anne! M.K. Muthu is a young artist, and I was asked to write a greeting song for him. You had said many times, that ‘my Tamil’ should greet many folks…Because of that only, I wrote it. Even though he did accept my reply as reasonable, his face told me that his mind wouldn’t accept it.’

Though his father was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Muthu’s movie career flopped badly with only seven movies in a span of 5 years (1972-1977). Tamil movie fans never bothered to care for a ‘carbon-copy’ even though he was the son of the Chief Minister, while the original was still active in the stage. Suppose Muthu had shown some diligence and originality in his career, he could have given tough competition to Rajinikanth (aka Shivajirao Gaekwad, b. 1950), after MGR left the field in 1977. But, this was not to be.

Though there might have been other instances where MGR had shown open resentment to Karunanidhi’s adopted strategy of under-cutting his influence in the party, one which had appeared in print from a reliable source [comedian Cho Ramasamy, who also starred with MGR in the ‘Engal Thangam’ (Our Gold), for which MGR had agreed to act] deserves inclusion. This movie was produced by Mekala Pictures. Prominent shareholders of this company was Karunanidhi and his nephew Murasoli Maran. While Vaali had recorded that for this movie, he composed lyrics in which both MGR and Karunanidhi suggested in camaraderie, to include lines extolling the heroics of the other, for lesser known reasons, the terms between MGR and Karunanidhi had changed drastically towards the termination of the shooting phase.‘Engal Thangam’movie was released on Oct. 9, 1970. Thus, it could be assumed that the shooting of this movie commenced in the latter half of 1969. I provide a verbatim translation of what Cho Ramasamy had written in his 2007 memoirs.

Cho Ramasamy’s memoir

“On the last day of shooting for this movie, there was an incident that offered proof to show that a cold war between MGR and Karunanidhi has been in progress then. The last day of the shooting. The next day, MGR was scheduled to leave on a foreign trip. There would have been a delay in release of that movie, if we couldn’t complete that day’s shooting. The situation was that, Mekala Pictures would face difficulty in paying unnecessary interest on loan payment, problems with the film distributors.

On that day, only two small scenes need to be taken. In one, MGR had to face the stunt actors. Only two ‘shots’ remained. In the second scene, MGR and I have to take part. In this scene also, one or two ‘shots’ remained. Only one hour was needed. MGR was on time for shooting. We were under the impression that suppose, if shooting started at 9:00 am, it would be over by 10:30 am. MGR then placed a chair outside the make-up room and started talking with others cavalierly. While the producer Maran, director Panju were thinking that MGR would move to the make-up room, he simply went out in his car. Later the message came that he will return in an hour.

MGR did return. I went to him and requested ‘Sir, I doubt whether there will be a shooting or not today. If we don’t have the shooting, why should I wait? Would you please tell this to me?’

He replied, ‘Will you help me once?’

I asked, ‘What’s it sir?’

‘If you shut up, that’s more than enough. This itself is a big help.’ He refused to speak further.

I thought, ‘Suppose if MGR had opted not to have a shooting on that day, he wouldn’t have allowed me to wait there.’ But, he had asked me, not to talk to others. So, like others, I also waited.

MGR loitered around the studio. He talked casually with other handymen. Then, left in his car, saying he had to meet someone. He did everything, other than putting his make-up. Maran and Panju were worried whether there would be a shooting on that day. Time drifted to 10.00 pm. But, MGR was not keen to put the make-up. The next day, he would leave for a foreign trip. All were tensed. And none had the guts to ask him, ‘Whether there will be a shooting on that day or not?’

Eventually, around 11:00 pm. MGR put his make-up, and the shooting was over by midnight. Then, he asked me, ‘Is it clear for you, now?’ I responded, ‘No sir, I’m sleepy now.’ and left. (That ‘Engal Thangam’ was a success movie for Mekala Pictures, is another story.)

As of today, I don’t have a clue why MGR behaved liked that on that day. But, the conflicts of opinion between Karunanidhi and MGR at that time could have been the fundamental cause. But, one thing is certain. Suppose if MGR had been rude to someone, the meaning is, MGR had got an impression that particular individual had done something wrong to him. Otherwise, he wouldn’t show that sort of rudeness. That day itself, I had felt that cordiality between both [Karunanidhi and MGR] had vanished.”

 

Final 31 movies of 1970s

From 1970 to 1978, 31 movies of MGR were released. Among these 31 movies, MGR had noted two movies (Mattukara Velan in 1970 and Rickshawkaran in 1971) in his personal list of 14 that ‘turned’ his career. His memoir came to an abrupt end, after his expulsion from the DMK in October 1972. Whereas other leading heroes of Tamil movies as well as in Hollywood (such as Sivaji Ganesan, Marlon Brando and Laurence Olivier) choose to play subsidiary roles towards the end of their careers, MGR was an exception like John Wayne. Since he became a ranking hero in 1950, MGR never played a subsidiary role until his last released movie in 1978.

A chronologically arranged list of MGR movies in their order of release date, is given below. I have provided specific annotations, next to each movie.

 

Year 1970 – 5 movies

Mattukara Velan, (January 14). First movie MGR did for Madurai Jayanthi Films (N. Kanagasabai Chettiar). MGR in dual role. Kannadasan wrote 5 among the 6 lyrics, all of which were hits. Especially the T.M. Soundararajan song ‘Oru pakkam parkira – Oru kanne chaikira’ where the veshti-clad MGR describes to his pants and tie -clad counterpart, the behavior of a nubile woman with appropriate actions was titillating for young men. The Youtube link is, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLOF3vWfoGM

En Annan, (May 21) – Venus Pictures. Seven of the 8 lyrics in the movie was by Kannadasan.

Thalaivan, (July 24) – Thomas Pictures (P.A.Thomas). This movie faced production problems, according to lyricist Vaali’s memoirs. MGR had noted to Vaali, “Unlike for other movies, I had given the most number of call sheets for this movie. More than 18 months had passed: finance problem, call sheet problem, and also a particular lyric you had written when it was recorded on the first day of ‘pooja’ shooting, that turned out to be a bad omen. Vaali, the movie’s title is Thalaivan (i.e, leader). You had written a line that Thalaivan hasn’t come yet.”

Thedi Vantha Maapillai, (August 29) – Padmini Pictures (B.R. Panthulu). Remake of the 1967 Kannada movie ‘Beedi Basavanna’ by the same producer. Four of the 7 lyrics were by Kannadasan. Three lyrics were by Vaali.

Engal Thangam, (October 9) – Mekala Pictures production, owned by Karunanidhi and Murasoli Maran. Previously MGR had done two movies for Mekala Pictures, in 1953 (Naam) and 1963 (Kanchi Thalaivan). When Naam was produced, MGR and his elder brother Chakrapani were shareholders in the company, along with Karunanidhi, actor P.S.Veerappa and director A. Kasilingam. After the lack of financial success on this movie, they left. Kanchi Thalaivan movie also faced problems with the Censors, due to its title and script. As such, this movie also had mediocre success in box office. But, Engal Thangam movie turned out to be a hit with masses.

 

Year 1971 – 4 movies

Kumari Kottam (January 26) – K.C. Films (Kovai Chezhiyan).

Rickshawkaran (May 29) – Satya Movies. The first movie with Manjula (3rd Muse) as the pair. MGR received the Indian National Government ‘Bharat’ award.

Neerum Neruppum (October 18) – based on Alexandre Dumas’ 1844 novel The Corsican Brothers. But this movie is considered as a ‘flop’ by MGR’s standards. MGR in dual role.

Oru Thai Makkal (December 9) – plot adopted from ‘Ayee Milan Ki Bela’ a 1964 hit movie in Hindi.

 

Year 1972 – 6 movies

Sange Muzhangu (February 4) –Valli Films (S. Ramakrishnan). All six lyrics were written by Kannadasan (who was then at odds politically with MGR).

Nalla Neram (March 10) – The last movie MGR did for Dewar Films, thus ending a long collaboration with his pal Sandow Sinnappa Thevar that began in 1956.

Raman Thediya Seethai (April 13) – Second movie for Madurai Jayanthi Films (N. Kanagasabai Chettiar)

Naan Yaen Piranthaen (June 9) – Re-make of a 1953 Telugu movie ‘Bratuku Teruvu’. Kannadasan’s name is absent in the lyricist’s listing. Five of the 8 lyrics were by Vaali.

Annamitta Kai (September 15) – The last black and white movie of MGR.

Ithaya Veenai (October 20) – Udayam Productions of S.V.S. Manian. The first movie released after MGR’s expulsion from DMK.

 

Year 1973 – 2 movies

Ulagam Suttrum Vaaliban (May 11) – MGR’s own 3rd production, with Manjula and introducing Latha (4th Muse). MGR in dual role. The first Tamil movie to have Singapore, Thailand and Japan as foreign background in the plot. Osaka International Expo of 1970 was used for shooting.

Pattikaatu Ponniah (August 10) – MGR’s last movie with Jayalalitha as the pair; He played dual role.

 

Screen grab of a dream scene song in Urimai Kural – MGR and Latha

Year 1974 – 3 movies

Netru Inru NaaLai (July 12) – Amalraj Pictures. Produced by actor S.A. Asokan. This movie also faced production delays for various causes.

Urimai Kural (November 7) – Chitralaya of C.V. Sridhar. The first of the two movies, MGR did for director Sridhar.

Sirithu Vaazhavendum (November 30) – Udayam Productions of S.V.S. Manian.

 

Year 1975 – 4 movies

Ninaithathai Mudippavan (May 9) – The producer of this movie was Sri Lankan business magnate A.Y.S.Gnanam’s daughter Sarojini Chandrakumar. The plot was adopted from the 1970 Hindi movie, Sachcha Jhootha, of Manmohan Desai.

Naalai Namathe (July 4) Gajendra Films. This movie is a remake of 1973 Hindi movie, ‘Yaadon Ki Baaraat’. All 8 lyrics were by Vaali. MGR did use all three playback singers – T.M. Soundararajan, S.P. Balasubramaniam and K.J. Jesudas. MGR in dual role.

Ithaya Kani (August 22) – Satya Movies. Hindi actress Radha Saluja was introduced in Tamil movies.

Pallandu Vazhga (October 31) – Udayam Productions of S.V.S. Manian. The plot for this movie was adopted from 1957 Hindi movie Do Aankhen Barah Haath directed by V. Shantaram (1901-1990).

 

Year 1976 – 3 movies

Neethikku Thalai Vanangu (March 18) – Three lyricists shared the 6 lyrics in this movie; Pulamaipithan 3, Na. Kamarasan 2 and Vaali 1.

Ulaikkum Karangal (May 23) – 2nd movie for K.C. Films (Kovai Chezhiyan).

Oorukku Uzhaipavan (November 11) – Venus Pictures. MGR in a double role.

 

Screen grab of a song sequence in ‘Meenava Nanban’

Year 1977 – 3 movies

Navaratnam (March 5) – The first movie with A.P. Nagarajan as the director. This movie was considered as a ‘flop’ by MGR’s standards. Nagarajan, who was instrumental for many of the Hindu mythologicals and the Thillana Mohanambal movie starring Sivaji Ganesan moved to MGR camp, for financial reasons. But for some reason, the chemistry between MGR and Nagarajan failed to click. Nagarajan died at the age of 49 a month after the release of this movie.

Indru Pol Enrum Vazhha (May 5) – Radha Saluja’s 2nd movie as MGR’s heroine.

Meenava Nanban (August 14) – The second movie with director Sridhar, and the penultimate movie of MGR, released after he assumed the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu position on June 30, 1977.

 

Year 1978 – 1 movie

Maduraiyai Meeta Sundara Pandiyan (January 14) – The last completed movie of

MGR. The movie plot based on Tamil novelist Akilan’s Kayalvizhi. A historical costume adventure. This movie was originally planned as a production of veteran producer, director and actor B.R. Panthulu (1911-1974). After his demise, a substitute producer-financier was arranged.

 

Producers

Three movies (Ithaya Veenai, Sirithu Vazhavendum and Pallandu Vazhga) MGR did for Udayam Productions, sponsored by travel writer S.V.S. Manian (earlier associated with the Ananda Vikatan weekly) and MGR’s ghost writer Vidwan Lakshmanan. In 1970s, Manian had taken on the role of advisor, location tracker and handyman to MGR. He was the one MGR relied in arranging his trip to Japan in 1970 (during the Osaka Expo period) to spot locations for shooting his own movie Ulagam Suttrum Vaaliban. MGR also did two movies each for Jayanthi Films, Madurai (producer N. Kanagasabai Chettiar), K.C. Films (producer Kovai Chezhiyan Gounder, who also associated with MGR in his ADMK party), Satya Movies (producer, R.M.Veerappan, who was MGR’s Man Friday), Venus Pictures, and Chitralaya (director Sridhar). One movie MGR completed for his villain actor pal S.A. Asokan (Amalraj Pictures) did face production problems of an unusual kind, but was released in 1974.

 

Propaganda War with Karunanidhi

Among the 16 movies, released from 1973 to 1978, after he established his breakaway party Anna DMK [ADMK], only two movies deserve specific discussion. His own third production, Ulagam Suttrum Vaaliban (1973) and Urimai Kural (1974), an opportunity MGR offered to rescue director C.V. Sridar (1933-2008), from the latter’s financial debacle. Sridhar had reminisced thankfully in his memoir, how MGR had helped him at a difficult phase of his career, even after Sivaji Ganesan had turned his back on him. Sridhar had acknowledged that it was his pal and Hindi actor Rajendrakumar (1929-1999), who insisted on Sridhar to ‘go to MGR’ for help.

In the other 14 movies, MGR simply played the ‘role of MGR’, a la John Wayne playing John Wayne in varied settings. Plots of all movies were in the mold for his party propaganda. His characters appeared in gaudy colored costumes, frolicking with his 3rd and 4th muses, namely Manjula (1953-2013) and Latha (b. 1953). Most of the movie titles were chosen by MGR to suit his needs of the time in the public arena. Examples, ‘Netru Inru NaaLai’ [Yesterday, Today Tomorrow], ‘Urimai Kural’ [Appropriate Voice], ‘Naalai Namathe’ [Tomorrow is Ours], ‘Ulaikkum Karangal [The Hands that labors], ‘Oorukku Uzhaipavan’ [One who works for the Village], ‘Meenava Nanban’ [Friend of Fisherman]. Why this has to be so?

Critic M.S.S. Pandian offers the answer: “In the post-1972 period,…the DMK leaders time and again unsuccessfully reminded the people that MGR’s cinema and his politics were different…During the initial days of the ADMK, the DMK press and the DMK party functionaries, including M. Karunanidhi, referred to ADMK as Nadigar Katchi [Party of the Actor]. A number of DMK propaganda songs of this period derided cinema as misleading.”

This was simply a case of pot calling the kettle black. Karunanidhi himself as well as other leading functionaries of DMK party including Anna, gained much mileage using cinema to make themselves ‘seen and heard’. Tamil voters punished Karunanidhi three times in the general elections of 1977, 1980 and 1984 for such an unwarranted aggression on MGR.

 

Choice of Supporting Cast

MGR had parted company with his 2nd muse Jayalalitha (1948-2016) in 1973. While Jayalalitha was the heroine in 10 of the 31 movies released between 1970-78, Latha topped her with 11 movies and Manjula followed her with 5 movies. In two movies (Ulagam Suttrum Vaaliban and Ninaithai Mudithavan), both Manjula and Latha shared equal billing. K.R. Vijaya (b. 1948) and Vanisri (b. 1948) had two movies each as heroines. For some fancy reason, MGR also introduced Radha Saluja (a Hindi actress) as his heroine in two of his movies, Ithayakani and Indru Pol Endrum Vaazhga. It might have been to gain little notice in the Hindi-speaking states, for his newly found ADMK party. Saluja received prominent notice in her 1971 Hindi movie Doraha, as a victim of a rape scene by the villain.

Though he was loyal to his five leading villain stars (M.N. Nambiar, P.S.Veerappa, S.A.Asokan, R.S.Manohar and S.V. Ramadas) who were retained for duels with him in the movie plots, MGR introduced ‘new’ faces for lyricists and playback singing. Even though he was at odd with Kannadasan in the political sphere, MGR did treat Kannadasan with respect, and allowed him to compose lyrics to the discomfort of movie producers and distributors. (see below, Sridhar’s account of this angle). While Vaali was retained for a quota of songs, MGR introduced and promoted Pulamai Pithan (b. 1935), Na. Kamarasan (1942-2017) and poet Muthulingam (b. 1942). Voices that propelled MGR’s policies in 1950s and 1960s (T.M. Soundararajan and Sirkazhi Govindarajan) were eclipsed with S.P. Balasubramaniam and K.J. Jesudas for duet songs. Nevertheless, the voice of T.M. Soundararajan continued to sing MGR’s policy songs.

Sridhar had mentioned an episode of MGR’s magnanimity to Kannadasan and appreciation of his poetic talent, in the inclusion of his lyrics for the Urimai Kural movie. Excerpts from Sridhar’s description are translated below:

“As usual, the music for ‘Urimai Kural’ was composed by M.S. Viswanathan (M.S.V). Then, the relationship between MGR and Kannadasan was not cordial. As such, I thought of informing MGR beforehand that Kannadasan would write the lyrics for this movie. He responded with open mind, ‘Of course, allow him to write. I don’t have any objection to that.’

Then, with M.S.V., and Kannadasan, I also joined and two songs were tuned. These were, ‘Vizhiye – Kathai Ezhuthu’ [Eyes – write a story] and ‘Ambalaingala…Neenga Ambalaingala’ [Guys …Are you Guys?]. I sent the recorded cassette of these songs to MGR. He replied that both songs seems good.”

The Youtube clips for these two songs are as follows:

 ‘Vizhiye Kathai Ezhuthu’ song – Urimai Kural (1974), sung by K.J. Jesudas and P. Susheela

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzjTUG4oAgw

‘Ambilangala Ninga Ambilangala’ song – Urimai Kural (1974), sung by L.R. Eswari.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=husjVNdKpvY

 

Sridhar continued further.

“Within the next few days, MGR went on a trip to Mauritius island. During that time, a newspaper published a harshly critical article on MGR written by Kannadasan. This article was much talked about, and I faced a tough situation. What would happen, when MGR returned from Mauritius and asked me, ‘Do you need Kannadasan? Or MGR? You decide.’

So, I called MGR on phone. After listening to me, MGR responded. ‘I don’t have any objection for Kannadasan writing lyrics. But, if you doubted that merely because there is friction between me and Kannadasan, and my fans wouldn’t accept it, and requested another lyricist for a song, It’s your decision. You can do as you wish. I’ll not think on it.’

Situation became complex for me. I couldn’t make an immediate decision. I consulted with film distributors, let them hear the song, and informed them about MGR’s view. They responded, ‘songs are good. But, don’t use it for this MGR movie. You can use it elsewhere. For this MGR movie, ask someone else to write a lyric. I had to accept their view as well, because they are respected for knowing the beat of the fans….Because of my friendship with Kannadasan, I was able to convince him. He also knew my financial debacle. Then, I asked Vaali to write another lyric.

MGR returned from Mauritius, and I explained the situation to him. He looked at me straight. That ‘look’ was unusual. He looked me from head to toe and retorted,

‘Even after I had told you that I don’t have any objection of Kannadasan writing the lyric, it’s your wish that you do what you like. You had asked Vaali to write. It’s true, I said that I’ll not interfere with your decision. Nevertheless, based on my experience, I tell you, those two lyrics of Kannadasan were excellent. If you use them here, it will be a hit.’

After hearing these words, I was dumbfounded. Film distributors unanimously say to omit Kannadasan songs. But MGR says the opposite. Without further complications, I eventually decided to follow MGR’s advice. I used both lyrics for Urimai Kural movie, and I need not tell you that both became hits.”

Sridhar’s memoirs were published long after Kannadasan and MGR had died. As such, his recording of MGR’s respect and magnanimity to Kannadasan’s poetry for posterity deserve appreciation. Sridhar’s other thoughts on MGR’s approach to film making (other than philanthropic mindset) will be presented in forthcoming chapters.

Among the 31 movies of 1970s, character actors V.K. Ramasamy (1926-2002), V.S. Raghavan (1925-2015) and Major Sundararajan (1925-2003) took over from the old guard T.S. Balaiah, K. Sarangapani, M.R.Radha, M.G. Chakrapani (elder sibling), S.V. Ranga Rao and K.A. Thangavelu, who were regulars in MGR’s movies of 1950s and 1960s. Nevertheless, even in his final movie, Maduraiyai Meeeta Sundara Pandiyan, MGR offered opportunity to old timers S.V. Sahasranamam (1913-1988) and S.V. Subbiah (1920-1980), with whom he acted in 1940s! For comedy and side kick roles, the assignments of J.P. Chandrababu and C.K. Nagesh were picked up mostly by Thengai Srinivasan, Cho Ramasamy and Isari Velan.

One actor deserves special mention. That is, K.P. Ramakrishnan (b. 1930), who served MGR as bodyguard and body double. As the above list indicates, MGR had played many dual roles in 1970s. Wherever there is a dual role for MGR, Ramakrishnan’s share was inevitable. Even in other movies, he received credit as an extra in the fighting scenes. As long as MGR was alive, Ramakrishnan’s contribution to dual roles remained somewhat hidden to the public. Now 32 years had passed since MGR’s death, media had reached him, due to such a vicarious association he had with MGR. For those who want to listen Ramakrishnan’s memories of MGR, a link to the Youtube clip of Ramakrishnan’s 51 min talk is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVy0DnzSRWE&t=311s

 

Three Questions answered to the press in 1972

MGR answered three questions in August 1972, two months before his expulsion from the DMK party. For record, I provide translations of the questions and answers below:

Question 1: To show that there is no difference of opinion between you and Sivaji Ganesan, how about if both act in a same movie?

MGR: (smilingly) Do you sincerely believe that if the movie in which both of us appear, will really be completed? I know the technicalities of movie making. Sivaji also knows the same. How to place a camera in which angle, to project importance to the character portrayed, we both know. Suppose if camera is placed to make him prominent, will I cooperate? Similarly, will he cooperate if the situation is reversed? Will the movie be completed? Even if the movie was completed and released, will the fans of us be tolerant? Who will be responsible, when there is bloodshed in theater?

Question 2: There is talk that you have contracted one actress for 5 years, and had refused permission for her to act with other actors?

MGR: Why you are beating around the bush? Why not mention Manjula? I’m the one who encouraged her to act with other actors. Shouldn’t I be proud about the one who trained under me, can act with other actors?

Question 3: There is talk that release of your movies get delayed, and you are the reason for it?

MGR: Suppose if I’m the reason for the delay in the release of my movies, I should have released my own production ‘Ulagam Suttrum Vaaliban’ already. In reality, ‘Ulagam Suttrum Vaaliban’ which has been in production for many months, gets released in September. But, ‘Ithaya Veenai’ of Udayam Productions which was started recently gets released for Deepavali. Therefore, I’m not responsible for the delays. It depends on multiple factors.

Though MGR had stated in this interview that his production ‘Ulagam Suttrum Vaaliban’ would be released in September 1972, it got delayed further (as presented earlier) and was released only in May 1973.

 

Cited Sources

Ravi Prakash and Rajah: Ananda Vikatan – Pokkisham, Vikatan Pirasuram 632, 2nd ed., 2013, pp. 48-49.

  1. Kannan: MGR – A Life, Penguin Random Hous India, Gurgaon, Haryana, 2017.

M.S.S.Pandian: The Image Trap – M.G. Ramachandran in Film and Politics, Sage Publications, New Delhi, 1992, pp. 122-123.

Ramanujam S. Meet L.P. Ramakrishnan: MGR’s bodyguard and body double. The Hindu (Chennai), Dec.24, 2018. https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/meet-the-man-who-played-mgrs-double-in-films/article25817802.ece

K.P. Ramakrishnan: MGR and KPR. Vanakkam Malaysia. Recorded on Apr.8, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVy0DnzSRWE&t=311s

Cho Ramasamy: Athishtam thantha Anupavankal (Experiences offered by the Luck), Alliance Co, Chennai, 3rd ed., 2008, pp. 103-110. (in Tamil)

Sridhar: Thirumpip Parkiren [Looking Back], scripted by S.Chandramouli, Arunthathi Nilayam, Chennai, 2002, pp. 323-325, 340-343.

Vaalee: Naanum Intha Nootraandum [This Century and Me], Kalaignan Pathipagam, Madras, 1995, pp. 261-264, 272-273.

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  1. Arul

    It is amazing to know that post 1970 is one of the most productive decade in MGR’s career. Even today Ulagam Sutrum Valiban is an amazing movie to watch. I still remember seeing that movie in theatre with the awestruck fans. In particular underwater photography in that movie song is still a novelty.
    Another movie is Ninaithathai Mudippavan wherein a song picturization still amazes me. MGR at that age demonstrates great physical ability by carrying heroine on his back on top of an Yacht.
    Thanks Dr. Sachi for takins us down the memory lane!

    Reply

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