Multi-talented Sandow M.M.A. Chinnappa Devar, A Staunch Devotee of Lord Muruga

Sandow M.M.A.Chinnappa Devar was a popular devotee of Lord Muruga all his life. This famous film maker had produced movies with animals and his house used to resemble a zoo. Devar is well known for producing movies in a short span of time. His partnership with Chief Minister M.G.Ramachandran is legendary. He had produced several super duper hits with MGR as the hero. ‘Neela Malai Thirudan’ was his movie and it was the first instance when he used animals.
Devar was deeply devoted to Lord Muruga all his life. He hailed from a Coimbatore based family and had worked in Rajalakshmi Mills for sometime. Thanks to the existence of the Central Studios, it was possible for him to make ever lasting friendships with a number of movie people who included M.G.Ramachandran, M.N.Nambiar, T.S.Baliaya, K.R.Ramaswamy, S.A.Natarajan and A.P.Nagarajan. The friendship with movie friends gave Devar the chance to make movies. He produced movies in Hindi too.
Rajesh Khanna, Rajinikanth, Kamal Hassan, Sivakumar, Shashi Kapoor, Saroja Devi, M.R.Radha, S.A.Asokan , Gemini Ganesan, Muthuraman, AVM.Rajan, V.Gopalakrishnan, Thengai Srinivasan, Sowcar Janaki, Srikanth, Major Sundararajan, K.R.Vijaya are among the major stars who had performed in movies produced by Devar. He was known for his production speed. Old timers used to recall the shooting of the song ‘Akkam pakkam Parkadhe’ in which MGR teaches Saroja Devi cycling on the Ooty hills. He used three jeeps fitted with cameras in order to complete the shooting of this in record time.
Devar was a Muruga Bhaktha all his life and he produced movies connected with his deity during the active part of his career. In all, Devar had produced four such movies – Thunaivan, Deivam, Thiruvarul and Murugan Adimai. The great preacher Thirumuruga Kripananda Varier had acted in his movies. 108 Muruga temples in Tamilnadu were shown by Devar. The audience lapped up these movies. ‘Deivam’ was a very successful movie. The song ‘Marudamalai Mamaniye Murugayya’ rendered by Madurai Somu continues to be an all time favourite. ‘Thiruchenduril Kadalorathil Senthil Nathan Arasangam’ by T.M.Soundararajan and Sirkazhi Govindarajan mesmerized the devotees who watched it on screen.
Sandow M.M.A.Chinnappa Devar used to wear his trademark gold rimmed spectacles, dhoti and smear himself with sandal wood paste regularly. He put of the holy ‘vibhuti’ on his forehead everyday. He used to distribute his movies through Rasheed Bhai and Krishnamurthy Iyer of Ananda Films (Coimbatore). His movies were never given to anyone else. Raja Theatres was his chosen theatre at Coimbatore. Devar was a great devotee and he had contributed much towards the infrastructure of temples connected with Lord Muruga. The Marudamalai, Thiruchendur and Palani temples received much from Devar.
He built mandapams for the devotees visiting the Palani Murugan and Thiruchendur Temples. The huge covered que line in Thiruchendur was a contribution by Devar. He made an elephant walk on the circumambulatory path of the Thiruchendur Temple in order to verify the stability of the structure.
Devar was born on the 28th of June and on every 27th June, he used to go to Lord Muruga’s temple and stay there for the night. He stayed within the temple itself. The devotee producer used to get up early and have a darshan of his favourite deity Lord Muruga and go ahead with his work on his birthday.
Devar had a lot of financial issues during his younger days and he went to Marudamalai in order to seek succor. He found a match box with some money on the way and this brought him relief. Devar borrowed money and produced ‘Thaaikku Pin Tharam’ starring MGR. He placed the completed movie on the feet of Marudamalai Murugan before releasing the same. The movie was the beginning of Devar’s success.
The Marudamalai Murugan Temple did not have an electricity connection many years after independence. Power connections used to exist until Kalveerampalayam only.
Devar had become very successful and wanted to light up the Marudamalai Temple. He understood that unless Kalveeramplayam gets connected it would be impossible to bring electricity to Marudamalai. Therefore he approached the locals and asked them to apply for electric connections. Devar paid the money required for the applications made by the people for most of them were impoverished. Kalveerampalayam got electricity in the year 1962. Electric cables were drawn until Marudamalai and the temple got electric lights due to the efforts of Devar. He fixed 7/12/1962 as the date for dedicating the lights and M.G.Ramachandran was the one who inaugurated the same.
Devar was keen to see his favourite temple Marudamalai every day from his house. Therefore he built a three storied house in Ramanathapuram. He was unable to see the Marudamalai Murugan Temple from this three storied house and he built one more floor in order to view it properly and offer his prayers. Those were times when people built high houses for the purpose of displaying their status but Devar had built a tall house for the purpose of offering his prayers to Lord Muruga at Marudamalai from his house everyday.
Several temples in Tamilnadu continue to speak about the contribution made due to his deep devotion to Lord Muruga.
The successful movie producer was known for his common sense, commitment and hard work.
Sandow M.M.A.Chinnappa Devar will forever be remembered as not only a film producer but also as a staunch devotee of Lord Muruga.
—Rajesh Govindarajulu

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One Thought to “Multi-talented Sandow M.M.A. Chinnappa Devar, A Staunch Devotee of Lord Muruga”

  1. Bala

    I appreciate your keen observation and a nucely written article on Dhevar.
    However, please allow me to point a few things here.

    The title of Lord is given to a human leader and not to a God. May Gods be titled as God.

    Not only Sri Dhevar, but several Naidus, Mudhalis, Kavundars, Komati Chettiars, Aayira vaisiyars, apart from Brahmins have not only worshipped but also have reaped many wonderful boons through God who is kindness personified (as Sri Vaariyar swamigal used to say) Sri Subrahmanyar.

    In Kongu belt, there are numerous Gid Murugan temples, please do write about them too.

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