Few weeks back I read an article on MGR, our ex-cm and ..well if you need me to explain who he was you would be the exact person as target audience for this post. The article was one of the several thousand written since his heydays and went on eulogizing the kind of person MGR was and how his legacy continues to live even after about 3 decades since his demise.
Whenever I read something about this man, I am always stumped by the unabashed adulation he manages to generate even by those who were never born in his lifetime, never been directly linked to him or never even witnessed his deeds in person. Yet, when they mention about MGR, they all go gushy mushy and all heartwarming, making him sound like a saint. Even current day superstars or crowd craze heroes never get such a warm reception or mention. Even for Jaya, who succeeded him and matched his legacy point by point, there is always a counter in the form of misdeeds done by her and on her scandals. Probably MGR had the advantage of not living in such maniacal times like present where each and every activity of the leaders are under scrutiny and media is not so lenient on exposing their misdeeds. Even the opposition controlled media goes soft, when it comes to MGR. Agreed that there are cases and scandals linking MGR and are in reports. But never have they been brought to light or public scrutiny as much as those done by Karuna or Jaya. May be there is a sense of opportunism for both the parties involved as the man was Charisma and charm all over and had the unshakable faith of the masses.
MGR was inarguably the first person to translate his movie roles into real life and cashed in on the innocence/ignorance of the masses and more importantly convert the same into votes. Till date people swear by him and praise him for all his good deeds. With his birth centenary year in progress, there are functions being conducted across the state in his names and his movies are getting re-released, 5 decades after the first release. And no surprise to the see the crowd thronging the theaters to re-live his onscreen magic. What stumps me is how come this one “brand” has survived across all scandals and has managed to sustain its charm across all these decades amidst all the media scrutiny. Even his worst detractors wouldn’t blatantly disregard MGR as they know his fans/loyalists/vote bank (call it whatever you want) wouldn’t spare them and any act of praising MGR will only result in more publicity and positive view by the general public.
Coming back to that magazine article that triggered this post, it concluded with a song “Ennai Theriyuma” from one of MGR’s movie “Kudi iruntha kovil”. Just have a look at the lyrics of the song and you will understand how his legacy continues to survive. Probably the lyricist deserve the credit for the song, but for them to be inspired a lot depends on the person on whom its portrayed and true to the content, the saga of MGR continues to remain new and current, even 3 decades after he breathed his last.
ulagai purinthu kondavan,
nalla azhagai therinthu
manathai koduthu anbil vaazhbavan,
ennai theriyumaa naan
sirithu pazhagi karuththai kavarum
rasigan ennai theriyumaa,
ungal kavalai marakka kavithai paadum
kavigan ennai theriyumaa,