One morning people woke up to find the front page of ‘dhina thandhi’ bearing two advertisements side by side that caused ripples all over the state- they were for two proposed remakes of the Modern Theaters’ classic ‘uththama puththiran’. This 1940 blockbuster was now suddenly in great demand- both MGR and Sivaji Ganesan were interested in donning the dual roles that had propelled P.U.Chinnappa to instant stardom. MGR intended to produce it himself under his Emgeeyaar Pictures banner. As for Sivaji, Sridhar spearheaded the movie backed by Venus Pictures. And in the end, it was Venus Pictures who succeeded in securing the rights to the story (itself an adaptation of ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’) from Modern Theaters and went on to make the movie with Sivaji Ganesan.However, though MGR lost out to Venus Pictures, he did not give up the idea of playing a double role. Then there came an advertisement in the papers heralding the making of ‘Naadodi Mannan’.
MGR had to face a hurdle here again,the advertisement had barely appeared when there came a rival advertisement announcing that Bharani Pictures had also embarked on an adaptation of ‘The Prisoner of Zenda’. MGR and Bhanumati spoke to each other, each of them requesting the other to give up the project. MGR explained to Bhanumati how much the project meant to him and confided to her that he had pinned all his hopes on ‘Naadodi Mannan’.
(to be contd )