Author Topic: Iconic Leading Men of INDIAN CINEMA😎  (Read 504 times)

Offline MysteRy

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Iconic Leading Men of INDIAN CINEMA😎
« on: December 29, 2023, 10:00:49 AM »


Matinee-idol turned politician Maruthur Gopalan Ramachandran (1917-1987), fondly known as MGR, became Tamil Nadu’s most popular mass leader and rode like a colossus during the turbulent transitional socio-political period of the state for more than three decades as an actor supreme and as a political leader invincible, till his death in 1987. A fiercely political actor, he became a near god-like figure in Tamil Nadu, commanding a fan-following that has not been matched since. He established his career in films at a time when the medium was catching the attention of young and talented Tamil cultural nationalists. These writer-politicians wrote scripts of political, social and religious reform for the athletic actor. By the mid-50s, the MGR film persona had proven to have extraordinary appeal to rural and urban mass audiences. Challenging the caste and class hierarchies regularly through his film roles, MGR was looked at as the solution to society’s ills, dispensing justice in manners unimaginable in reality. His films were often predicated on portraying him as a protector of oppressed peoples, often overcoming insurmountable odds with superhuman feats of strength and determination.

Born in Kandy, Sri Lanka, it may be a surprise to many that MGR was actually born in a Malayali family and wasn’t Tamilian by birth. His father passed away while he was quite young and struggling with poverty, his mother returned to Kerala. At only six years of age, MGR displayed an affinity towards acting when he joined the Madurai Original Boys theater group and was trained in dancing, acting and sword-fighting. MGR made his debut with ‘Sathi Leelavathi’ (1936) and after struggling for years bagged a major role in ‘Rajkumari’ (1947). It was the huge success of ‘Manthiri Kumari’ (1950) that shot him to stardom. More onscreen success followed with films like ‘Marmayogi’ (1951), ‘Malaikkallan’ (1954), ‘Gul-e-Bakaavali’ (1955), the Gevacolor ‘Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum’ (1955), ‘Madurai Veeran’ (1956), ‘Nadodi Mannan’ (1958), ‘Thirudathe’ (1961), ‘Periya Idathu Penn’ (1963), ‘Panathottam’ (1963), ‘Padakotti’ (1964), ‘Enga Veettu Pillai’ (1965), ‘Anbe Vaa’ (1966), ‘Rickshawkaran’ (1971), among many others.

Historian M.S.S. Pandian’s essay on MGR, ‘The Image Trap’, attempts to explain MGR’s extraordinary popularity and support among the poor, “The typical MGR hero is a low-status underdog, who acquires the power to dispense justice, uses education or literacy as a tool to struggle and defends women’s honor.” It held a tremendous appeal to the poor and most importantly, women. It’s argued that when MGR acted the part of an action hero, it became imperative for the narrative to make him a hero who would protect/save the heroine/women in distress. Pandian asserts that MGR “carefully created a screen image that corresponded to ‘the cultural presuppositions’ of Tamil Nadu’s subaltern classes as manifested in the state’s folk-hero ballads”.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2023, 10:04:42 AM by MysteRy »

Offline MysteRy

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Re: Iconic Leading Men of INDIAN CINEMA😎
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2023, 10:06:01 AM »


The earliest bonafide star actor- singer of the south Indian film industries, M. Krishnamurthy Thyagaraja Bhagavathar was introduced in K. Subrahmanyam’s ‘Pavalakkodi’ (1934), in the role of Arjuna. Prior to his film debut he was already the biggest star of the Tamil stage, performing since his childhood in the famous F.G. Natesa Iyer’s stage troupe. His distinctive persona- shoulder-length hair, kohl-rimmed eyes and diamond earrings- made him a perfect fit for the entire gamut of ornate mythological/ devotional plays that were de rigueur then. Following his film debut, he was, briefly, the highest paid actor in South India.

His performances in Ellis Duncan’s ‘Ambikapathy’, Y.V. Rao’s ‘Chintamani’ (both 1937), Raja Chandrashekhar’s ‘Ashok Kumar’ (1941) and his moving portrait of a reformed saint ‘Haridas’ (1944) were iconic ones in early Tamil cinema, setting the template for the heroic protagonist in grand mythologicals. The prominent mainstream Tamil studio Newtone was established in 1937 with the efforts of Bhagavathar among others. In music, he was a votary of the Tamizhisai movement that sought to give precedence to indigenous Tamil music, over traditional Carnatic music with its preponderance of Telugu, Kannada and Sanskrit.

In 1945, Bhagavathar- along with the comic actor N.S. Krishnan- was jailed for his alleged involvement in the notorious Lakshmikantan case. Released after two years, he made a highly publicised comeback with his own production ‘Raja Mukthi’ (1948), which, unfortunately, failed to create any impact. ‘Pudhu vazhu’ (1957), one of his final films as an actor, was his directorial debut.

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Re: Iconic Leading Men of INDIAN CINEMA😎
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2024, 08:47:54 PM »


Earning the title ‘Nadigar Thilagam’ (The Actor of Actors) for his unparalleled contributions, Sivaji Ganesan (1928-2001), born V. Chinnaiya Manrayar Ganesamoorthy, is regarded as one of the greatest actors in the history of Tamil cinema. He ruled the industry as a leading man right through the 1950s and 1960s, along with MGR and Gemini Ganesan, and pioneered the style of grand standing dialogues and expressions in the early age of Tamil cinema. Also referred to as ‘The Marlon Brando of South India’ for his distinctive body language, his clear, powerful voice, matchless dialogue delivery, mastery over three different classical dance forms and method acting prowess, in a career spanning close to five decades, Ganesan acted in nearly 300 films in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi.  It is said that Brando once met Ganesan and said, “Sivaji can act like me, but I cannot act like him.” Born in Villupuram, he came to be known as ‘Sivaji’ Ganesan because of his performance as the Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji in C.N. Annadurai’s play ‘Sivaji Kanda Hindu Samrajyam’ (Sivaji’s Hindu kingdom). It’s said that Tamil reformer ‘Periyar’ was so impressed by his performance that he called him ‘Sivaji’, and the name stuck.

Sivaji Ganesan made his acting debut in 1952 with ‘Parasakthi’, which became a blockbuster, especially due to its dialogues penned by Karunanidhi and the manner in which Ganesan rendered it. After its success, Karunanidhi and Ganesan worked in many successful films like ‘Thirumbi Paar’ (1953), ‘Manohara’ (1954), ‘Kuravanji’ (1960) and ‘Iruvar Ullam’ (1963). Other pertinent films of Ganesan include ‘Veerapandiya Kattabomman’ (1959) which took Ganesan to the pinnacle of Tamil cinema and earned him international recognition for his talent, ‘Pasamalar’ (1961), ‘Karnan’ (1964), ‘Thiruvilaiyadal’ (1965), ‘Mudhal Mariyadhai’ (1985), among others. Ganesan played nine different characters representing nine different emotional states in the 1964 film ‘Navarathri’, which was Ganesan’s 100th film. Apart from acting, Sivaji Ganesan delved into film production and also entered the political arena briefly.

Interestingly, Sivaji Ganesan was the first artiste from India to be invited in 1962 by the then US President, John F. Kennedy, to visit the United States as part of the cultural exchange programme of the US government when he was designated India’s cultural ambassador. During his visit there, he was made the honorary mayor of Niagara Falls, New York for one day and was presented the key to the city. The only other Indian who was given this honor before Ganesan was Jawaharlal Nehru. Ganesan once said about the art of acting, “Acting is like going for a tiger hunt. You need to aim for a headshot, otherwise the tiger will eat you. This fear made me rehearse every time before a shot for 40 years.”

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Re: Iconic Leading Men of INDIAN CINEMA😎
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2024, 07:56:33 PM »


Ramasamy Ganesan, widely recognized as Gemini Ganesan and part of the celebrated trio of actors alongside MG Ramachandran (MGR) and Sivaji Ganesan, played a pivotal role in dominating the Tamil cinema scene for several decades. Ganesan's journey to fame commenced as a casting assistant at the renowned Gemini Studios in Chennai. Situated near the present-day Gemini Flyover in the heart of Chennai, this studio served as a breeding ground for numerous accomplished actors in the Tamil film industry.

Gemini Ganesan earned the moniker 'Gemini Ganesan' due to his enduring connection with the studio, a name that remained with him throughout his illustrious career spanning over five decades and featuring in more than 200 movies. He showcased his acting prowess in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, and Hindi films. His remarkable achievements in Tamil cinema earned him the title of the 'King of Romance.' In 1953, he took on the lead role in "Manam Pola Mangalyam" alongside Savitri. This comedy, centered around mistaken identities, not only emerged as a commercial triumph but also catapulted Ganesan and Savitri to stardom. Although no copies of the film exist today, it is remembered for not only its success but also for fostering a real-life connection between the two lead actors, as noted by film historian Madabhushi Rangadorai, popularly known as Randor Guy. According to Guy, "The film was a thumping success and the hero became a star. A new era in Tamil cinema, that of the Romantic Hero, had dawned. This hero did not indulge in fisticuffs every fifth scene, nor did he deliver jaw-breaking, alliterative, and seemingly endless passages of dialogue."

The historian V Sriram wrote that Ganesan was “out of the ordinary” when compared to most of his contemporaries. For one, Ganesan was a graduate and a former Chemistry teacher – a rarity for thespians from that era. Ganesan did not limit the academic pursuits of his children either.

In a career spanning nearly 50 years, Ganesan played a variety of roles, from Abhimanyu in Mayabazar (1957), to resistance fighter Madasamy in Kappalottiya Thamizhan (1961), and Pennin Perumai (1960), he played a "non-assertive imbecile morphing into a well-molded human being". Ganesan also starred in Kalathur Kannamma (1959), which was also the debut for Kamal Haasan, who would later become one of the leading actors in Tamil cinema. Ganesan also starred in Veerapandiya Kattabomman (1959), alongside Sivaji Ganesan. Ganesan's 1961 film Then Nilavu, was the first Tamil film to be shot extensively in Jammu and Kashmir, and became a major box-office success.[21][22] He co-starred with rival actor M. G. Ramachandran in Mugarasi (1966), which was their only film together.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2024, 07:58:22 PM by MysteRy »