wiki:Engal Thangam

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Engal Thangam

aka Our Darling 1970 174’ col Tamil d Krishnan-Panju pc Mekala Pics c S. Maruthi Rao m M.S. Vishwanathan lp M.G. Ramachandran, Jayalalitha, Cho Ramaswamy, A.V.M. Rajan, Manorama, S.R. Janaki, Pushpalata

MGR film made at the height of his popularity, typical of his own propaganda idiom as he broke from the DMK (1972). A concerned and law-abiding truck driver Thangam (MGR) tracks down Murthy (Rajan), the rapist of his blind sister Sumathi (Pushpalata). Out of loyalty to the man’s mother, he forces Murthy to reform and to marry Sumathi (the blind girl’s feelings about having to marry the man who brutally raped her are glossed over). Thangam himself first rescues Kala (Jayalalitha), daughter of a policeman, from a gang of robbers and marries her, having brought the culprits to justice. MGR was the Deputy Chairman of Small Savings in Tamil Nadu’s State Assembly at the time, reflected in the film’s opening sequence where he is called Vathiar (‘teacher’, a term used by his fans) at the opening of a Savings Bank. The film includes footage of a speech by C.N. Annadurai while MGR literally wraps himself in the colours of the DMK: claiming to be the true inheritor of Annadurai’s mantle, MGR often uses the red and black DMK colours in his wardrobe. He also depicts himself as the protector of the poor while preaching against alcohol and smoking. In a highlight of the film he rises from a coffin to sing ‘I died and came back alive, I laughed at Yama’, the god of death, referring to his ‘rebirth’ when he survived a gunshot wound inflicted by fellow actor M.R. Radha in 1967. The incident was earlier referred to, to enhance his heroic image, in Vivasayee (1967).