House that raised MGR the enigma cries for its due

As the birth centenary of the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran- devotedly known as MGR- is set to be celebrated across the borders of Palakkad on January 17, the smal

Published: 16th January 2017 01:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th January 2017 08:01 AM   |  A+A-

The ancestral house of MGR at Vadavannur in Palakkad district

The ancestral house of MGR at Vadavannur in Palakkad district

By Express News Service

PALAKKAD: As the birth centenary of the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran- devotedly known as MGR- is set to be celebrated across the borders of Palakkad on January 17, the small tiled house from where the matinee idol began his stride to stardom will always be etched in the memory of the locals here.

MGR, sporting his vintage white fur cap and dark glasses, left his Midas Touch on celluloid as an actor, director and producer and became an enigma by winning the chief minister race from his hospital bed with much elan.

But now, the only remnants of the prolific history is the ramshackle Maruthur ‘tharavad’ (MGR’s ancestral house) in Vadavannur, which functions as an anganwadi. On the peeled-off compound wall of the well,  the wordings ‘Sathya Vilasam’ is etched in Malayalam. Though pale, the name, which was given after MGR’s mother Sathyabhama, is visible even today. The relatives of MGR, who used to live there, later shifted to Palakkad, 12 kms away and rented it out to the local panchayat. Except for occasional visits by AIADMK functionaries, the building lies in the throes of neglect.

N Mayil Swamy, a local AIADMK leader, recalled, “MGR was born on January 17,1917 to Melekath Gopala Menon and Vadavannur Marathur Sathyabhama in Kandy in Sri Lanka. Gopala Menon who hailed from the nearby Nalleppilly village moved to Vadavannur after he retired from government service in Kandy and stayed in this house for some time. After his father’s  death, Sathyabhama took MGR and his brother M G Chakrapani to his paternal uncle’s house at Kumbakonam. Both the brothers began their tryst with films while living in Kumbakonam.”

Arun Narayanan of the Palakkad team of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) said, “We plan to kick off a year- long village heritage celebrations in memory of MGR. The aim is to give a glimpse of his life and achievements to the next generation. We also plan to set up a museum/cultural centre in the village and to host an annual festival. It could be on the lines of the Central Government scheme ‘Hriday’, which promotes heritage-based development of villages as is done in European countries”.

As part of the programme, INTACH plans to conduct a function on Tuesday at the Achutha Menon Upper Primary School, Vadavannur, which will be attended by writers, officials of the district administration and the general public. A massive MGR mural has also been developed by local artists as part of the programme. Mani Ratnam’s magnum opus ‘Iruvar’, a fictionalised account of MGR’s life and times, will also be screened.
Vadavannur panchayat president Sairindri Mohandas said if there is a proposal from any organisation to conserve the ancestral property of MGR, they can approach the panchayat board, which will take a final call.

Stay up to date on all the latest Kerala news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

facebook twitter whatsapp