Friday 18th August 2017
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Throwback Thursday #12 – MGR Birthday Special

Our throwback track for this week is in honour of the birthday of actor MG Ramachandran – or MGR, as he was more popularly known. Born in Sri Lanka to Malayali parents, MGR’s father allegedly worked at a tea plantation. After his father’s death, MGR, along with his brother, joined a drama group called "The Original Boys". He moved onto the big screen in 1935 in the film "Sathi Leelavathi", which was directed by American-born director Ellis Dungan.

MGR’s breakthrough came with the film "Manthiri Kumari", which was written by M. Karunanidhi, who has since served as Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister. It was with Karunanidhi’s help that MGR joined the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam political party in the early 50s. After a few years, and a number of incidents between DMK members, MGR left to start his own party, and became the Chief Minister of the state in 1977. It’s not a new thing for members of the cinema industry to get into politics, with stars such as Jayalalitha also getting into that world. Could Rajinikanth be doing the same?

Before he became CM, MGR had a thriving career in the film industry, and he had a loyal, loving fan-base. This week’s track is from the film "Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum", which was the first Tamil colour film, released on Pongal (January 14th) in 1956. The film also stars P. Bhanumathi, with music by S. Dakshinamurthy.