Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Legacy Of MGR

Until now, I’ve never felt compelled to blog from a cyber cafĂ©. But today after seeing the celebration of MGR’s birthday in Chennai , I am compelled to pen down my emotions before I lose them ! For those of you who don’t know about M.G Ramachandran (MGR), he is one of Indian cinemas most famous actors , or should I say tamil cinema’s ? I don’t know, you can decide for yourself. He is also the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu. You can read about MGR here

To me, he is a very important personality in Tamil Nadu’s politics because he moved out of the only Dravidian party, DMK and created the AIADMK. He thus gave an option to Tamils who weren’t very happy with the policies of the DMK but who also weren’t ready to vote for a non-Dravidian party! (I am disappointed that people here still believe in the Aryan theory and vote for only the Dravidian parties. Anyways that is for another post).

MGR is called “Vaathiyar” (means Teacher in Tamil) by his fans because most of the roles he played in his movies involved inculcating good thoughts and behavior amongst the viewers. In a country where movies greatly influence the lives of people, I believe this is his greatest contribution. He was also a philanthropist. There is a very famous saying in Tamil Nadu , any hungry man who goes to Vaathiyar’s house would come out with his stomach full. Several decades after his death , people still remember and celebrate his life. The highlight of the celebration is that young people who have never seen him but have only heard him and have watched his movies, are celebrating his life.

I was visited a couple of temple towns in the outskirts of Chennai and In the 100 Kms I travelled, I could see posters of MGR in every nook and corner , people garlanding his statue , his songs blaring out of every fan club meet etc. People seem to connect with him so easily. I guess that is the reason we see both the DMK and AIADMK claiming their association with him , during every election. Anyone who claims to have felt the true Madrasi spirit must know how it feels to walk on the street during Vaathiyar’s birthday.
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