The MGR Phenomenon: How to be Worshipped by Those You Exploit

Films and politics have shared a close relationship in Tamil Nadu. From being a medium for anti-British propaganda, films in Tamil Nadu evolved to provide the Dravidian Movement the required filip and enabled the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)'s success in elections.

But, what edge do those with a silver screen presence have over other contenders? How can films be used by the dominant strata to manufacture consent among common people? In his writings on Tamil Nadu over the years, MSS Pandian painted a vivid picture of how an image on screen can transform into a phenomenon which affects real lives of common people. 

In the following mind map, we explore how MG Ramachandran (MGR), popular actor and subsequently the founder of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party in Tamil Nadu, could become one such phenomenon. 

 

 

 

 

You can read the original article in full here

[Illustration by Chaitanya Mandugula (chaitanya@epw.in)]

 

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