Octogenarian attends public functions dressed as the matinee idol
As he attends public functions or walks along the road, many curious onlookers involuntarily greet him with folded hands.
T.R. Kailasam enjoys celebrity status derived from a legend. The octogenarian bachelor dons a familiar outfit and resembles one of the most celebrated heroes of Tamil cinema — MGR.
A month ago, at the inauguration — attended by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, senior bureaucrats and a large number of people — of the new police commissionerate in the city, Mr. Kailasam made several heads turn.
He waved at the visitors, often showing the ‘V’ sign resembling the ‘two leaves’ symbol. But he is not a functionary of any political party.
Mr. Kailasam says he wears MGR’s trademark fur cap, watch on the right wrist and dark sunglasses only to cheer people up.
“People are visibly happy when they see me. I am a celebrity among grassroots people. Many cherish the ideals of MGR and try to emulate him but I live like him. I try to help the poor in whatever way I can. Many pose for photographs with me. I am a devotee of the great leader, not a fan,” he says.
After retiring from government service in 1992, Mr. Kailasam began to imbibe the qualities of MGR.
“Many films these days seem to trigger negative thought processes in the youth. Parents are scared their children will get influenced by such movies. But MGR’s films were of a completely different nature. Every film had a message for society. All his movies were based on poetic justice and highlighted the fact that truth would ultimately triumph,” he says.
A resident of Kannamapet in T. Nagar, Mr. Kailasam attends as many public functions as possible.
Though many rickshaw pullers and autorickshaw drivers offer him free rides, he prefers to take public transport.
With a pension of a little over Rs. 10,000 every month, this old man manages a decent living without making any comprises on his hero worship.