wiki:C N Annadurai

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Canjeevaram Natarajan Annadurai (1909-69)

Tamil scenarist, playwright and DMK Party politician who founded the DMK Film propaganda genre. Born in Kanjeevaram; studied at university while translating for the Justice Party and stood for them as a candidate in the Madras City elections (1936). Worked in labour unions and edited a trade union weekly, Nava Yugam. Became a disciple of Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker (1937) and was his lieutenant when Periyar started the Dravidar Kazhagam Party (1944). Wrote his first major play Chandrodayam (1943), in which both he and his later protégé M. Karunanidhi acted, as Party propaganda. Broke away from the DK to start his own Party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (1949), which he led to victory in the Tamil Nadu elections (1967). As Chief Minister, his only film-related action was to reduce entertainment tax. His leadership of the DMK, often considered the golden years of the Party, included diluting Periyar’s anti- brahminism and anti-religious politics, while indulging in a nationalist Tamil rhetoric identifying Hindi, North India and the Congress Party collectively as the main enemy. The DMK’s main ideologue, he wrote extensively on politics, dispensing his views (in e.g. Kambarasam, critiquing the Ramayana for glorifying Aryans) by way of propagandist short stories, novels and plays. Wrote the historical play Shivaji Kanda Indhu Rajyam, propelling Sivaji Ganesan into stardom as the Maratha emperor. Started the successful DMK Film genre, writing the scripts for Velaikkari (1949; based on his own stage play) and Nallathambi (1949), followed by Ore Iravu (1951), Sorgavasal (1954) and Nallavan Vazhvan (1961). His novel Rangoon Radha was adapted to the screen by Karunanidhi (1956). His début, Velaikkari, inaugurated via its lead character, Anandan (played by K.R. Ramaswamy), the enduring convention of subjecting a poor hero to many travails, often seeing his family destroyed, until he stridently denounces his oppressors, often equating the gods with the landlords as joint exploiters of the poor. Ramaswamy and MGR, who was later named the ‘Makkal Thilakam’ (People’s Star), later became stellar figureheads of the DMK. Although Annadurai’s political standing in Tamil Nadu remains unassailable, his scripts have sometimes been seen as modelled on Hollywood’s approach: cf. Nallathambi and Capra’s Mr. Deeds Goes To Town (1936), Sorgavasal and Rouben Mamoulian’s Queen Christina (1933), Rangoon Radha and Cukor’s Gaslight (1944).

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