M.G.R birth anniversary: Know more about the former CM of Tamil Nadu

He was the first film actor ever to become elected head of a province anywhere in the world

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, January 16, 2023, 04:47 PM IST
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Maruthur Gopalan Ramachandran (M.G.R) | File

Maruthur Gopalan Ramachandran popularly known as M.G.R, was an Indian politician, actor, philanthropist, and filmmaker who served as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu from 1977 until his death in 1987.

M.G. R was the AIADMK's founder and J. Jayalalithaa's mentor. He was the first film actor ever to become elected head of a province anywhere in the world.

Early life

M.G.R was born in Kandy, Srilanka in the Malayali family of Melakkath Gopalan Menon, a Palakkad Mannadiyar Nair and Maruthur Satyabhama, a Vadavannur Vellalar from Palakkad, Kerala. His mother returned to India and went back to Kerala after the death of his father.

Acting career

M.G.R. started his acting career and joined the Boys Company drama troupe taking part in the rigorous training programmes conducted by the troupe in the areas of singing, dancing, sword fighting, diction and memory with active interest and involvement.

He came to Tamil Nadu and started his career in theatre as a boy, but went on to become the biggest Superstar ever in Tamil film industry.

M.G.R made his film debut in 1936, in the film Sathi Leelavathi directed by Ellis R. Dungan, an American-born film director.

His acting career ended in 1987 with his last film Ullagam Suthi Paru, in which he acted even though he had been diagnosed with kidney failure.

Political career

He was inspired hugely by C. N. Annadurai popularly known as Perarignar Anna and joined the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, DMK in 1953. He became an MLA in 1967. In 1972, three years after Anna’s demise, he left the M.Karunanidhi-led DMK, to form his own party-the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK).

Five years later, he became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, the first film actor ever to become an elected Head of a province anywhere in the world. The invincible politician ruled Tamil Nadu thrice as Chief Minister and died in office on 24 December 1987.

Awards

M.G.R was chosen for the Padma Shri award of India in the year 1960, but he refused to accept the award on grounds of unpatriotic behavior by the government. He wanted the wording to be in his mother tongue Tamil instead of the traditional Hindi.

He won the National Award for best actor for his performance in 'Rickshawkaran’ in 1972.

He also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Madras and the World University.

In 1988, M.G.R. was awarded the Bharat Ratna, posthumously for his contribution to the betterment of the Tamil Nadu society.

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