Behind The BBC Interview

Sri MGR Year 95, 17th May, Thursday

 

The first time I heard the crystal clear voice of our beloved Leader Puratchi Thalaivar MGR was the BBC Tamil Oosai interview he had given to Mr.Krishnamurthy in London and the same was published in our MGR Blog during September 23rd 2009.

 

I do not have enough information like where the interview took place and the exact date of the interview like wise. Till date the interview was heard by 238418 people in youtube. The same was copied by others and posted and it also made some staggering hundred hits per day.

 

Recently Mr.Ramesh sent me a message on seeing the interview of MGR and told me that he had been in tears on hearing the interviewer’s voice, because he is the son of Mr.Krishnamurthy, the interviewer, who worked in BBC Tamil Oosai as a freelance contributor in the late 1950s, then became Head of the BBC World Service Tamil Section in the 1960s, and after that contributed again on a freelance basis, until he sadly passed away in February 1974.

 

mgr_bbc

 

krishnamurthy

 

Ramesh asked me to forward the whole 17-minute MGR – Krishnamurthy Interview, and I emailed him with one condition not to pass this on the internet. Because I have not posted the second part so far and I am working on it. And Mr.Ramesh has sent some pictures to share in our MGR blog. One photo is MGR speaking with other members of BBC Tamil Oosai in the BBC Bush House, Strand, London, WC2B 4PH, where World Service (including Tamil Section) was housed. The place where the interview took place.

 

mgr_krishnamurthy_bbc

 

Mr.Krishnamurthy came to London in 1951, and his family moved on to United Kingdom in 1953. Mr.Ramesh lived in Chennai (Madras, as many people called it in those days) from 1959 to 1961 and that time he watched some Tamil and many Hindi movies with his cousins, but he cannot remember which MGR movies he saw. He also came to India again in 1973 and returned in 1974 a week before his father’s death.

 

 krishnamurthy_kathakali

 

ramsey_krishnamurthy

 

Here comes the date part. I am not sure exactly when this interview was recorded. I have mentioned that on returning from the Moscow Film Festival MGR had been interviewed and I safely put the date to 1974. But Mr.Ramesh informed me that his father has left this earth in early Feb 1974. And we know that the Moscow film festival was held on 10th to 23rd July 1973. Fortunately, Mr.Ramesh has sent me the BBC Bush House office photo, where a Tamil Calendar showing July 1973 can be seen hanging behind MGR. that gives us the exact month, so the interview should be July 1973 and the date? It should be after 23rd July. Since both MGR and Mr.Krishnamurthy are no more and we still cannot get the exact date of this interview, but only Actress Latha can.

 

mgr_tamil_section_bush_house

 

Mr.Ramesh further told me that he cannot understand the interview in detail because he remembers only a little Tamil from his childhood. He did study Tamil later, during 1978-80 with Dr John Marr at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), London University, but that was only Classical (Sangam) Tamil poetry.

 

For persons who thinks that this photo of MGR and Krishnamurthy (Tamil Calendar behind) must be in Tamil Nadu.

(Please see:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-radio-and-tv-17198031

which states that World Service was in Bush House from 1940 to 2012.

Anyone who worked in the World Service would recognize that the office

in the photo was in Bush House)

 

ramesh_1

 

Ramesh has given me 3 more photos of his father, one taken in the BBC Bush House Studio, one with 2 kathakali performers in London, and one with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Michael Ramsey.

 

 ramesh_actor

 

Ramesh was working as a University Lecturer until he retired last year, and now he is an amateur actor.

 

The above post was corrected by Ramesh.

 

More about Ramesh

http://www1.aston.ac.uk/lss/staff/krishnamurthyr/

And his career history below

http://www.btinternet.com/~ramesh28/

10 Comments

  1. Really interesting ! thanks ‘Roop’ Good job !

    • Thank you for the comment Sir. The credit goes to Ramesh.

  2. I am Ramesh’s cousin and I was the one who found the Interview on You Tube. I just could not believe my ears when I heard it.

  3. It’s unbelievable! As kids we used to strain our ears to hear uncle speak on BBC on our Philips radio.

  4. I am also Ramrsh cousin ( based in Chennai ) and I was very pleasantly surprised that Ramesh father actually interviewed MGR whose pictures I used to see in Bombay without fail from 1964
    onwards when I was a 10 Year old boy

    Regards
    Mohan , Chennai

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