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A legend fades into oblivion

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M.K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar
M.K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar

Syed Muthahar

TIRUCHI: He was the uncrowned monarch of the Tamil filmdom of yesteryears and the first actor to give three consecutive hits. His movie `Haridas' created history by running through three Deepavalis.

He was the richest star of his time, if the golden plate used by him for dinner/lunch was any indication. And he drove the latest cars.

But M.K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar, popularly known as MKT, is now an unknown figure even in his native Tiruchi city.

No memorial has been erected either by the State Government or the actors' association to perpetuate his memory. His `samadhi' at Sangiliandapuram wears a deserted look. A plaque proclaims that the great Carnatic musician-cum-actor was laid to rest here beside his father.

His stage play `Pavalakodi' was made into a movie in 1934 and the succeeding ten years brought him unrivalled fame as a movie star. However, he lost it after being arrested in a murder case. Though acquitted later, he could not regain his charisma and died in 1959.

During the first AIADMK regime, MGR named Kalaiarangam cinema theatre in Tiruchi city Thyagaraja Bhagavathar Manram.

The Communist Party of India, at a recent conference organised by its Sangiliandapuram unit, urged the Chief Minister to take steps for constructing a memorial for MKT.

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