Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s remarks, that actors can’t make an impact in Tamil Nadu politics and they would meet the fate of thespian Sivaji Ganesan, have triggered a debate in political and cinema circles.
With fans of Sivaji Ganesan, Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth hitting back at the CM, political commentators pointed out that Palaniswami’s party, the AIADMK, was started by an actor (M G Ramachandran) and nurtured by an actress (J Jayalalithaa). But there are many other actors apart from MGR and Jayalalithaa who had tested political waters. Mykollywood.com tracks.
M R RADHA
Madras Rajagopalan Radhakrishnan was an actor and politician who created a strom in Tamil Nadu politics with his fiery speech. Radha was a popular theatre artiste who performed in more than 5000 stage shows. Starting at the age of 10, he appeared at first in small roles and eventually 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’. His performance in the 1954 film version of the play, directed by Krishnan-Panju, brought wider recognition of his talents and made him a household name in Tamil Nadu. He was an active member of the Self-Respect Movement, and was known for his atheistic views.
S S RAJENDRAN
Sedapatti Suryanarayana Rajendran, also known by his initials SSR was an actor, director, producer and politician who worked in Tamil theatre and cinema. Rajendran made his acting debut with the 1952 film ‘ParasakthI’ directed by the directing duo Krishnan-Panju, with the character Gnanasekharan.
The film which had script by Karunanidhi also marked the acting debut of Sivaji Ganesan. SSR joined the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and became the first elected member of legislative Assembly among actors in India when he was elected to the Tamil Nadu legislative Assembly as a DMK candidate from Theni (State Assembly Constituency) in 1962.
Subsequently, he was elected as a member (MP) of Rajya Sabha. He joined the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and won from Andipatti constituency in the 1980 Assembly election.
Krishnasaamy Bhagyaraj is a director, actor, screenwriter, music director, producer and politician. MGR Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (MGR Popular Progressive Federation) was a political party launched by Bhagyaraj in February 1989.
The MGR MMK party failed in its initial stages. Bhagyaraj later joined All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. He was also seen supporting the DMK.
After the death of MGR in 1987, during a meeting with director C V Sridhar and producer Duraiswamay, an idea came across to Bhagyaraj to make use of the unfinished 1977 film ‘Anna Nee En Deivam’, starring MGR and Lata and make the film ‘Avasara Police 100’, starring himself as well in the lead. This 1990 film was widely promoted as a film with MGR and Bhagyaraj in lead roles and the film was a superhit.
Thesingu Rajendar, better known as T Rajendar, Vijaya T Rajendar or TR, is an Indian film actor, director, politician, composer, screenwriter, songwriter, cinematographer, producer, playback singer and distributor.
Rajendar founded the All India Latchiya Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party in April 2004 after he had been expelled from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).
Before expulsion, he was the propaganda secretary of DMK and was elected from Park Town constituency in the 1996 Assembly polls. He further supported the AIADMK in the 2006 Assembly elections. After 2006 elections, the DMK came back to power and he was made vice-chairman of the Small Savings Scheme. He subsequently quit the post.