Espousing and Exhibiting Religiosity
by Sachi Sri Kantha, July 9, 2022
Fellow MGR biographer R. Kannan’s comments, on Part 66, received on May 16th , was as follows:
“Again a very interesting take on MGR’s autobiography meticulously listing those whom he had called friends and those he addressed as siblings and the few adversaries he had deigned to list. It is also interesting that you would observe that the book version may have omitted a few things from the original Ananda Vikadan series. All this requires a researcher’s diligence but also much passion.”
My response, sent on the following day was,
“As for your thoughts, on the probable omissions on the 2014 published version of MGR autobiography, I vaguely suspected it. I wanted to elaborate on it, but left it out. Here is my suspicion. Have you heard about playback singer A.G. Ratnamala, who was rumored as the common-law wife of Sivaji Ganesan. She was the one, who sang the famous song ‘Pogathe pogathe en kanava‘ [Do not go – do not go – my husband] in the Veerapandiya Katta Pomman movie. I have heard this rumor in 1960s, when I was a school boy – from some ‘rumor’ column in a weekly magazine. But, now I’ve forgotten where I read this Sivaji-Ratnamala link.
Then, last year, I read a series of articles (in the net) about MGR’s writing assistant Ravindar and Nagore city, written in Tamil. The title was ‘MGR-um Engal oor kararum‘. The writer Abdul Qaiyum was referring to Ravindar’s link to cinema, via his affiliation to MGR. In it, there was this story about Ratnamala, which I had heard about more than 50 years ago. Until then, I haven’t even seen Ratnamala’s photo.
It provided some details about MGR-Sivaji and Ratnamala. In fact, Ratnamala was then affiliated to MGR’s drama troupe. It was mentioned in this article, that it was MGR who had openly divulged the secret, by writing in his series.
Now, one wonders WHY MGR had to ‘out’ Sivaji affair into open then (circa 1970-72)? Was it for any political reason? And this description about MGR outing Sivaji’s affair with Ratnamala, is missing in the 2014 published version….”
Those interested can check the following link, for additional details. [https://nagoori.wordpress.com/tag/ரவீந்தர்-7/]
Playback singer A.G. Ratnamala
Some details about stage actress-singer A.G. Ratnamala is available in this link as well.
But, her relationship with actor Sivaji Ganesan had been omitted. I provide these details here, for the reason that Ratnamala was also a woman member of MGR’s drama troupe in early 1950s; when I covered 1950s, in this series these details were missed inadvertently.
According to the above cited Ravindar item by Abdul Qaiyum, MGR had replaced Ratnamala from the heroine role in the Idintha Koyil [Demolished Temple] drama with G. Shakuntala. However, a drama poster for Idintha Koyil, appearing in Ravindar’s memoir, (presented nearby) to be staged on Oct 3 and Oct 4, 1953 in Tiruchi, includes the name of A. Ratnamala. Apart from MGR, other notable artistes who had acted in this drama, include M.G. Chakrapani, K.A. Thangavelu, M.K. Mustafa and N.M. Muthukoothan. A photo, of MGR’s drama troupe (circa 1950s) is also presented nearby. Among those seated in the 2nd row, from left to right, actor M.K. Mustafa (3rd), MGR (5th), M.G. Chakrapani (6th), Ravindar (8th) and R.M. Veerapan (9th). We can also check 5 women, in the 3rd row. I may be wrong, but it’s my guess that the woman circled in blue was Ratnamala.
Ratnamala’s special niche was singing comedy duets for comedian female pair, in combination with S.C. Krishnan, A.L. Raghavan and J.P. Chandrababu. One of her duet songs with A.L. Raghavan was in MGR’s hit movie ‘Thirudathe’ (Do Not Steal, 1961), where a male-female pair of street singers, tease MGR- Sarojadevi couple, with the lines ‘Azhagana chinnapennu poguthu – paarthal pazhagatha jodi pola thonuthu.’ The Youtube link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIGIWoRi4hU
Ratnamala died on July 3, 2007, at the age of 76. Coincidentally, Sivaji Ganesan’s legal wife Kamala also died few months later in Nov. 2, 2007, aged 68. Homonyms are confusing for many movie fans. Tamil playback singer and stage actress A.G. Ratnamala should not be confused with Hindi – Marathi actress with the same stage name. This actress’s birth name was Kamal Bhiwandkar. She was married to actor Raja Pandit. Her lifespan was from 1924 to 1989.
Towards the Final Decade 1977-1987
MGR became a full-fledged politician in 1977 By mid-1977, he was elected as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, in preference to his pal turned foe Karunanidhi. Thus, he had to wind up his movie commitments, before assumption to the Chief Minister position. For two specific reasons, I still want to review MGR’s movies, in preference to his political activities. First is, his politics was influenced by his movie career and interaction with his fans. And, he had spent a continuous four decades in the arena; and three decades as the ‘uncrowned king’ of mass appeal in Tamil movies. Thus, his movie life deserves more space in my treatment. Secondly, MGR’s political career had been amply covered by my friend R. Kannan in the 2017 biography. Being distant to the original sources and individuals who had interacted with MGR in person, I cannot do better than Kannan’s treatment. Apart from Kannan, two 1992 books published of M.S.S. Pandian and K.Mohandas (portrayed as MGR’s Man Friday, in law enforcement) also focus on specific aspects on MGR’s politics. As such, in my treatment of MGR’s final 10 years of politics, I have opted to specifically focus on how MGR handled Eelam Tamil issue during his tenure.
77hy7hIn this chapter, I revisit few details about MGR’s angle on religion that has not been covered in depth by either Kannan or M.S.S. Pandian. Some details about MGR movie lyrics have been presented earlier in part 50 of this series, (https://sangam.org/mgr-remembered-part-50/).
Two Influential Figures on MGR’s Theism
In many instances in his autobiography, MGR had described his illiterate mother Satyabhama’s strong belief on God(s), and how this belief seeped in his mind, his decisions and acts, until she was living. In chapter 78, MGR had written how his mother slapped him, when he used abusive words on Goddess Kali, his mother had earnestly prayed. This incident probably happened in late 1930s, when he and his brother were struggling to find ‘work’ in movies, and MGR was in his early 20s! To quote,
“… After returning home, I was only angry with this Kali. And somehow I had openly mentioned this to mother. What I told was this,
‘Don’t you have a job? Simply praying to this stone, and offering food, songs and frolic! Everything should be broken!’
Whether I stopped speaking, or was it stopped, I don’t know. So as I couldn’t continue further, I was slapped repeatedly in both my cheeks. Mother couldn’t tolerate this nonsense.
‘Hey boy! Have you grown up to ridicule the God? How could God help you, if you had lost your sense? It’s for both of you to live well, that I pray to God on one side. Now, you say, to break the idol? What’s the use in praying. [You] don’t have confidence in your skill. Aiyo! This son has been born to me. He had received the curse from the God. I was frightened then. Now, Goddess Kali had avenged me.’….
Whole day long, mother was cussing me. My brother [then] pacified her.
‘Amma, what’s this? Why you are cussing him? Do you wish him to go wrong?…Will you be silent for a while?’
Mother, still angry, but talked to us crying. ‘He wouldn’t suffer, just because I’m cussing him. They say, the young chick will not die, when it’s mother steps on it…How beautifully, she had mentioned the metaphor. – the link between the mother and the child, or the connection between the God and his followers…”
Though MGR had got acquainted with Anna and other Dravidar Kazhagam activists like D.V. Narayanaswamy in 1946, and subsequently with Karunanidhi in 1947, he still remained non-committed in joining the DMK when it was founded in 1949. In my inference, one of the un-stated reasons why MGR postponed joining DMK could have been that he did NOT wish to displease his aging and ailing mother by joining a group that was promoted as atheist party. MGR himself had stated specifically, as follows: “It is true, as for me, my mother is the reason for all my deeds. It is not an exaggeration to state that, what she had enforced in my mind remain still useful to me.” Only after his mother’s death in 1952, MGR took the eventual decision to join the DMK.
Another influential God-loving figure in MGR’s life was his friend, and movie producer Sandow M.M.A. Sinnappah Thevar. A temperamental, stern task master and philanthropist Thevar was an avid devotee of Lord Murugan. He became a producer in 1956, and until 1972, Thevar produced 16 movies with MGR in 17 years. MGR had included, the second Thevar produced movie ‘Thai Sollai Thattate’ [Don’t Reject Mother’s Words, 1961] as the 7th lucky movie in his career.
Thorny issue of Sivaji Ganesan’s exit from DMK in 1957
Did MGR played a big hand in ‘chasing out’ Sivaji Ganesan from DMK in 1957, following the sensitive issue of Sivaji Ganesan’s visit to Tirupathi temple, to promote himself as the ‘numero uno’ actor in the party? This was Karunanidhi’s accusation in 1987, after he fell out with MGR. Though the main principals (Kannadasan, MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, Sampath, Karunanidhi) involved had died, as this issue relates to MGR’s religiosity, it’s worth a revisit via what had been expressed by them, in their autobiographies. Among the five mentioned above, apart from Sampath, other four (linked with Tamil movie industry) had published their autobiographies. I checked what had been stated about this thorny issue. No specific reference to this Tirupathi temple visit issue of Sivaji Ganesan appears in the autobiographies of MGR and Kannadasan. Only Karunanidhi and Sivaji Ganesan had presented their impressions. These are given below.
Karunanidhi’s 1987 version on MGR’s hand
“While I’m writing this, the [state] government is ruled by All India Anna DMK, with (my) friend MGR as the chief minister. Frequently, chief minister MGR visits the Moohambikai temple in another state. Openly, he argues that it’s his right to visit that temple and pray. But, what happened in 1953? When the news appeared in the newspapers that actor Sivaji Ganesan had visited Tirupathi temple, it was the same MGR who kindled the clique that opposed such a visit. Opposing propaganda was strengthened to the level that instead of Sivaji Ganesan, [he was called as] Tirupathi Ganesan. Due to this, Sivaji had to quit the party. Even then, with subservience, he released a statement, ‘I cannot follow them. As such, with modesty, I’ll drop out.’
Those who were responsible for his [Sivaji Ganesan] departure, those who worked actively, there are many in MGR’s party. Pour souls. They simply cannot open their mouth now, about MGR visiting the Moohambikai temple frequently.”
Sivaji Ganesan’s version is somewhat at variance to what Karunanidhi had written. In fact, indirectly he had pointed fingers at Karunanidhi himself. One point to note was that Karunanidhi never raised this particular issue until 1972, while MGR remained as a DMK leader.
Sivaji Ganesan’s variant (posthumously published) version in 2007
Question and answer format was adopted in this particular memoir, with Sivaji Ganesan providing answers, to questions asked by Narayanaswamy. Two questions which deal with this particular issue, and Sivaji Ganesan’s responses were as follows:
‘Q: In 1957 when you were riding high as an actor, you had gone to Tirupati on one occasion. Some publications poked fun referring to you as, ‘Tirupati Ganesa, Govinda, hinting that it could be the reason for your removal from the DMK. What are your comments on that?
Sivaji: Some people’s lives unfold like a story. When I was with Anna between 1948-49, the DK movement was facing a crisis. It was at this time that Anna split the DK to form the DMK. Some of us left Periyar and joined the DMK. What emerged as a result was a political maelstrom, I remained loyal to the ideologies of both Anna and Periyar without joining either party.
A few years later in 1956, the mother of all storms hit Tamil Nadu had disrupted normal life for many persons. Arignar Anna appealed to all of us to raise funds for flood relief. I raised funds in my individual capacity. I spoke the Parasakti dialogue in Virudhunagar and collected the money that was placed on the cloth that I spread out for this purpose. The first to donate was a man from the Nadar community. I handed over the collections to the party and left for Salem for a shoot. Anna was conducting a function to felicitate the person who raised the maximum collection. I called my mother from Salem and asked if anyone had invited me to attend the function which was to be held that day. She replied in the negative.
I left for Chennai post haste and reached at four in the evening. I waited at home presuming that someone would telephone or invite me personally for the function but there was no communication. The function took place at six in the evening and for the first time MGR was called on stage and honoured. Such irony! It was I who had collected maximum funds, but the honour went to MGR.
Anna had apparently asked the party workers why I was not present and he was told that I was unable to make it! Some elements hovering around Anna wanted to send me away from him. Kalignar was also present. We were so close, yet he was unable to insist that I be invited. Well! What could he do?
No one acknowledged my presence, a fact which unsettled me. I had always been patient, and impervious to all insults but this incident drove me crazy. I had been part of this movement; from the time I was very young, and without warning, I was dismissed as someone of no consequence and my anna MGR, admitted instead. He was not in the least bit connected with this movement at that point. They did this just to sideline me. This is the truth and I swear by it. Many were aware of these facts but for reasons best known to them kept the truth under wraps. I wish to disclose everything. The autobiography is like my last will so I do not wish that anything be hidden.
Q: Did you question Anna about this?
Sivaji Ganesan: No. I was depressed for a long time. My good friend director Bhimsingh suggested that we visit Tirupathi. ‘Sivaji bhai, why do you sit brooding? Let’s go’. I told him that I was not in the mood to pray to God and why did I need to visit Tirupati? I am not really a temple person, but Bhimsingh was persistently persuasive and we set off for Thirupathi. With heavy rains the roads were flooded but we reached our destination without misadventure. We attended Vishvaroopa darshan at four in the morning. A Dina Thanthi reporter called Iyengar, was responsible for the screaming headlines in the paper: ‘The atheist Ganesan has turned into a lover of God’! I found when we returned to Chennai in the evening that they had scrawled ‘Tirupathi Ganesa Govinda’ [footnote: Govinda = one of the divine names of Lord Vishnu. Normally used to tease someone who has lost something.] all over the place. Do you think for a moment that an ordinary party worker writes these words? No. Someone instigates them to do this. My head was buzzing with these thoughts, till my friend Bhimsingh pacified me and advised me not to worry. ‘People are capable of scurrilous writing. You ae a top notch actor with the highest ideals. Don’t dwell on this.’
The wives and daughters of the men who instigated the writing of these words, now perform ‘angapradakshanam’ (footnote: fulfilling of a vow by rolling on the ground round the sanctum sanctorum of the temple) at Tirupathi. Can anyone question them? People say one thing and do something else. Everything is a sham…”
These answers of Sivaji Ganesan sheds more light on what had been distorted by Karunanidhi. In fact, the last paragraph of the answer to 2nd question, points the finger towards Karunanidhi, and not MGR! – “The wives and daughters of the men who instigated the writing of these words…” MGR did not have daughters, but Karunanidhi had. Sivaji Ganesan also mentions that though he was close to Periyar and Anna, ‘I have never been a member of the DK or DMK.’ Thus being a non-member in the party, Sivaji Ganesan himself made it easier for those who wanted him to be ‘punished’ (if that was the appropriate word) for his indiscretions. In reality, those who wished to push out Sivaji Ganesan during 1950s were E.V.K. Sampath and Kannadasan, There was some bad blood between them and Sivaji Ganesan then.
One suggested reason was after Sivaji Ganesan entered the film world, he was busy in acting the drama ‘Sivaji Kanda Indu Samrajyam’ (essayed originally by him), for party funds. As such, occasionally, Sampath had to substitute the Sivaji role in the drama. But, fans were not so appreciative of the acting talent exhibited Sampath. This made him antagonize Sivaji Ganesan, in a tinge of jealousy; he also had repeatedly griped that the actors in the party were ‘stealing the show’, by their flamboyance and fan circle. Ironically, when Sampath and Kannadasan left DMK in 1961 to form their splinter Tamil Nationalist Party, it was Sivaji Ganesan’s turn to join them.
Sivaji Ganesan’s specific mention of the ‘Dina Thanthi’ newspaper reporter (one Iyengar), who embellished his temple visit story to create friction also deserves a note. S.B. Adithan, the proprietor of ‘Dina Thanthi’, was a guy whom MGR considered as his adversary in 1950s and 1960s. (see, Part 66 https://sangam.org/mgr-remembered-part-66/) But, Adithan was favorably viewed and assisted by Karunanidhi during that period. Despite MGR’s strong reservations, Karunanidhi even included Adithan in his Cabinet of 1971. Thus, it’s beyond logic to infer that MGR joined hands with his adversary, to displace Sivaji Ganesan from DMK in 1957.
Lyricist Vaali on MGR’s Religiosity
In his memoirs, lyricist Vaali provides two comments on MGR’s religiosity. To quote,
“Not many know, but I state here. Like me, MGR, who introduced and popularized my name to the Tamils, also is full of religious sentiments. As much as I know, at anytime, he never accepted atheism. Due to circumstances, he might have opted not to drum beat his religiosity, at one instance he showed himself as a devotee of Goddess Mookambigai.”
One specific incident Vaali recorded relates to the time, when MGR was in DMK party, and Vaali was a neophyte to the movie world. Translation of what Vaali had written follows:
“At the Vauhini studio, a song for ‘Enga Veetu Pillai’ was being recorded. While Messers Visvanathan and Ramamoorthy were arranging, and Mr. T.M.S(oundarajan) and Mrs. L.R. Eswari were singing ‘Naan manthopil ninrirunthaen’, in the recording room, with actor-singer Mr. K.R. Ramasamy, MGR was appreciating the song. Instantly, he called me to talk something private and walked me towards a shaded tree, from the recording theater.
I was surprised when he told, ‘Vaali – I’m facing a difficult situation, because of you’.
With concern, I asked him, ‘what’s the matter, Anne’?
MGR quipped softly and pleadingly. ‘When you come to studio, can’t you come without adorning yourself with holy ash in forehead?’
I asked him; ‘What Anne? Why this request?’
MGR expanded a little. ‘Vaali – you are not a DMK member. I do know that you are not involved in politics. You write lyrics to me. You have promoted yourself with your talent. I use you, because you write well. But, because I’m encouraging you, few elders in the party like Mr. N.V. Natarajan are sniping me lightly, why should I encourage a Vaali who wears holy ash openly, when there are many other lyricists in the party. I’m reluctant to leave you. Because of this, you are free to live in whatever manner at your home. But, when you are in public, I’d prefer if you appear without holy ash, as per our party’s principles.’
After MGR mentioned this, I was silent for a while, and then explained my position to him.
‘Anne! I’m an ardent devotee of Lord Murugan. It was this Murugan, who helped me to join you. As such, I cannot avoid holy ash. You should not face such a difficult situation because of me, I’ll side step.’
MGR held my two hands then, and said: ‘OK, let’s leave this now. Let’s return to the theater. Because he respected my feelings, my esteem and respect to him increased much.’
MGR’s Near Death Experience (NDE)
In January 1967, MGR faced a Near Death Experience (NDE), when his senior contemporary M.R. Radha attempted to shoot him. It is not an exaggeration to infer that this traumatic experience would have a positive influence on his religiosity. There are reports in medical journals, such as that of McLaughlin and Malony 1984 study in South California, that individuals who had experienced NDE, tends to become more religious after the events. The mean age of 40 individuals (28 women and 12 men) interviewed for this study was 46 years. MGR was nearing 50, when he faced the NDE.
Twelve movie songs with pro-God sentiments
I counted 12 solo song lyrics, composed by MGR’s lyricists (Tanjai Ramaiahdas, Kannadasan, Maruthakasi, Vaali, and Poovai Senguttuvan) with pro-God sentiments, set for MGR characters. In these songs, the generic words kadavul or iraivan or theivam (for ‘God’) have been tactfully chosen, in the lead lines. The singer of all the lyrics, except one, was none other than T.M. Soundararajan. The exception was the song, ‘Aathi kadavul onre than’ in Raja Desingu (1960) movie, sung by Sirkazhi Govindarajan.
In quite a few songs, MGR image would appear simultaneously in two frames of the song sequence; while one frame portrays the troubled soul, presented in black clothes; the other frame portrays this soul’s conscience, presented in white clothes offers advice to the troubled soul.
Kadavul irukinran athu un kannuku therikinratha – ‘Ananda Jothi’ movie, 1963
‘There is a God; Can you see that?’
Kadavul seitha paavam inku kaanum thunbam yaavum– ‘Nadodi’ movie, 1966
‘The sin done by the God – are the bad things we see here’
Annaiyum pithavum munari theivam – ‘Thaiku Pin Thaaram’ movie, 1956.
‘Mother and Father are the Gods we see in front’.
Lyrics Tanjai Ramaiah Das
Aathi kadavul onre thaan – athai kaana mudiyathu – Raja Desingu movie, 1960.
‘In early times, there is only one God – one cannot see it’
Poyum poyum manithanukku intha puthiyai koduthane – Thai Sollai Thattate movie, 1961.
‘Why on earth, the God give intelligence to man’
Vivasayee – Vivasayee – Kadavul enum muthalali – ‘Vivasayee’ movie, 1967
‘Farmer – farmer – The God as a boss did find a farmer as his work hand’
Kadavul yaen kallanan manam kallai pona manitharkalale– ‘En Annan’ movie, 1970
‘Why did God became a stone? – Because of the mind of folks which turned into stones’
Kadavul Vaazhuthu paadum – ‘Neerum Neruppum’ movie, 1971
‘The morning breeze will greet the God’
In a few songs, God is simply addressed in the third person male singular word, as ‘Avan’ (He); but, understood as an euphemism for God. Most popular among this type is
Koduthatellam koduthaan – avan yarukkaha koduthan – ‘Padahotti’ movie, 1964
‘He had given all- To whom, did he give?’
Down the lyric of this song, another generic word ‘theivam’ does appear.
Vaali had reminisced in his memoirs that this particular lyric was first rejected by the elite Communist circle (which included novelist D. Jayakanthan) of producers for their movie ‘Paathai Theriyuthu Paar’ (1960). Then, he used it for MGR’s movie, and it became one of the best hit song for decades. (see, Part 50 of this series, https://sangam.org/mgr-remembered-part-50/)
A derisive song on God, with the ‘Avan’ (He) euphemism was written by lyricist Kannadasan, ‘Avanukkenna thoongi viddan – ahapaddavan naan allava’ – ‘Periya Idathu Penn’ movie (1963). The title lines read, ‘He simply had slept – But I was the one who got caught’. The Youtube link is
Few other songs include the names of Buddha and Jesus, as well as Mahatma Gandhi. But, down the lyric, the generic word ‘theivam’ (God) does appear.
‘Buddhan Yaesu Gandhi piranthatu poomiyil etharkaga’ – ‘Chandrodayam’ movie, 1966.
‘Why did Buddha, Jesus and Gandhi were born in the world?’
‘Naan unga veedu pillai – ithu oor arintha unmai’ – Puthiya Bhoomi (1968) movie
‘I’m your own child – this is well known in the village’
Lyrics: Poovai Senguttuvan
The generic words theivam (God) and kovil (temple) appears in the line,
‘Kovil enral kopuram kaatum theivam undu ange’ [If it’s a temple, there’s the God in the gateway]The second line of this lyric was ‘Naan sellukinra paathai, – Perarignar kaatum paathai’ [The path I follow is the path pointed by great scholars]. Though, the combined word Perarignar can be interpreted either in it’s generic form as great scholar or specifically to DMK leader Anna, whose identifiable moniker was ‘Arignar’ (scholar) Subsequently, a particular line of this lyric reads ‘Pirantha naade sirantha kovil Pesum mozhiye Theivam’, i.e.: One’s land of birth is the best temple; one’s speaking language is the God.
Last but not the least, the folk song-dance sequence ‘Ayee Malaikannie Aangara Theviye Apirama sunthari’’ appearing in the ‘Raja Rajan’ (King of Kings, 1957) movie deserves inclusion; MGR himself had described its background in his autobiography. A screen grab shot for this song is presented nearby, featuring lyricist N.M.Muthukoothan (as assistant) and MGR (exorcist pretender). About this song’s lyric, MGR had described the dilemma faced by Muthukoothan (also a DMK party activist and stage actor), and how he had encouraged him to write it. The particular theme sequence was related to Goddess Kali’s deeds. For the song sequence, MGR’s character masquerades as a sooth-saying village priest (poosari) performing an exorcism act to chase ‘devil’ from a possessed woman. MGR had praised Muthukoothan (with a dimunitive frame) acting talent as his assistant in this sequence, his contributions to his drama troupe and sincerity to serve the DMK’s ideals. Also to be noticed is that, the playback singer for this song was S.C. Krishnan (1929-1983), a ranking singer affiliated to the DMK [see my 2013 review of Kannan’s biography on Anna, https://sangam.org/anna-1909-1969/] This remains in record as the only song for MGR, that S.C. Krishnan was used by the music director K.V. Mahadevan.
The Youtube link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Es79ZAksYc
Among the many lyricists MGR had become acquainted in his lengthy carrier, only three (C.A. Lakshmanadas, K.P. Kamatchi sundaram and Muthukoothan) had received appreciations in MGR’s autobiography. While Lakshmanadas was treated as a mentor, Kamatchi sundaram has been described as a senior contemporary (and occasionally a rival for opportunities) in drama stages. Muthukoothan had received special mention as a junior stabilizing hand for his drama troupe, and an active proponent of DMK’s policies.
Abdul Qaiyum – about Ravindar – part 7, MGR-um Engal oor kararum (in Tamil). April 10, 2017. [https://nagoori.wordpress.com/tag/ரவீந்தர்-7/]
Kannan: MGR – A Life, Penguin Books, Gurgaon, Haryana, 2017, pp. 141, 179, 228.
Kannan: DMK and religion: The more things change, the more they stay same. Times of India, Sept 19, 2018.
Karunanidhi: Nenjukku Neethi(Justice for the Heart), vol. 2, Thirumagal Nilayam, Chennai, 1987, pp. 95-96.
McLaughlin SA and Malony HN: Near Death experiences and religion: a further investigation. Journal of Religion and Health, summer 1984; 23(2): 149-159.
MGR: Naan Yean Piranthen (Why I was Born), Part 1 and Part 2, Kannadhasan Pathippagam, Chennai, 2014, pp. 173, 236, 260, 291, 326, 485, 894-896, 987-990 (in Tamil).
Pulavar S. Rasu: MGR Tamilare (MGR is a Tamilian), Megathudan Pathippagam, Chennai, 2010. (in Tamil).
Sivaji Ganesan: Autobiography of an Actor (translation by Sabita Radhakrishna), Sivaji Prabhu Charities Trust, Chennai, 2007, pp. 108-115.
Poet Vaalee: Naanum Indha Nootraandum (This Century and Me), Kalaignaan Pathipagam, Madras, 1995, pp. 206-207, 252-253 (in Tamil).
This is an interesting episode wherein I learnt new details of Ratnmala in Sivaji’s life. I thought he had an affair with Padmini only. MGR’s acceptance of Vaali’s belief in God shows his magnanimity as usual. This article shows that he was with the dravidian atheist movement just for namesake and at his core he strongly believed in God and he had the guts to show it towards the final stage of his life, but his nemesis Karunanidhi lived with his favorite ‘yellow’ towel, and still saying that he did not believed in God:)