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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
|Other names||Nadiga vel|
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. Recently, Rattha Kanneer has been remade by Upendra from Karnataka. Rattha Kaneer is his most famous work that was acclaimed by veteran actors Dev Anand, Amitabh Bachchan and others who termed it as one of the brilliant performances in Indian film history, and no other actor could ever duplicate that role.
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 Dravidian 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.
On 12 January 1967, M.R.Radha visited M.G. Ramachandran with a producer Mr. Vasu of Muthukumaran Pictures,at his home to talk about a future project. But during the conversation Radha suddenly got up from his chair and shot twice in M.G. Ramachandran's left ear. Since the angle of the gun pointed toward MGR's neck both bullets got lodged in his neck by seriously affecting MGR's left eardrum. After shooting MGR Radha turned the gun on himself but it just scratched his right temple. M R Radha was admitted in same hospital immediately after MGR was admitted. He also said "Naan thaan sutteen. Policeukku statement koduthacchu.". In the hospital before the surgery MGR spoke with own voice for the last time.
When M.R.Radha was in prison for shooting MGR, MGR's fans purposely committed crimes so that they could go to prison to meet M.R.Radha and show their anger in a violent way by assaulting him and sending him to the prison hospital a number of times. Even M.R.Radha's son M.R.R.Vaasu avoided visiting him in the fear of losing movie chances.
M.R.Radha died of jaundice on 17 September 1979 aged 72 at his residence in Thiruchirappalli. His popularity soared upon release from jail. His funeral procession was one of the largest in South India, as nearly two to three hundred thousand mourners paid respect to an iconic legend of the Tamil film industry, as well as being a key figure in the Dravidian movement and social reform throughout India. During his death, he was survived by his 5 wives, late M.R.Prema,late M R Saraswathi,Late M R Dhanalakshmi Late M.R.Jayammal,Late M.R.Babyammal, and 12 children.
- 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"
- A scene from Rattha Kanneer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW-5gM0J_Jk