Born at Mayavaram (present day Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam district) on November 1, 1910, M K Thyagaraja Bhagavathar developed close association with Tiruchy, the city that nurtured his acting, singing skills since his childhood. Having acted in about 14 films for 15 years span between 1934 and 1959, several movies of the actor including Haridas (1944), first Tamil film to run for three years in a single theatre at Madras, the earliest known superstar of Tamil cinema after prolonged illness was said to have breathed his last at General Hospital in Chennai on November 1, 1959. “Ashok Kumar, movie released in the year 1941 saw former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister starring along MKT, the latter was protagonist of the movie. Even MGR himself acknowledged that he was noticed in film industry only after having acted with MKT. I have seen all the movies of Bhagavathar, and well versed in 80 of his film songs.” Srirangam N Natarajan (70), Bhagavathar’s fan for past 53 years told.
After Bhagavathar’s death in 1959, his mortal remain was carried in a car to Tiruchy from Madras, as per the request of actor’s family, it is said that his remains were laid to rest at Sangliyandapuram here alongside his father M Krishnamurthy Achariyar and mother K Manikathammal. Since then, it is said that Viswakarma Mahajana Sabha here has been taking care of the maintenance of memorial of the actor situated in Sangliyandapuram. “All his 14 films including the movie Sivagami (1960), that was released after his death should be protected and digitized. Decades have passed yet myself and several other fans for past five decades have been visiting his memorial to sing his much adored songs.” Srirangam N Natarajan, a scrap dealer by profession added.
N Kumarappan, president of Viswakarma Mahajana Sabha said,“Tamil film industry including the Nadigar Sangam has ignored the importance of Tamil film industry's first known superstar. We have requested the State government to build a memorial commemorating his contribution to film industry.” Though neither any streets nor any buildings were named after the actor, as lamented by his fans, common public including drama actors belonging to Tiruchy and adjacent districts paid their floral tributes to MKT at his 58th death anniversary on Tuesday.