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M. G. Ramachandran

M. G. Ramachandran




Maruthur Gopalan Ramachandran, popularly known as M.G.R., was an eminent Indian actor, politician, and philanthropist, serving as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu from 1977 until his passing in 1987. Born on 17 January 1917 in Nawalapitiya, British Ceylon (Sri Lanka), to a Malayali family, he overcame early hardships to become a legendary figure in Indian cinema and politics.

In his youth, influenced by Gandhian principles, Ramachandran began his acting career in the Boys Company drama troupe, where he honed his skills and developed a passion for performance. His journey into films commenced with "Sathi Leelavathi" in 1936, marking the start of a prolific acting career that spanned several decades. Known for his charismatic roles in romance and action genres, he achieved critical acclaim with films like "Malaikkallan" (1954) and "Ulagam Sutrum Valiban" (1973), which set new benchmarks in Tamil cinema.

Ramachandran's foray into politics began with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), where he leveraged his star power to connect with the masses. In 1972, he founded the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), carving out a distinct political identity. His leadership propelled the AIADMK to a historic victory in the 1977 Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly election, making him the state's first actor-turned-Chief Minister.

Throughout his tenure, Ramachandran championed populist measures and social welfare programs, although his administration faced scrutiny for governance challenges. His tenure witnessed significant socio-economic initiatives, including free electricity for farmers and mid-day meal schemes, which endeared him to the masses but also drew criticism for their financial implications.

Beyond politics, Ramachandran's philanthropic endeavors left an indelible mark. He personally contributed to disaster relief efforts and donated generously during national crises, such as the 1962 Sino-Indian War. His media influence extended through his founding of Thai magazine and Anna newspaper, and his ownership of Sathya Studios, which played pivotal roles in Tamil media and entertainment.

In October 1984, Ramachandran's health deteriorated due to diabetes-related kidney failure, culminating in his passing on 24 December 1987. His demise sparked unprecedented mourning across Tamil Nadu, with his burial site at Marina Beach becoming the revered MGR Memorial. Posthumously, he was honored with the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, in 1988, underscoring his lasting impact on Indian politics and culture.

M.G. Ramachandran's legacy endures through numerous landmarks and institutions named in his honor, reflecting his enduring popularity and influence in Tamil Nadu's socio-political landscape.

Place of Birth: Nawalapitiya, Sri Lanka

Date of Birth: 17th January, 1917

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