M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar Biography
Mayavaram Krishnamurthy Thyagaraja Bhagavathar (1 March 1910 – 1 November 1959), also called M.K.T., was an Indian actor, producer and Carnatic music singer. He is considered to be one of the most successful actors in Tamil cinema ever and the first super star of Tamil cinema. Bhagavathar was born in the town of Mayiladuthurai in then Tanjore district of the Madras Presidency, British India.
He started his career as a classical singer and stage artist in the late 1920s. In 1934, he made his début in films with the movie Pavalakkodi which turned out to be a hit. From 1934 to 1959, Bhagavathar acted in 14 films of whom 7 were box-office hits. Bhagavathar's 1944 film Haridas ran for three consecutive years at Broadway Theatre, Madras and created the record for the longest continuous run at a single theatre.
Bhagavathar was arrested in 1944 as one of the main suspects in the Lakshmikanthan Murder Case and spent three years in prison before being released in 1947after a privy council verdict came in his favour. Bhagavathar's career declined after his arrest and though he did continue to act in Tamil films after his release from prison, none of them did well.
Bhagavathar died of diabetes at the age of 49 on 1 November 1959. Bhagavathar was acclaimed for his powerful, melodious voice and the ease with which he could sing high pitch notes. Critics and film historians acknowledge Bhagavathar as the "first superstar of Tamil cinema".