M.G.R crept into my consciousness this month. I've been trying unsuccessfully to identify the source. Maybe it is one of those binaural beats reinforcing obscure memories of the great leader. However, I do remember when I decided to blog about him. My cousin quizzed me on what M.G.R stands for? Even while answering her, I guessed that not many Thamizhians know the answer to that. M.G.R has transcended from being just his initials to being the only name people know him by. To this day there are pockets of voters who cast their vote to the MGR party irrespective of who's name is actually on the ballot. I've started reading up on him the past few days., and a host of other blogs have documented a wealth of information on him. Here, I've tried to note some sort of a trivial pursuit - essentially facts about M.G.R that I have re-discovered/discovered during these readings.

M.G.R stands for Maruthur Gopala Ramachandran. My twisted memory had it as Maruthapalli Gopalakrishnan Ramachandran. Apparently his producers called him Maximum Guarantee of Return.

He was born in Sri Lanka.

M.G.R has married three times. His first two wives died of illness before he married divorcee Janaki.

IMO, he is the only politician of recent times who has donated all his wealth - to the poor and the hearing impaired.

The national anthem of Vietnam is a modified and translated version of Kannadasan penned M.G.R acted song "Adho andha paravai pola vaazha vaendum"

M.G.R has directed at least two movies - "Ulagam Sutrum Vaalibhan" and "Madurai meetta Sundara Pandian"

The Dumb Charades staple movie title "Kulebhagaavali" is actually an Urdu name "Gul-E-Bhagavali".

During his heydays "En Kadamai" was the only flop.

He was given the nickname 'vaadhiyaar' for the preachy movies and songs that he made. I used to believe that this nickname had something to do with his physique.

It is possible that M.R.Radha was also shot at during the infamous incident. However, M.R.Radha was arrested for shooting at M.G.R.

His trademark hat and glasses were possibly there to cover a declining hairline and poor eyesight respectively. For a long time, I was under the belief that he had a gun hidden under the hat. I don't know who fed me this information. Could be one of those things that kids like to believe. Maybe he did have a gun... who knows?



Mani Ratnam and WOMM

I continue to be impressed by the word of mouth marketing surrounding Mani Ratnam movies. Unlike your staple Kollywood or Bollywood fare there is no grand press release or announcement surrounding his projects. The first time you hear about them is through totally insipid news bites. It is almost as if the journalist is weaving a bigger inconsequential story around a flimsy piece of information. Consider the news item from Indiaglitz:

Rumors are on that Prithviraj has been approached to do a villain in a Manirathinam flick that stars Vikram and Aishwarya Rai in lead roles. Abhisek Bachchan plays the hero in the Hindi version and Vikram replaces Prithviraj as villain.

The rest of the article seems to be built around this miniscule information. There are other news articles which have both Prithiviraj and Vikram sharing screen space with Abhishek Bachchan. Another article questions Prithiviraj's decision to essay a negative character.

Today, Rediff claims a second Mani Ratnam movie titled Ravan with the customary question mark at the end of the news header.

Abhishek-Ash as Rama and Sita?

The article speculates on a movie starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai while passing in mention the untitled bilingual movie of which no one has any real information about.

If this is word of mouth marketing, then it is functioning at the highest level. Stealth mode marketing - buzz surrounding a product that no one knows anything about. Just enough to stir curiosity without really giving anything away. How does he manage this?

WWF message to save polar bears





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Vice President, Membership
P.S. One very effective way to help save wildlife is by becoming a member of WWF's Wildlife Rescue Team today. Get a FREE t-shirt when you join today! You can also learn more about the many ways WWF is working to save the polar bear and other animals, when you visit the new website created exclusively to support this urgent campaign. Thank you.