Super Star and singer in the 1930s and 1940s M.K. Thyagaraja Bagavadhar (1909-1959) was well thought-out as the first superstar of Tamil Cinema (Kollywood). His first movie was “Pavalakodi” in 1934 and he appeared in another 14 movies until his death. Most of his movies were record breakers. Haridass, released in 1944, ran continuously for three years in Chennai Broadway Theatre. He was charged with murder in 1944 but was acquitted and released in 1946. Prior to the arrest he was booked to make 12 movies, but he lost interest and the few movies he did make were unsuccessful. Nevertheless he still drew huge crowds in concerts.
He quietly spent his last years, having lost almost all his wealth defending his case. Reeling under poverty, widow of the actor, Rajambbal wrote a letter to Chief Minister M Karunanidhi that she found it difficult to make both the ends meet and she was also to undergo treatment for some ailments. Chief Minister M Karunanidhi immediately sanctioned an amount of Rs one lakh and instructed the Chennai collector to handover the cheque at her residence on Friday itself. This shows the undeterred love the Chief Minister has for the film fraternity.