chapter  12
MGR: Politics as Co-text
Pages 16

The two faces running parallel to each other and spread over all the three phases of the entire fi lm career are epitomised in Naadoadi Mannan (NM) and Enga Veettu Pillai (EP). The ‘NM-face’ is the image of MGR-dominant in fi lms that could be classifi ed as the ‘historicals’ such as Marma Yoagi, Mathurai Veeran, Aayiraththil Oruvan, Adimai Penn, and Mathuraiyai Meetta Sunthara Paandiyan. The politicality of the narrative ambience of these ‘historicals’ render the face more ‘naturally’ political. Tactexting political comments, therefore, becomes spontaneous and convenient. The ‘EP-face’ is the image of MGR prominently projected in the ‘socials’ like Malai Kallan, Thirudaathae, Oli Vilakku, Maattukkaara Vaelan, Rikshaakaaran, and Meenava Nanpan. As the narrative setting of the ‘socials’ lends itself to critique the social evils, EP-face, more often than not, is the ‘politicisable’, ‘social’ side of the ‘total’ MGR face interlaced with the octa-motifs. Strikingly, the NM-face acquires pre-eminence during the fi rst phase, whereas the EP-face stands out during the second phase. A calculated amalgam of both the faces with comparatively greater emphasis on the EP-face dominates the third phase. The ‘do-gooder action hero’, however, constitutes the substantial core of the two faces. Throughout all three phases, the tactexting is superbly intricate, complex and consistent, making political events and his fi lms as ‘co-texts’.