Marudhur Gopalan Ramachandran was born on January 17, 1917 in Kandy, British Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka) to Melakkath Gopala Menon and Maruthur Satyabhama. He is till date popularly known by the acronym MGR.
1930 To 1950
As an actor, MGR was one of the finest that the country has had. He entertained his audience with some of the most fascinating movies in Tamil cinema. Though he got his beak in 1930, it was only in the decade of 1950 that MGR’s fame catapulted. Films such as ‘Manthiri Kumari’, ‘Malaikkallan’, ‘Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum’, ‘ Thirudadhe’, ‘Enga Veettu Pillai’, ‘Aayirathil Oruvan’, ‘Anbe Vaa’, ‘Mahadevi’, ‘Panam Padaithavan’, ‘Ulagam Sutrum Vaalibhan’ displayed his best performance as an actor.
MGR made his big break in cinema in the year 1936 with the film, ‘Sathi Leelavathi’. The film was directed by an American-born film director, Ellis Dungan.
1942 To 1962
MGR married Chitarikulam Bargavi popularly known as Thangamani. She died in 1942. He re-married Sathanandavathhi who in turn also died of tuberculosis in 1962. MGR finally married VN Janaki, a former Tamil actress who remained his wife until his death.
1950 To 1954
After his stint in romantic and action films, MGR got his big breakthrough in cinema in 1950 with Karunanidhi’s ‘Manthiri Kumari’. The film catapulted him to fame. He followed its success with the 1954 film, ‘Malaikkallan’.
The relationship between MGR and Annadurai was that of a pupil and a mentor. Subsequently, MGR joined politics as well being a part of the Annadurai’s new Dravidian party, DMK in 1953.
MGR’s career in politics started when he joined Annadurai’s DMK in 1953. No sooner, he became a Dravidian nationalist and a prominent member of the DMK. His star status added much needed glamour to the party making him all the more famous.
The 1955 film, ‘Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum’ multiplied the fame of MGR who became the first Tamil actor to star in the industry’s first ever geva colour flick. Gradually, banking on his star status, MGR gave stellar performances one after the other in films like ‘Thirudadhe’, ‘Enga Veettu Pillai’, ‘Aayirathil Oruvan’, ‘Anbe Vaa, Mahadevi’, ‘Panam Padaithavan’ and‘Ulagam Sutrum Vaalibhan’. He soon became the heartthrob of millions of Tamilians.
1962 To 1969
In 1962, MGR became a member of the state Legislative Council. Five years later, he was first elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. Following the death of the DMK founder and his mentor Annadurai in 1969, MGR served as the treasurer of the party.
In 1967, MGR met with a tragic incident. His co-actor M. R. Radha shot him on his left ear twice which after a surgical operation left MGR partially deaf. He was unable to hear from his left ear and suffered from ear ringing problems all through his life. His voice changed permanently.
Following Annadurai’s death, Karunanidhi became DMK’s leader. MGR demanded to publicise the financial details of the party. His opposition led to his exit from the party.
1972 To 1977
Between 1972 and 1977, MGR frequently travelled, spreading and preaching his party ambitions. He used the power of cinema to project his party policies. Films like ‘Netru Indru Naalai’, ‘Idhayakani’,‘Indru Pol Endrum Vazhga’supported ADMK’s programs.
He was felicitated with honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Madras and the World University Arizona in 1974.
In 1977, MGR’s ADMK successfully defeated DMK. MGR became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. He emphasized on education and social development. MGR converted Madras CM K. Kamaraj’s ‘Midday Meal Scheme’ to ‘MGR’s Nutritious Meal Scheme’ where he added saththurundai, a nutritious sugary flour dumpling, to the meals. He set up free schools in Kodambakkam.
Apart from education, MGR focussed on women welfare. He introduced women-centric buses. MGR even concentrated on preservation of cultural and heritage buildings and monuments, such as temples, historical sites and so on. This in turn led to a boost in tourism. Liquor ban made the state all the more spiritually inclined. His pro-state policies helped him win the 1980 elections as well.
In the 1984 elections, MGR was undergoing a treatment in America. Despite not being part of the campaign, his popularity led ADMK win the election by a huge majority. Consequently, Congress allied with ADMK. His images were broadcast throughout the cinema halls in Tamil Nadu as part of the campaign. His party ADMK won every state assembly election as long as MGR was alive.
In 1984, MGR was diagnosed with kidney failure. A mild heart attack coupled with diabetes and massive stroke complicated his health further. He travelled to America for kidney transplantation where he was admitted at the Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn.
24th Dec 1987
He frequently visited America for treatment but he never fully recovered from his prolonged illness. He breathed his last on December 24, 1987 at 3:30 am at Chennai Apollo Hospital. He was 71 years of age.
Posthumously, his political party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, split. In 1988, the two merged.
In 1989, in the memory of MGR, Dr. M. G. R. Home and Higher Secondary School for the Speech and Hearing Impaired was established in Ramavaram. His official residence was turned into ‘MGR Memorial House’ and is open for public viewing. His film studio, Sathya Studios, was converted into a women's college.
Talking to reporters after the announcement, Mr. Dinakaran expressed the confidence that he would win the seat with a margin of over 50,000 votes. He would file his nomination papers on March 23 and contest under the party's 'Two Leaves' symbol
Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the "sharp escalation in the incidents of apprehension of Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu by the Sri Lankan Navy," He requested the Prime Minister to "immediately direct the concerned officials in the ministry of external affairs to take concrete action through diplomatic channels" to secure the immediate release of 85 fishermen and 128 fishing boats in Lankan custody.