Tamil Features

5 Quirks: Sandow Chinnappa Thevar

Chinappa Thevar was a go-getter. He had a knack for making the right plans with the right people at the right time. For instance, when Rajesh Khanna was shooting for Aradhana, Chinappa Thevar talked him into being a part of Haathi Mere Saathi. Aradhana went on to become one of the biggest hits of the decade, and Rajesh Khanna’s salary quadrupled. But for Thevar’s film, the actor had already signed at his old price. Thanks to his initiative, Thevar got the star value, without the star’s bills!

Thevar was a dictator when it came to his principles. His films came first, and he wouldn’t bend this rules for his dearest friend. They say there are seven people in the world who are exactly like us. Well, there was only one Chinappa Thevar and he was unique. On the eve of his 100th birthday, we’ve put together five quirks he was infamous for:

1) Chinappa Thevar acquired the moniker ‘Sandow’ due to his physical prowess. Eugen Sandow is considered to be the father of modern body-building. Thevar loved the gymnasium and loved wrestling even more.


2) Thevar was a staunch devotee of Lord Murugan. His films began with a clip of him making an offering to the deity. If he needed a sunny day, he would send a request to Lord Murugan. If he was shooting with animals (which he often was), he believed that nothing would go wrong, because Lord Murugan would handle it. When he heard about Thevar’s devotion, the paramacharya of Kanchi wanted to meet him. He blessed Thevar and told him that Lord Murugan was the guardian of his house. He even asked Thevar to put in a good word for him. At this point, overwhelmed with emotion, Thevar simply broke down.

3) Most of Thevar’s films feature animals. Peacocks, snakes, elephants, goats–you name it, and he’s filmed it. For Haathi Mere Saathi, he brought in elephants from The Great Oriental circus.

4) Thevar had an unusual eye for spotting talent. He put his faith in the right people, and invariably, the actors he launched went on to rule Tamil Cinema. He was very close to MGR and he wast he one who introduced Saroja Devi. Both went on to become towering figures in Tamil Cinema.

5) Due to his ruthlessness when it came to schedules, Thevar was at times called Kollywood’s Idi Amin.

Image credit: The Hindu