The Greatest Legend of Tamil Cinema! A Life Characterized by Phenomenal Success and an Endless List of Episodes of his Compassion and Kindness!

MGR is undoubtedly the greatest Legend of Tamil Cinema! On the occasion of his 100th birthday this song serves as a true tribute to him and his legendary kindness, compassion and amazing philanthropy. His life and career in the Tamil Movie industry is filled with phenomenal successes and in equal measure if not more, of episodes of his kindness in which he has helped innumerable individuals both from with in and outside the Tamil Film Industry. Every single person who has talked about him during various interviews has narrated at least one unique incident of  his kindness and big hearted nature with out fail. From legends such as Nagesh to Ranga Rao to the lyricist Muthulingam who has written just a few songs in comparison to the other great lyricists, there is no end to the list of people all of whom MGR has helped financially. His act of kindness in which he had helped Ranga Rao is similar to Lord Krishna having helped Kusela! Apparently Ranga Rao who had been facing financial difficulties during the later part of his career was finding it difficult to conduct his daughter's wedding. Though Ranga Rao had not been in good terms with MGR during that period, based on the advice of his friends he had visited MGR's residence, with an intent to ask MGR for his help. But due to his hesitancy because of his strained relation ship with MGR and fearing that MGR might turn down his request for help, Ranga Rao had returned home with out asking for help. But MGR being the great human being he was (is) had sent the required jewels and money for the proper conduct of the wedding to Ranga Rao's house, having come to know the actual reason for Ranga Rao's visit to his residence from his associates!  MGR had helped so may individuals in need with out their having even asked for help just by sensing and understanding their needs and difficulties! Truly amazing! This song from the movie Engal Thangam was written by Vaali. In Vaali's own words, after having written the first line of this song Vaali had been toying with several words and phrases to express this great quality of MGR in the second line of the song. As a coincidence Karunanidhi who was MGR's greatest political adversary during the later stages of his career, had visited the sets of the movie and Vaali had mentioned his inability to come up with the words of a second line, which would correctly express the great philanthropic quality of MGR. It was Karunanidhi who came up instantly with the second line, 'Ethaiyum Alavindri Koduppavan', which when translated literally means, "There is no limit to the quantum of his philanthropy"! Words are not sufficient to pay tribute to this great Legend! Music by MSV and sung by TMS and P Susheela.

Legendary Actress and Queen of Comedy! 5000 Stage Appearances and 1500 Movies! Reigned Over Tamil Cinema Like No Other!

Gopishantha Manorama reigned over Tamil Cinema like no other in a career that spanned over six decades which saw her featuring in over 5000 stage appearances and acting in more than 1500 movies. She was featured in the Guinness Book of World records in the mid 80's when she crossed the 1000 movie mark. She has paired/acted with comic actors across three generations which is no mean achievement considering the fact that in a male dominated movie industry very few actresses tend to last and be active for just a few years during their entire career! Having acted with the likes of Anna, Karunanidhi and SSR during her stint as a very successful stage artist known for her playback singing and emphatic dialogue delivery she went on to pair with comedy actors across generations starting from MR Radha, KA Thangavelu, VK Ramasami to Chandrababu, Nagesh, Cho to Suruli Rajan, Thengai Srinivasan to the likes of Kishmu Gowndamani and Kumari Muthu during the 80's and 90's. Known fondly as 'Achi' amongst her fans she is rated very high by her contemporaries and co-stars. Nagesh wit whom she has paired in more than 50 films had mentioned in an awards ceremony that he considered Manorama as a female version of Sivaji. The same feeling has been echoed by Jayalalitha, Cho, Sivakumar and several other Co-stars of hers. She also sang playback for herself in several movies under various music directors. This is one such song from the movie Thillaanaa Mohanaambaal in which she has acted and sung playback for herself under the music direction of K V Mahadevan. The movie is a classic super hit and you can read more about this movie in an earlier post here.

Group Dancer to Supporting Actress to Leading Lady and Super Star in 161 Movies on an Unbroken Stretch! Six Decades of Continuous Success and Stardom!

Saroja Devi made her debut in Tamil Movies as a group dancer in the movie Thanga Malai Ragasiyam which had Sivaji and T R Rajakumari in the lead roles in the year 1957. Earlier she had made her debut in the Kannada movie industry in the year 1955 as a supporting actress. It was MGR who gave her a major break and a grand entry into the Tamil Movie industry as the second heroine in the super hit movie Nadodi Mannan along with Bhanumathi as the other heroine. From then on Saroja Devi went on to star in 161 Movies as heroine and leading actress in a continuous and unbroken stretch. She had 28 back to back hits with MGR till the time Jayalalitha replaced her as MGR's favourite Leading Lady and Co-Star. During this prolific and extremely successful stretch, she had several hits with Sivaji and Gemini as well. This particular song is from the super hit movie Puthiya Paravai starring Sivaji, Sowcar Janaki, M R Radha, V K Ramasami, Nagesh, Manorama and others along with Saroja Devi. Music by Viswanathan Ramamoorthi and Lyrics by Kannadasan. P Susheela who has sung this song had once mentioned during a stage performance that this song was one of her favourite songs from among the 15000 or so songs sung by her till date! Saroja Devi went to perform supporting roles in several movies during the 90s and till recent times.

Freedom Fighter, Journalist, Thespian, Composer, Playback Singer, Writer, Director - Successful in Every Pursuit! One of the Legendary Doyens of South Indian Film Industry!

Nagaiah was an active participant in the Freedom struggle and movement during the 1930's. He was a legend in the history of the evolution of Telegu Stage, Drama and Theatre having written, produced and directed several successful Telugu plays during the late 30's. He also acted in these plays apart from composing music and singing in these plays! He was the first Superstar of the Telugu Movie Industry due to his phenomenal success with his first few movies produced by Nagi Reddy under the Rohini Pictures Banner. He was later instrumental in the setting up of the famous Vauhini Studios. He acted in more than 350 movies in all the major South Indian languages. He acted in several super hit Tamil Movies as a character artist. Sivaji had great respect for him and he featured in several super hit movies of Sivaji Ganesan such as Motor Sundaram Pillai, Shanthi, Deiva Magan, Iru Malargal, Thillaanaa Mohanaambal to name a few. This song is from the movie Ramu a 1966 release, directed by A. C. Tirulokchandar. The film features Gemini Ganesan, K. R. Vijaya and Master Rajkumar in lead roles. The film was produced by AVM Productions and music was composed by M. S. Viswanathan. All the songs were written by Kannadasan. The film was a super hit. The film was a remake of Hindi film Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Main. During the filming of the climax scene apparently the child artiste Master Rajkumar got caught in the fire and it was the director A C Tirulokchandar who jumped into the fire and rescued the child! One can see the involvement with which Nagaiah has performed this song. Two great voices, Seergazhi and TMS, complete this fantastic team of legends who have come together to create this song. No wonder the song is such a classic, never failing to strike a chord every single time we listen to it even after 50 years since its creation!

Supremely Talented! Effortlessly Versatile! Career-Long Superstardom to an Eternal Place in the Minds of the People!

Jayalalitha was an undisputed Superstar during her entire career with back to back super hit movies with all leading actors spread over the mid and late sixties and the seventies. For someone who was a self declared reluctant actress her truly amazing success is due to her supreme talent and confidence combined with effortless versatility while facing the camera. Be it a mature performance as a young patient enamored by the kindness and compassion of her doctor in her debut Tamil Movie Vennira Aadai or a Casually Confident and Glamorous performance and making it count opposite MGR with his dominant screen presence in Ragasiya Police 115 or a performance that combines all the earlier mentioned characteristics with an innate sense and understanding of humour, in one of the best performances of her career as one of the four glamorous daughters of Thangavelu, paired for the first time with the great Sivaji Ganesan in Galaattaa Kalyanam, she excelled in all these different genres with effortless ease! She had several notable performances during the seventies such as Vandhaale Maharasi, Anbai Thedi, Needhi, Engiruntho Vandhaal to name a few. Se had several super hit movies pairing with Gemini Ganesan, Jaishankar, Muthuraman, Ravichandran and others. This song is from an all time super hit movie Aayirathil Oruvan opposite MGR. This is yet another movie in which both Vaali and Kannadasan had written the lyrics of different songs. This particular song was written by Vaali. Music was by Viswanathan Ramamoorthy.  She will remain permanently etched in the hearts of her ardent fans and followers eternally!

A Comical Song from A Hilarious Comedy Movie Inspired by a Classic Novel from the Greatest English Comic Writer of All Time!

This is a hit song from the super hit Comedy Movie Kaasethaan Kadavulladaa starring Muthuraman, Manorama, Srikanth, Lakshmi, Vennira Aadai Murthy, Sasi Kumar, MRR Vasu and others. The movie had been directed by Gopu who had once said in an interview it was Jayalalitha who had introduced him to the works of the great comic genius P G Wodehouse. This particular movie which is his directorial debut is loosely based on the famous novel 'Leave it to PSmith' by P G Wodehouse. The music for the movie had been composed by MSV. The lyrics had been penned by the ever youthful Vaali. The plot of the movie is as follows: Parvathi (Manorama) is an extremely domineering second wife of Sivaswamy (Vennira Aadai Moorthy) and controls all his money treating him with scorn and disdain. When Sivaswamy's son Ramu (Muthuraman) (son of his first wife) requires a sum of Rs. 3000 for his Sister's husband, she refuses instantly. With all round need for money for various different needs, Ramu and his cousin Shekar (Srikanth) hatch a plot with their childhood friend Appaswamy (Thengai Sreenivasan) who pretends to be a fake swamiji in order to get to Manorama's Secret safety locker and steal a sum of Rs. 50,000. Meanwhile Rama (Lakshmi) is an orphan whose Guardian is the doctor of a mental institution. When Rama wants a conduct certificate, the doctor bungles and hands over the certificate of Rama Prabha who is still recovering from a mental condition. Rama arrives at Parvathi's house to work as a secretary and Parvathi sees the certificate and decides to keep Rama at her house to humour her fearing her insanity (Courtesy Wikepedia). With great performances by all the actors the movie is very watchable and truly a family entertainer. This song is sort of the title song of the movie and is hilarious like most of the other songs in this movie.

Can See a Bright Future Ahead! Two Great Geniuses at Work Again!

This is a hit song from the movie Pachai Villakku, starring Sivaji, SSR, Vijayakumari, Nagesh, SV Ranga Rao and others. It is yet again the classic combination of Sivaji, TMS, Kannadasan and Viswanathan - Ramamoorthy. Though Nagesh is not singing the song, watching his reactions to Sivaji's singing and actions one can truly understand his clalibre! The same is true for another song from the same movie Kelvi Piranthathu Andru. If you listen carefully you can hear the sound of the train whenever you see the train in the visual! That is the kind of involvement of the entire team in the making of a film that was the norm and what you got in that Golden Era of Tamil Cinema and hence you were never disappointed with the quality of any film after watching it. The movie was directed by A Bhim Singh and was released in the year 1964. The famous Editor B. Lenin is Bhim Singh's son.

Three Distinctly Different Roles in a Single Movie! Only One Actor Could Have Carried it Off with Such Class and Conviction!

This is a hit song from the movie Deiva Magan starring Sivaji, Jayalalitha, Nagesh, Major and others. This song features Sivaji and Jayalalitha and other supporting actresses. In fact many of these supporting actresses made it big in the silver screen and in the small screen in their own little separate ways. The 'Mala' in this song is the actress Bhanumathi (not to be confused with Bhanumathi Ramakrishna) who acted in several movies in supporting roles and in many TV serials as well. The combination of MSV and TMS has produced yet another hit song. Sivaji's performance as the father and two sons (Triple Role) is one of the most unforgettable performances in the history of Tamil film industry! This song begins with a small clip in which there is a humorous interaction between Sivaji and Nagesh as a prelude to the actual song. Sivaji is supposed to have drawn inspiration from the mannerisms and behavior of the famous direct C V Sridhar for his role in this movie as the youngest son!


He is One! He is Everything! Divine Explanation and Symbolic Representation of the Concept of Marriage!

This is an all-time great hit song from the movie Thiruvilayadal starring Sivaji Ganesan, Savithri, Nagesh, Muthuraman, Devika, Manorama and others. This song has been monumentalized by K B Sundarambal through her profound rendition of the lyrics in her unique and dazzling voice! If there ever is a voice that could be called dazzling it is surely hers without any doubt! If the rendition is brilliant, the lyrics by Kannadasan is nothing short of an illustration of  outstanding intellectual and creative accomplishment! The song begins with Avvaiyaar singing in praise of Lord Shiva. At the behest of Goddess Parashakthi, Avvaiyaar sings the praise of Lord Shiva in numbers, describing Him as the One and Everything in this Universe. He is the One, The Duality of Matter and Energy as Ardhanaareeshwara, Three Forms of Tamil (Iyal, Isai and Naatakam), The Four Vedas, The Five Elements, The Six Different Types of Tastes, Seven Svaras (Musical Notes), Eight Siddhis (Ashtamaa Siddhi), Nine Emotions (Navarasa Vithaanavan), He is Timeless (Mutraadhavan), He is the Core, He is Limitless, Boundless and the Beginning (Moola Mudhalaanavan), He the Mahaa Kaalaa is Timeless and Neutral to the Past, Present and the Future, (Munnaikkum Pinnaikum Naduvaanavan).

Now comes the part of the divine explanation of marriage. He stands tall as man and woman in unison (Aanaahi Pennaahi Nindraanavan) symbolically implying that both man and woman become one when married (Avai Ondru Thaan Endru Sonnaanavan) He stood as the Ardhanareeshwara, the symbolic representation of marriage. This it to indicate that marriage is an institution that is built on the foundation of the intricate and inseparably interwoven fabric,  in equal measure of Binding Feminine Energy and Substantial Manhood Materiality! (Saripaathi Penmaikku Thanthaanavan). Matter and energy are one and are meant to stay that way. So is the single entity of the Married Couple wherein man and woman are one and are meant to stay that way in the lifelong journey! Kudos to Kannadasan to have brought out this profound concept in such simple words! One can notice the glow of warmth and comfort as an aura in couples who have been united blissfully for long in a marriage based on this kind of oneness and an intricately interwoven relationship based on affection, faith and trust! (Anbin Oliyaaghi Nindraanavan). Divine composition as usual by KVM. The acting part deserves a separate post! Truly!

Super Hit And Most Successful On Screen Pair! Twenty Six Back to Back Hit Movies During the Golden Era of Tamil Cinema!

This is a hit song from the movie Thaai Sollai Thattaathey starring MGR, Saroja Devi and others. This song has been sung by the inimitable pair of TMS and P Susheela. The music has been composed by K V Mahadevan and the lyrics have been penned by Kannadhasan. Year of release 1962. After making a successful and super hit start together in the Mega Hit movie Nadodi Mannan, the pair of MGR-Saroja Devi gave 26 back to back hit films together during the Golden Era of Tamil cinema. The list of hit movies included Thirudathey, Thai Sollai Thattathey (Song Featured Here is from this movie), Paasam, Thaayaikaatha Thanayan, Asai Mugam, Periya Idathu Penn, Dharmam Thalaikkakkum, Neethikku Pin Pasam, Pannakkara Kudumbam, Padakoti, Nadodi, Thali Bhagyam, Naan Anayittaal, Petraalthaan Pillaiya, Arasa Kattalai and Kudumba Thalaivan. Some of Saroja Devi's best performances opposite MGR were the 'rich girl' roles in Anbe Vaa, Enga Veettu Pillai, En Kadamai, Deiva Thaai, Kalangarai Vilakkam, Pana Thottam, Parrakkum Paavai, Thayin Madiyil, etc., well the list is almost an endless one. Enjoy the song!

Direct Face-Off Between Two All-Time Great Lyricists! Great Song from A Record Breaking Box Office Hit from 1973!

This is a great song from the movie Ulagam Suttrum Vaaliban, starring MGR in a double role, Manjula, Latha, Nambiar, Nagesh, Asokan and others. This was the first movie for which an acronym was used popularly by the audience 'USUVAA', a concept which is widely prevalent today and is almost a norm for almost all movies. This movie was produced and directed by MGR himself. The movie was one of the biggest blockbuster hits of Tamil Cinema and ran for more than 200 days in some centres and crossed 150 days in almost all main cities in Tamil Nadu. It ran for 203 days in Colombo and is one of those rare movies where in both Kannadasan and Vaali have written the lyrics for various songs. Kannadasan has written the lyrics for the three songs Aval Oru Navarasa, Lily Malarukku and Ulagam Ulagam. Pulamai Pithaan has written the song Sirithu Vaazha Vendum and the rest of the songs have been written by Vaali. It is difficult to pick out a clear winner since all the songs in this movie were super hits. This is one movie in which TMS, SPB and Yesudas (for the first time) have all sung playback for MGR! The music for this movie was composed by MSV and this song featuring MGR and Manjula, written by Vaali, was sung by TMS. This song is no doubt one of Vaali's outstanding creations. Having been in a direct face-off with Kannadasan, Vaali has truly excelled himself and seems to have come out on top with this particular song! Even the single song by Pulamaipithan, 'Sirithu Vaazha Vendum' is an exceptional song! Credit goes to MGR the director, to have brought together such a galaxy of talented people and to have brought out the best in each of them!

Five National Awards! Three Nandi Awards! One Film Fare Award! From a Humble Corporate Job to The Greatest Character Actor of South India!

S V Ranga Rao, one of the greatest actors of Tamil and Telugu Cinema has acted in 100s of movies during an acting career spread over three decades. He brought to life some of the greatest characters in our epics and puraanaas through his majestic on screen performance and presence. He was a contemporary of some of the greatest actors of Tamil Cinema but he carved a special place for himself in the Tamil Movie industry through his numerous brilliant performances. He started his career with the TATA group as a budget assistant and came into the movie industry through his appearance in a Telugu movie in the year 1950. And then he went on to do extremely well in his acting career through his exemplary performances in several Tamil and Telugu movies. He became a director during the later stages of his career and got two Nandi Awards as the best director. This song is from the cult classic hit movie Maya Bazaar, a 1957 Indian bilingual epic fantasy film directed by Kadiri Venkata Reddy. It was produced by B. Nagi Reddy and Aluri Chakrapani under their banner, Vijaya Vauhini Studios. The film was shot in both Telugu and Tamil with the same title, but with a few differences in the cast. S V Ranga Rao played and brought to life the lead role of Katothkajan, son of Bheemaa. This song is again a cult classic hit and was written by Thanjai Ramaiah Dass and was sung by Tiruchi Loganathan. Music was composed by the singer music director Ghantasala. Enjoy the song!

The Greatest Playback Singing Pair of All Time! Complete Dominance Over a Period of Two Decades!

The Greatest Playback Singing Pair of All Time, TMS and P Susheela dominated the Tamil Movie Industry for more than two decades, having sung hundreds of super hit songs together. This is a hit song from the 1970s movie Vasantha Maaligai starring Sivaji Ganesan, Vanishree, Balaji, Nagesh and others. This song features Sivaji and Vanishree. Sivaji and Vanishree had paired up for several movies during that period. This is one of K V Mahadevan's hit songs featuring the most successful playback singing pair of TMS and P Susheela, supremely dominant, starting from the late 1950s to the 1960s and well into the 1970s, as is the case with this song.. While everyone in India is a fan of Latha Mangeshkar she herself is a fan of P Susheela. P Susheela and TMS are two of the greatest ever original voices (never will they resort to a falsetto) to have graced this planet no doubt!

Live Life with Conviction and Purpose. Means and Everlasting Fame Will Follow! - MGR Hits 1965

This is a hit song from the movie Panam Padaithavan starring MGR, Sowckar Janaki, K.R. Vijaya, Nagesh, T.S. Balayya, S.A. Asokan, R.S. Manohar and others released in the year 1965. The movie was produced and directed by T R Ramanna. The song features a dance sequence based on the Western Style of Ball Room dancing. The lyrics written by Vaali echoed the thoughts and ideas of MGR who always practiced in real life what he preached through his movies. If you live with purpose, respecting the words of your forefathers without forgetting the path shown by them, then that is what can be considered as being human and civilized. Live life with such strong conviction and purpose so that people will remember you and keep you in their heart and thoughts long after you are gone. This is the essence of the lyrics of this wonderful song written by Vaali. And MGR lived his life exactly based on these guiding principles and no wonder that he remains in the hearts and thoughts of millions of people even today. Tribute to MGR on the occasion of his 99th Birth Anniversary.  Nagesh's antics as a side track to the main dance actually enhances the enjoyability of the song!  Music has been composed by the great Composers (duo) Viswanathan - Ramamoorthy.

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