MALATHI RANGARAJAN

MGR ORU SAGAAPTHAM: K. P. Ramakrishnan; Vikatan Prasuram, 757, Anna Salai, Chennai-600002. Rs. 80. A MUST-read book for MGR admirers, this looks at the unparalleled actor-turned politician's life, his likes and dislikes, greatness and generosity, through the eyes of his bodyguard and co-actor K. P. Ramakrishnan. Assisted by S. Rajath, Ramakrishnan takes you on a sojourn that showcases the charisma of the hero and erstwhile Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Poignant pictures on nearly all the pages enhance the impact. What strikes you most about the book is the attention the writer has given to even minor details . The recollections move forward and backward chronologically but each event has been meticulously noted. The book has some very interesting items boxed on some of the pages, which throw light on the magnanimity of the man. The help he rendered actor Savitri when she was in dire straits is one such, and it speaks volumes about MGR's helping nature. The largesse he showered on the needy and suffering has been outlined beautifully. He has very prudently skirted controversial issues and still manages to keep the reader engrossed. Having been a stuntman himself, he has also dwelt at length on the concern MGR showed towards the safety of co-artistes when fight sequences were being shot. Small but rare aspects of MGR's life, his daily routine and his health conscious habits add spice to the work. Minor errors in spelling and tense, repetition of lines and abrupt ending of chapters that actually continue into the next, there are, but they can be rectified in the future editions.By the time you come to the end of this 256-page narration, you feel you know M.G.Ramachandran in person well and begin to miss his presence, though several years have passed by. And by the time you reach the chapters that deal with M. R. Radha shooting him with a gun at point blank range, your empathy for MGR is complete. The authenticity in the work is riveting.