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Sunday, June 2, 2019

Elephant which acted with MGR, Rajni is no more.. !!

Elephants are so attractive…. I had earlier posted about ‘Azhwar’ the majestic yet extremely friendly elephant of Sri Parthasarathi Swami temple… recently I had posted of the rejuvenation camp for elephants held by TN Govt. I read this news in TOI with interest, expect that some of my friends will have some little interest – the news item was ‘Jumbo that shared screen with MGR dies’..

Elephants have a great bond with humans – it is stated that some of the adulthood-cycle experiences of an elephant are very similar to that of a human.  Both will continue to reproduce until mid-life; a cow typically produces a single calf, and will have babies up to around fifty years old.  The elephant mother and her family become so attached to the baby infant given the 22 months she carries it around. The adult elephant also experiences similar adult human illnesses which are attributed to age.  The elephant can suffer from cardiovascular problems, as well as suffering from the age-related arthritis.  Despite these age-related illnesses,  the elephant can live a long natural life if it is not poached or culled. The average life span of an elephant is stated to be about 70 years.  A Natgeo report however puts the median life span at 17 years for  African i.e., zoo-born females, compared to 56 years in  National parks.  The reports puts the average age of Myanmar’s timber elephants at  42.

Rathi, that way lived longer – she was 77.  She had shared tinseldom with MGR, Rajnikanth and Rajesh Khanna.  She was reportedly the oldest of the camp at Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in the Nilgiris when she passed away on  23rd Jan 13.   Rathi starred alongside MGR and Chief minister Jayalalithaa in 1971 released film - Neerum Nerupum, directed by P Neelakandan, A year later, she was signed for Nalla Neram, directed by M A Thirumugam, starring MGR in the lead role and K R Vijaya as the heroine.The film was a remake of the 1971 Hindi super hit Haathi Mere Saathi starring Rajesh Khanna.  Both of which had storyline centering around elephants.

After a six-year break, Rathi returned to the film industry in Rajni hit ‘Annai Oru Alayam’ where Sripriya was the heroine.  According to the National park sources, the elephant had remained healthy all along before showing symptoms of weakness and dying. TOI reports that  Rathi was brought to the Theppakadu camp in 1942 when she was six years old. She grew up in the camp as a tame elephant.Till she turned 60,Rathi took part in all activities,including patrolling and elephant rides and trained other elephants, said Pushpakaran,MTR forest range officer.She gave birth to 10 jumbos.
Annai Oru Alayam  the Rajni starrer was directed by R.Thyagarajan. The movie  was about  a hunter whose life takes a turn following accidental death of his mother; then helps a captured baby elephant reunite with its mother.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
24th Jan 2013.

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