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|Madras Rajagopala Radhakrishnan Naidu|
Portrait of M. R. Radha
April 14, 1907|
Madras, Madras State, British India
|Died||September 17, 1979
Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India
|Spouse(s)||M. R. Saraswathi
M. R. Dhanalakshmi
Madras Rajagopala Radhakrishnan Naidu (b. 14 April 1907 - 17 September 1979), popularly known by his stage name, M. R. Radha was an Indian film actor and politician. He was given the title of "Nadigavel" for his acting prowess. After a successful career on stage in his early years, he acted in films from the 1930s to the 1970s, and then, giving up films, he went back to his first love - Stage.
Radha left his home at an early age due to a quarrel with his mother that she refused to give an extra piece of fish to eat. Radha was a popular theater artist who made more than 5000 stage shows. Starting at the age of 10, he appeared in small roles, grew to a level that stories for dramas were custom made for him.
Radha gained popularity with the success of his stage play Ratha Kanneer. When he acted in the film version of the play,which also showed the versatility of the famous directors Krishnan-Panju, he quickly gained his star status. Rattha Kanneer gave Radha an international recognition and an award.
With his versatile acting, Radha played both villain and comedian roles. After the 1950s, film-makers created roles specially for him, and he often overshadowed even main actors like MGR and Sivaji Ganesan. He was an active member of the self-respect movement, and was known for his atheistic views. Towards the end of his career, however, he started acting in Hindu devotional movies like Velum Mayilum Thunai. He often used to ridicule atheism in these movies and was a follower of Thanthai Periyar, the rationalist.
On 12 January 1967, Radha and a producer from Muthukumaran Pictures visited M. G. Ramachandran at his home to talk about a future project. During the conversation, Radha suddenly got up from his chair and shot twice at Ramachandran's left ear. Both bullets lodged in Ramachandran's neck. Radha then turned the gun on himself but it just scratched his right temple.
Radha and Ramachandran were admitted to the same hospital, where Ramachandran spoke with own voice for the last time prior to surgery. Radha lost support when they came to know that he had hurt one of their heroes.
Radha was imprisoned for the shooting of Ramachandran, whose fans then purposely committed crimes so that they could go to prison to confront Radha. He was assaulted and hospitalised several times. His son, M. R. R. Vaasu, avoided visiting him in the fear of losing movie chances.
Released from jail, Radha died of jaundice on 17 September 1979 aged 72 at his residence in Thiruchirappalli. His popularity had improved and his funeral procession was one of the largest in South India, as over 200,000 mourners paid respect. He was survived by his wives, M. R. Saraswathi and M. R. Dhanalakshmi.
His children include Radha Ravi, Raadhika Sarathkumar and Nirosha. After the shooting of Ramachandran, he had to send his infant daughter Raadhika to Ceylon because her life would have been in danger from Ramachandran's supporters. She grew up in Ceylon and later in London.
- Ratha Kanneer
- Aayiram Roobai
- Kaikodutha Deivam
- Paava Mannippu
- En Kadamai
- Pudhiya Paravai
- Bale Pandiya
- Petraldhan Pillaya
- Thaikku Pin Thaaram
- Kavalai Illaadha Manithan
- Thayai kaatha thanayan
- Paalum Pazhamum
- Padithal Mattum Podhuma
- Naanum Oru Penn
- Koduthu Vaithaval
- Velum Mayilum Thunai
- Rathinapuri Ilavarasi
- Thai solli Thathathe
- Petralthan Pillaya
- Periya Idhathu Penn
- Anandha Jodhi
- Ulagam Sirikkirathu
- M.R. Radha at the Internet Movie Database
- A news item on a special postal envelope released in his honour
- A scene from "Paava mannippu"