Madras Rajagopala Radhakrishnan Naidu popularly known by his stage name, M. R. Radha was an Indian film actor and politician. He was given the title of “Nadigavel” for his acting prowess. After a successful career on stage in his early years, he acted in films from the 1930s to the 1970s, and then, giving up films, he went back to his first love – Stage.
Radha left his home at an early age due to a quarrel with his mother that she refused to give an extra piece of fish to eat.Radha was a popular theater artist who made more than 5000 stage shows. Starting at the age of 10, he appeared in small roles, grew to a level that stories for dramas were custom made for him. Radha gained popularity with the success of his stage play Ratha Kanneer. When he acted in the film version of the play, he quickly gained his star status. Rattha Kanneer gave Radha an international recognition and an award. Recently, Rattha Kanneer has been remade by Upendra from Karnataka. Rattha Kaneer is his most famous work that was acclaimed by veteran actors Dev Anand, Amitabh Bachan and others who termed it as one of the brilliant performances in Indian film history, and no other actor could ever duplicate that role.
With his versatile acting, Radha played both villain and comedian roles. After 1950s, film-makers created roles specially for him, and he often overshadowed even main actors. He was an active member of the Dravidian movement, and was known for his atheistic views. Towards the end of his career, however, he started acting in Hindu devotional movies likeVelum Mayilum Thunai. He often used to ridicule atheism in these movies.