Marudhur Gopalan Ramchandran, better known as MGR, was an Indian actor who became a politician. He was the first well-known Indian actor to lead an Indian state. MGR began in cinema. He joined a theatrical company since he loved acting. In 1936, he got a role in ‘Sathi Leelavathi’ with Elle Dungan. Since then, this exceptional actor has only improved and refined his acting skills. MGR befriended Annadurai, a renowned Dravidian leader, throughout his film career. MGR, in turn, saw Annadurai as a mentor. MGR entered politics because of his relationship with Annadurai. He joined Annadurai’s Dravidian party, the DMK. After Annadurai’s death, Karunanidhi became the DMK’s leader. MGR formed his own political party, ADMK. From 1977 through 1984, MGR led the ADMK, which later became the AIADMK. His initiatives aimed for social and economic progress. He upgraded the free meal program, prohibited booze, and maintained the state’s cultural legacy to encourage tourism.
Early Childhood of M. G. Ramachandran
Marudhur Gopalan Ramachandran was born on January 17, 1917 in Kandy, British Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). He is still known as MGR.
His father, a Malayali Nair, was excommunicated in 1903 from Vadavannur, Palakkad. Left his family and moved to Kandy.
Ramachandran was up a fervent Hindu and a Lord Murugan follower.
MGR had an early interest in acting. MGR joined the ‘Madurai Original Boys Company’ when his father died.
A Career of M. G. Ramachandran
MGR made his big screen debut in 1936 with ‘Sathi Leelavathi’. Ellis Dungan, an American filmmaker, directed the picture.
The Tamil cinema business changed dramatically between 1940 and 1950. Dravidian screenwriters like Annadurai and Karunanidhi were gaining popularity and generating unique movies. MGR was involved in the movement and portrayed numerous personas.
MGR and Annadurai had a pupil-mentor connection. In 1953, MGR joined Annadurai’s new Dravidian party, DMK.
MGR’s big break in cinema came in 1950 with Karunanidhi’s ‘Manthiri Kumari’. The movie made him famous. He followed it up with ‘Malaikkallan’ in 1954.
The 1955 film ‘Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum’ made MGR the first Tamil actor to star in a geva colour film. Aayirathil Oruvan, Anbe Vaa Mahadevi, Panam Padaithavan, and Ulagaam Sutrum Vaalibhan were among MGR’s best films. He rapidly became millions of Tamilians’ favorite.
MGR’s films were oddly non-class driven. They appealed to both the masses and the classes. He portrayed universal thoughts, irrespective of social status.
Just when everyone thought MGR had exhausted his acting abilities, he astonished everyone with a stunning performance in Rickshawkaran, which earned him a National Award. The next year, he released the smash hit ‘Ulagam Sutrum’, shattering all prior records. MGR’s final film was ‘Ullagam Suthi Paru’.
MGR entered politics in 1953, joining Annadurai’s DMK. He quickly became a Dravidian nationalist and a DMK leader. His celebrity status made him even more famous.
MGR joined the state Legislative Council in 1962. Elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly five years later MGR became the party’s treasurer after the death of DMK founder and mentor Annadurai in 1969.
Karunanidhi took over the DMK after Annadurai died. Karunannidhi and MGR fought over position. MGR declared Karunanidhi’s son M.K. Muthu corrupt in 1972. He asked the party’s finances be made public. His opposition caused his defection.
After leaving DMK, MGR created his own party, Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK), afterwards renamed All India Anna Dravida
Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) (AIADMK). With time, ADMK became the DMK’s only formidable foe.
MGR traveled extensively between 1972 and 1977, advocating his party’s goals. He used film to project his party’s policies. Indru Pol Endrum Vazhga and Netru Indru Naalai were films that aided ADMK programs.
MGR’s ADMK defeated DMK in 1977. As Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister, MGR He stressed education and social progress. ‘MGR’s Nutritious Meal Scheme’ included saththurundai, a nutritious sweet flour dumpling. A free school in Kodambakkam.
MGR also focused on women’s issues. He developed women-only buses. Aside from temples and historical places, MGR focused on preservation of cultural and heritage buildings. This boosted tourism. The liquor restriction made the state more spiritual. His pro-state policies also helped him win in 1980.
MGR was in America for treatment in 1984. Despite not campaigning, his popularity helped ADMK win by a wide margin. So Congress sided with ADMK. As part of the promotion, his photographs were shown in Tamil Nadu cinemas. The ADMK won every state assembly election during MGR’s lifetime.
MGR was a great actor. He presented some of Tamil cinema’s most intriguing films. MGR’s renown soared in the 1950s, despite receiving his beak in 1930. Acting roles in films like Manthiri Kumari, Malaikkallan, Alibaba 40 Thirudargalum, Thirudadhe, Aayirathil Oruvan, Anbe Vaa, Mahidevi, Panam Padaithavan, and Ulaga Sutrum Vaalibhan showcased his best work.
As a politician, he fought against corruption and exploitation. He instituted numerous educational changes and built new free schools for the disadvantaged. MGR’s Nutritious Meal Scheme replaced Kamaraj’s Midday Meal Scheme. He gave particular treatment to women, outlawed alcohol, and promoted tourism by preserving the state’s historical treasures.
Honors & Awards
His cinematic career earned him two Filmfare Awards for Best Actor and Best Film, as well as a National Film Award for Best Actor.
In 1974, he received honorary doctorates from Madras University and World University Arizona.
The Indian government awarded MGR the Bharat Ratna posthumously.
Personal Legacy of M. G. Ramachandran
MGR married Thangamani Chitarikulam Bargavi. It was 1942. He remarried Sathanandavathhi, who died of TB in 1962. To his wife, MGR married VN Janaki, a former Tamil actress.
MGR had a sad incident in 1967. MGR was shot twice in the left ear by his co-star M. R. Radha, leaving him half deaf. He couldn’t hear out of his left ear and had ringing in his ears all his life. His voice shifted.
MGR had renal failure in 1984. A small heart attack, diabetes, and a big stroke exacerbated his health. Then he went to Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn for a kidney transplant.
He went to America for treatment regularly but never totally healed. He died at 3:30 a.m. on December 24, 1987, at Chennai Apollo Hospital. His age was 71.
MGR’s death sparked a wave of panic. Millions of people rioted and looted. Violence targeted shops, cinemas, buses, and other public and private property. Free train service between Bangalore and Madras was launched to honor MGR. But at the funeral, rioting killed 29 people.
It was his wife Janaki Ramachandran who separated his political party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, with him. They merged in 1988.
It was named after MGR in 1989 and opened in Ramavaram. MGR Memorial House, his official dwelling, is now open to the public. Sathya Studios, his film studio, became a women’s college.
MGR was India’s first popular cinema actor Chief Minister.
Estimated Net Worth
MG is one of the wealthiest and most popular Movie Actors. MG Ramachandran net worth is estimated at $1.5 Million by Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.