‘MGR A Life’ , a biography written by R.Kannan on the life of late Superstar/ex chief minister of Tamilnadu, Man of all seasons and reasons Mr.M G Ramachandran was published by Penguin publications. Madras book club along with penguin publication organised this event in Kalaivaanar arangam , Chennai. Member of parliment , Mr.Shashi Tharoor have away the first copy of the book to the head of ‘MGR kazhagam’ Mr.R M Veerappan.
“Mr. Kannan, who has always been a member of Dravidian party has written this book. Kannan, who worked for the U N worked hard for seven long years to finish and bring out this book. MGR’s early life, Cinema life, political life, his tenure as the chief minister of Tamil nadu, his demi god status, his relationship with Periyar, Anna, Kalainjar, Shivaji ganesan, Kalaivaanar and Jayalalitha has been established so well in this book. Publishing this book now after the historic ‘Jallikattu’ protest seems to be the apt time ” said Penguin publishing’s Chief editor Kamini Mahadevan.
Member of Parliment Shashi Tharoor said, ” I have not seen people come in such huge numbers, like here, for a book release in the north India. Even though I was born in Palakkad, my mother lived in Coimbatore for 15 years. Iam proud MGR also belonged to Palakkad. I am a huge fan of MGR right from my childhood. I have watched many of his movies with my brothers. MGR was the first super star in India to achieve heights in politics. He is the one who changed the Tamilnadu’s electorial political culture of regional party vs national party to regional party vs another regional party. By heart he was a congressman. When he was shot in 1967 his photo of wrapped neck played a huge role in deciding the winner of then state election.
Anna was very impressed with MGR and his ever growing fame. After Anna’s death MGR became a king maker. Kannan has wrote in detail about the poverty MGR has to face in his early life, his image, his forced entry into acting out of poverty and not out of wish, his schemes as a chief minister and his relationship as a mentor with Ms. Jayalalitha. Expanding kamaraj’s mid day meals scheme was one of the biggest achievements of MGR. He rightly felt an empty stomach will not let a child think about education. He has genuinely inspired me a lot. I request kannan and penguine publications to come up with books on other political stalwarts of South India too and I want Kannan not to stop writing even after coming into public life” ‘Hindu’ Ram said,” just like this book I would like to see such efforts to bring out books on Kalainjar Karunanidhi, Periyar, Annadurai and Kamaraj. It is very important for the author to not be biased while writing biographies. There were times when DMK was laughed and bullied by a political leader. Dravidian parties can never be underestimated. They defeated Congress and came into power in 1967 , there has been no looking back for them ever since.
The mutual respect between political leaders for each other even though being rivals, has gone away after the death of MGR. Once MGR deported JPR from his car when the latter addressed Kalainjar as Karnanidhi. Such was the respect MGR had for Kalainjar even though they blonged to opposite parties. The same way Kalaignar was the first person to come to MGR’s house to pay his last respect when he heard of his death news.
MGR worked so hard in politics to become the chief minister. Other Cinema stars who think they can get into politics and reach heights easily, I must say they are living in a fool’s paradise “Tamil nadu congress head Thirunavukkarasar said, ” Sashi Tharoor said he is happy to see so many people turn out for a book release unlike in North India. This is Tamil nadu where people are so encouraging to such events.
Mr. Kannan has not only elaborately wrote about MGR’s early life, Cinema journey and his last days, but also written well about the people who were associated with him. He has given out instances and information that even MGR’s close associates did not know. There was a huge dissatisfaction among the DMK party members when MGR once said Kamaraj is his political leader and Anna is his political guide. When he was a superstar in Movies he got a salary Up to 8 lakhs per movie. He lived like a king. For such a person there is no need to earn through corruption in politics. He was so clean and down to earth. He got joy in giving to others.
During the Nagapatinam floods, When he himself got into the field to talk to affected people and ask them what they need, they said all they want is MGR to be healthy and happy and they are more than happy just to see him and d’int want anything more, even in such adversity. He was always fondly called ‘vaathiyar’ by the people of Tamil nadu.
Jayalalitha was the opposition party leader In 1989. Her alliance with Congress and the crutial role Rajiv Gandhi played helped her become the chief minister in 1991. One should never under estimate the role of Congress in Tamilnadu politics. This book is not just about 40 years of MGR’s life it is also about 50 years of Tamilnadu politics “Mr.R M Veerappan said, “MGR produced his first movie ‘Nadodi Mannan’ having gotten a loan of 50 thousand from AVM. It was a blockbuster and he got back in lakhs but he never amassed wealth for himself. During India- China war he donated a huge sum of Rs. 75 thousand to President Jawaharlal Nehru for which he got a return letter from the president thanking MGR for his gesture and help. Not many people know this. But Kannan has not only written about this incident but also published that letter in this book. MGR has had arguments with Anna. But not even once Anna has any issues with MGR.
Even though MGR was a Keralinte by birth he never encouraged having people from that region around him. M G R in his movie Nadodi Mannan itself told what all good will be done if and when a Dravidian party comes into power. Anna appointed a younster named Srinivasan to contest against Kamaraj in the 1967 elections so that kamaraj can win easily. That is when we released MGR ‘s photo from the hospital getting treatment. When people started calling DMK as MGR’s party Anna said it is a pride that people think of DMK that way. MGR was gv instrumental in DMK’s growth. Even though MGR is no more , his fame will live forever “. On behalf of Madras book club, Mr. Muthaiah gave the thanks giving speech.