S. S. Rajendran
|S. S. Rajendran|
|Native name||எஸ். எஸ். ராஜேந்திரன்|
|Born||Sedapatti Suryanarayana Devar Rajendran
Usilampatti, Madras Presidency, British India
|Died||24 October 2014
|Occupation||film actor, director, producer, politician|
|Years active||1952 to 2014|
Sedapatti Suryanarayana Devar Rajendran, commonly known by his stage name S. S. Rajendran (SSR), (Tamil: எஸ். எஸ். ராஜேந்திரன்; January 1928 – 24 October 2014) was an Indian film actor, director, producer and politician. In acting, he was noted for his attractive personality and correct and clear pronunciation of Tamil words. He died at the age of 86 in Chennai.
S. S. Rajendran, popularly known as SSR, was born at Sedapatti hamlet near Usilampatti, Madras Presidency, India. His father Surya Narayana Devar and Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Devar were class mates and close friends. When Muthuramalinga Devar visited Surya Narayana Devar to bless his 2 month old son, he named him Rajendran. S.S.R was introduced to Tamil cinema through the hit film Parasakthi, released in 1952. He was a cult figure in the early 1950s and 60s who thrilled movie fans by his breath-taking dialogue delivery and flawless Tamil pronunciation — a feat only matched by the thespian Sivaji Ganesan. SSR first received offers to act on stage productions when he was in the 6th std. He joined Puliya Maanagar Boy's Company, which was famous in southern Tamil Nadu, established by P. K. Subba Reddiyar. He started acting in the productions in small roles, and soon after was selected to act as "Bala Abhimanyu".
Later he joined T.K.S. Brothers Drama Company, Muththamizh Kala Vidva Rathna TKS Sabha. T. K. Shanmugam, his mentor, was taken ill one day and could not perform in the play that night for Siva Leela. Rajendran, who was hardly 15 years old, was selected by the troupe to act as the hero Shenbagapandian, replacing Shanmugam. He became a drama star overnight. During those days, he had several opportunities to meet Periyar E. V. Ramasamy and Arignar C. N. Annadurai. He left T.K.S. drama company in 1943 and joined Mohana Gana Sabha in Madras.
He had his first film offer in Abhimanyu, but the opportunity was lost to S. M. Kumaresan. SSR became a playback singer with the song "Inba ulakile manmadhan poonganai" in the film Andaal — music by G. Ramanathan, produced by Salem Moorthy Pictures. After that Rajendran started his own drama company and made efforts to enter filmdom.
SSR was introduced to Tamil cinema through the hit film Parasakthi in 1952, directed by renowned duo directors Krishnan-Panju, in the character Gnanasekharan, as the elder brother of Sivaji Ganesan. Following with block busters Mudhalali, President Panchatcharam, Pillai Kani Amudhu, Thalai Koduthan Thambi, Thedi Vandha Selvam, C. N. Annadurai's Edhayum Thangum Idhayam, M. Karunanidhi's Avan Pithana, Poompuhar and Modern Theatres Kumudham. SSR acted with M. G. Ramachandran in Raja Desingu as Mohamed Khan and in Kaanji Thalaivan as Paranjothi. He had worked in many films with Sivaji Ganesan such as Manohara, Rangoon Radha, Raja Rani, Deivapiravi, Aalayamani, Pachai Vilakku, Pazhani, Kungumam, Shanthi and Kai Kodutha Dheivam (This film won National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil - President's Silver Medal in 1965.)
Other notable films were Sorgavasal, Ammaiyappan, Ratha Kanneer, Kuladeivam, Thai Piranthaal Vazhi Pirakkum, Kalyanikku Kalyanam, Sivagangai Seemai, also in AVM's Kaakkum Karangal, Poomalai and K. Balachander's Ethiroli. SSR was one of the hero in demand who acted non-stop, when M. G. Ramachandran and Sivaji Ganesan ruled the Tamil industry. S. S. Rajendran carved out a niche for himself and dominated the field. He paired with leading heroines like B. Saroja Devi, Padmini, C. R. Vijayakumari, M. N. Rajam, Raja Sulochana, Kanchana and K. R. Vijaya.
His drama company SSR Nadaka Mandram staged famous plays. Thousands of plays performed throughout the nation. His noted plays whereOr Iravu (C.N.Annadurai), Manimagudam (M. Karunanidhi), Thenpaandi Veeran (P. Nedumaran). Once his play was staged in Mumbai (Shanmuganandha Hall) in the presence of Raj Kapoor and Prithviraj Kapoor and honoured him. He introduced and gave opportunities to artistes M. N. Rajam, Sheela, Manorama and Navarasa Thilagam R. Muthuraman. Later SSR was very selective about the roles in films.
Director K. S. Gopalakrishnan was introduced from his film Saradha (a silver jubilee hit) and Saradha Studios was established to commomerate the success of this film by its producer A. L. Srinivasan. Like wise, SSRs film "Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum" in which his co-star was Raja Sulochana, a block buster on the year 1958, its producer/director Pulavar A. K. Velan, from the revenue, established a studio named Arunachalam Studios, in Arunachalam Road, Saligramam, Chennai. Debut of Director Muktha Srinivasan was SSRs film Mudhalali, Devika was introduced in this film. Director A. Bhimsingh's first film was Ammaiyappan in which hero was SSR. Director K. Shankar first Tamil film was Sivagangai Seemai.
He has written songs, scripted movies and directed three films Thangarathinam, Alli and Manimagudam in which J. Jayalalitha paired with him. He was honoured by Vijayakanth and Sarath Kumar by offering him notable rolls in their films Vallarasu and Rishi. He also wrote songs "Thunbam Theeradho" for Thangarathinam (1960) sung by T. M. Soundararajan and K. Jamuna Rani and Indraikku Naan Pirandhen for Erattai Manithan music by M. S. Viswanathan. He has sung a song Senthamizhnattu Katharinesavu Selaigal Vettigal Vanguveer in Pudhumaipenn (1959) tuned by K. V. Mahadevan and written by Udumalai Narayana Kavi. Popularly known as ILATCHIYA NADIGAR, he received Seven President awards including central/state. Founder, member of SOUTH INDIAN ARTISTS ASSOCIATION and was elected as its President for three times. SSR was honoured with Thyagaraja Bhagavathar Award by Tamil Nadu State Government, 1999 and also he has received Kalaimamani award.
He joined the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party and raised funds for DMK, he acted in movies glorifying Dravidian ideologies. SSR was the first elected member of legislative assembly among actors in India when he was elected to the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly as an Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam candidateTheni (State Assembly Constituency) in Madras State legislative assembly election, 1962. Subsequently, he was elected as a member (MP) of Rajya Sabha. Later, he joined the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and won from Andipatti constituency in the 1980 assembly election,secured highest leading margin more than other constituencies on that assembly election. He was appointed vice chairman of Small Savings Scheme.
He was born to Adhilakshmi and Suryanarayana Devar who was an official in the education department. SSR had one younger sister Pappammal who was married to actor D. V. Narayanaswamy. SSR mentioned in his autobiography that he first married his stage drama co-star, Pankajammal to whom Elangovan, Rajendrakumar, Kalaivanan, Bhagyalaksmhi and Selvaraj were born. He lived together with cinema actress C. R. Vijayakumari and had a son Ravikumar. Actress Vijayakumari said in an interview "Coffee with Anu" that she never married S.S.R nor exchanged even a garland or a ring with him. Vijayakumari later legally wedded National Muthaliyar. S.S.R also mentioned in his biography that with the consent of his parents he married Thamaraiselvi. There was huge age difference between the couple, S.S.R was 46 whereas Tharmaraiselvi was just 19, they also have a son and daughter named Kannan and Lakshmi.
SSR has never acted in mythological films; he was a strict follower of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy's policy of rationalism. He frequently commented on how he had not acted in any film that was against his principles. Thus he was credited Latchiya Nadigar (Actor of Principles) by Periyar E. V. Ramasamy and Arignar C. N. Annadurai. Initially, the role of Bharadhan in Sampoorna Ramayanam was offered to SSR, but he turned it down due to his reservations. The character was later played by Sivaji Ganesan in the film.
On Arignar Anna's 51st birthday, S.S.R gifted him 50 sovereigns of gold coins. When Anna asked him where is the 51st gift, S.S.R gave him a paper written "My life". When Arignar Anna expired, S.S.R went to Anna's memorial every evening and cried all night. The policemen exclaimed to the press that S.S.R refused to move from Anna's memorial for a month in spite of persuasion.
SSR was full of praise for playback singer T. M. Sounderarajan (TMS) and his evergreen songs that are very popular. He referred TMS as the 'Golden treasure' of Tamil cinema. He was writing his autobiography before his death.
During the last days of U. Muthuramalingam Thevar (Pasumpon Devar), S.S.R visited him and found that he refused to take medical treatment from female nurses, Devar said he lived a bachelor all his life and does not want to be touched by women. Immediately S.S.R appointed a male attendant to help him in his medical treatment. After Muthuramalinga Devar's death S.S.R performed the final rituals in the place of a son.
At the age of 86, Rajendran was admitted in Chennai Meenakshi hospital to treat issues related with lung infection. He died on 24th October 2014, Marudhu Pandiyar kings were hung on the same date of 24th October in 1801 is a coincidence.  
Notable Tamil films.
- President Panchatcharam was a success at the box office.1959 THE HINDU 2/oct/2011
- P.R.Vasantha kumars'ilatchia selvam SSR 1987 'sironmani publications'
- Manorama in her life time award function said...(jan 15 2008) “Those were days when even a fleeting presence on the screen was considered a huge achievement. It was Kannadasan Sir who offered the role. But actually I owe all this to S. S. Rajendran. It was he who invited me to Madras to act in the Kalaignar’s (M. Karunanidhi) play Manimagudam. That play was a resounding success and I was recognised as an actress. Later, I faced the camera for the first time in an unfinished film that had Rajendran and Devika in the lead roles. Then came ‘Maalayitta Mangai.’” recounts the actor.
- Rajasulochana's most successful film, according to critics and moviegoers, was “Thai Pirandhaal Vazhi Pirakkum”. It was remade in Telugu as “Manchi Manasuku Manchi Rojulu” with N. T. Rama Rao playing the lead. The film was directed by her husband, noted writer-director C. S. Rao. (4/sep/2011)memories linger Raja Sulochana,THE HINDU
- "GENERAL ELECTION, 1962 TO THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF MADRAS" (PDF). Election Commission of India. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "S S Rajendran: A Periyar follower, first Tamil actor to turn to politces". New Indian Express. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
- "Veteran Tamil actor SS Rajendran dead". The Times of India. 24 October 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "பழம்பெரும் நடிகர் எஸ்.எஸ். ராஜேந்திரன் காலமானார்". Tamil Language. Daily Thanthi. 24 October 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.