An actor and politician, who served as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for ten years between 1977 and 1987, Maruthur Gopala Ramachandran was born on January 17, 1917.
MG Ramachandran was endearingly called Makkai Thilagam or People's King by the masses.
MGR, who debuted with the 1936 film Sathi Leelavathi in a supporting role, went on to dominate the Tamil film industry for three decades as a lead actor. When MG Ramachandran became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on 30 June 1977, he was the first Indian actor to hold that position. The prolific actor, politician and humanitarian remained in office till his death in 1987.
On the actor’s 103rd birth anniversary here’s looking at five of his finest films:
Sathi Leelavathi (1936)
Based on SS Vasan's novel, the Ellis R Dungan film had an ensemble cast including MK Radha, TS Balaiah, MG Ramachandran, MV Mani, and NS Krishnan among others. The plot follows a Madras-based man, who is lured into drinking by his friend and starts believing that he has murdered his friend Parasuram while he was drunk. He flees to Ceylon, while his family is reduced to poverty. MGR essayed the role of Rangiah Naidu, a corrupt police officer, who helps lure the protagonist to the mock party.
Manthiri Kumari (1950)
MGR's big break was the historical-drama directed by Ellis R Dungan. The film also starred MN Nambiar, Madhuri Devi and G Shakuntala. The film was based on an incident from the Tamil epic Kundalalkesi.
Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum (1956)
A swashbuckler film, characterised by sword fighting and heroic adventures, the TR Sundaram film starred MGR and Bhanumathi Ramakrishna in lead roles. The film was a retelling of the story of Alibaba, a poor woodcutter who become wealthy after discovering a secret cave full of treasures. It was the first South-Indian full-length colour film.
The film, which earned MG Ramachandran the National Film Award for Best Actor, was directed by M Krishnan Nair. The film saw MGR essay the role of Selvam, a rickshaw puller who witnessed the murder of another rickshaw puller. The film was a major commercial success during the time of its release.
Enga Veettu Pillai (1965)
Featuring MGR in a double role, it was a remake of the 1964 Telugu film Ramudu Bheemudu and revolves around the twins whose paths cross when they meet each other years after being separated at birth.
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