Saturday, July 10, 2021

MGR’s Elder Brother


   Cinema celebrates hierarchy and lenience.Pridhviraj kaboor's family hierarchy is one of the most remarkable reference books in the archives of  Bollywood.The hierarchy or lenience may be in the form of parents and children or brothers and sisters.Tamil Cinema has its glorious treasure house of parents,children and grand children,brothers and sisters,contributing their might independently for the growth and prosperity of the film industry. 

   Among siblings if we take the last century as a reference point for Tamil cinema,there were the TKS brothers who made both the stage and silver screen proud by their dramatic and dynamic,demonstration of acting skills.However,the proudest moments for Tamil Cinema were to have on its screens,the elder brother of a Tamil Nadu Chief Minister,who simultaneously ruled both politics and cinema.They were the modest but solid M.G.Chakrabani and his mighty younger brother MGR,who became the invincible crowd puller at the theatres for cinema and on the street stages,for shows of politics.

   M.G.Chakrabani and MGR were initially bound to the stage plays.However both of them were also able to step into the field of Tamil Cinema.Chakrabani's first film was as a police officer in Iru Sagothararkal,directed by Ellis.R.Dungan,an Irish American film maker,who had directed fourteen Tamil films,including Meera &Sakuntala of M.S.Subbulakshmi and MGR's famous film Mandhirikumari.Incidentally,Iru Sakotharrkal was the second film for MGR too,in a supporting role.Then the two brothers worked for films like Thamizhariyum Perumal,Sri Murugan and so on. 

  Chakrabani's first prominent role was as King Needhi Kethu,the father of princess Chinthamani {played by V.N.Janaki}in the film Aayiram Thalaivaangiya Abhoorva Chindamani,made by the Modern Theatres.Then came the film Abhimanyu in which MGR played the role of Arjuna and Chakrabani came as Balaraman.After this both the brothers acted in the most famous film Rajamukthi starring M.K.Thiagarja Baghavadhar and V.N.Janaki in lead roles.

  Chakrabani's next film with MGR was Marudhanaattu Ilavarasi in which MGR and V.N.Janaki played lead roles and Chakrabani doing a negative role as minister Dhurijeyan.The other negative roles he played in MGR films were Naam,En Thangai, Alibhabhavum Naarpadhu Thirudarkalum and his most unforgettable role play as a greedy and caste oriented man of wealth in Thai Magalukku Kattiya Thaali.In MGR'S block buster film Malaikallan,Chakarbani was seen as police inspector in association with T.S.Dorairaj as a constable,who provided the verbal comedy moments,by frequently irritating Chakrabani with silly questions and cheeky remarks.

  The closeness between the two brothers continued by their joint shows in quite a number of films.Chakrabani was MGR's father in Idhaya Veenai and Netru Inru Naalai and as the latter's father in law in Naalai Namadhe.In Mannadhi Mannan Chakrabani,played the role of Karikala Cholan and in Raja Desingu he appeared as Sultan of Delhi.He also did an important role in Raja Rajan.While Chakrabani was directed by MGR in Nadodi Mannan, the elder brother directed MGR's Arasakattalai. Nadodi Mannan made history as a silver jubilee film and earned huge profit at the box office.

  MGR and his elder brother shared their life time for the successful march of Tamil cinema,through their united efforts towards giving great films based on royal and social themes as well as family dramas.Chakrabani also did a few notable films like Mahamaya,Ponmudi,Kudumba Vilakku,Digambara Samiyaaar and Nalla Theerpu starring heroes like P.U Chinnappa,Narasimha Bharadhi,M.N.Nambiyar and Gemini Ganesan respectively.In Mahamaya, Chakrabani performed the role of Neelan,whose character is said to have been evolved from that of the illustrious Indian philosopher Kautilya.

  The voice of Chakrabani would at times resemble that of MGR but it always carried a sobre touch not reaching the dynamic voice vibration of his younger brother. However,his dialogue delivery was always very calculative and contexutally relevant to the sobre roles he played in most of the films.What was extraordinary about his acting was,the time space he would give to words,in rendering dialogues with exact thrust and accent on the words,meant to reach the audience with their intended meanings.

  MGR's magnificent popularity would have naturally made this sobre elder brother  stand behind his younger sibling and happily watch the latter's progressive career,as a mass hero and mass political leader,with a kind of hidden pride and joy. Nevertheless, Tamil cinema cannot afford to ignore the perfect and higly penetrating demonstarion of thespian skill of this elder sibling of MGR,who powerfully displayed his grip over his performance,both as a stage artist and film actor.



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