M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar

A notable person from tamil cinema. such a marvelous actor and he concentrated on other departments also like production and music, he is notable singer in India. Nowadays in cinema artists are just reacting for the song but Thyagaraja Bhagavathar sunged with own voice and acted. He is considered to be one of the most successful Tamil film actors ever. Bhagavathar was born in the town of Mayiladuthurai in then Tanjore district of the Madras PresidencyBritish India. He started his career as a classical singer and stage artist in the late 1920s. In 1934, he made his début in films with the movie Pavalakkodi which turned out to be a hit. From 1934 to 1959, Bhagavathar acted in 14 films of whom 6 were box-office hits. Bhagavathar’s 1944 film Haridas ran for three consecutive years at Broadway Theatre, Madras and created the record for the longest continuous run at a single theatre. Bhagavathar was arrested in 1944 as one of the main suspects in the Lakshmikanthan Murder Case and spent three years in prison before being released in 1947 after a re-trial found him innocent. Bhagavathar’s career declined after his arrest and though he did continue to act in Tamil films after his release from prison, none of them did well. Bhagavathar died of diabetes at the age of 59 on 1 November 1959. Bhagavathar was acclaimed for his powerful, melodious voice and the ease with which he could sing high pitch notes. Critics and film historians acknowledge Bhagavathar as the “first superstar of Tamil cinema”. Bhagavathar was a philanthropist and contributed for important social and religious causes. He was awarded a “Diwan Bahadur” title by the Governor of Madras for his contribution to the British war efforts during the Second World War but he turned it down.

Bhagavathar was born “Thyagaraja” in Mayiladuthurai (then known as Mayavaram), Tanjore District on March 7, 1901. He was the eldest son of Krishnamurthy achary a goldsmith.  A few years after his birth, the family moved to Tiruchirappalli (then known as Trichinopoly), where Thyagaraja was admitted in a local school.

Right from his boyhood, Thyagaraja neglected his studies. Instead, he desired to become a singer. According to a popular anecdote, Thyagaraja once ran away from home after being reprimanded by his father for his decision to become a singer as singing was not considered to be an honourable profession in the conservative Indian society of the early 20th century. Krishnamurthy Achari, eventually, found his son in the Telugu-speaking town of Cuddapah as he was singing to a large group of admiring listeners. Krishnamurthy achary relented and encouraged his son to hone his skills. Soon, Thyagaraja began to sing Hindu religious songs or bhajans.

F.G. Natesa Iyer, a railway officer with South Indian Railways, Trichy and the founder of an amateur theater group, Rasika Ranjana Sabha, is credited with introducing Thyagaraja to the stage. One story is that he heard Thyagaja singing at a bhajan. Impressed with his talent, F.G. Natesa Iyer offered him the role of Lohitadasa in his play Harischandra; with the permission of Thyagaraja’s father. Thyagaraja, who was ten at the time, agreed, and the play was a success. He also started getting trained under the guidance of theater veterans at that time in Trichy.  However, Thyagaraja concentrated more on singing than acting and took a six-year training in Carnatic music from Madurai Ponnu Iyengar, an acclaimed violinist.


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