M G Ramachandran (Called MGR) is the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (1977-1987). There is a beautiful memorial built for his Samadhi near Marina beach, which is visited by a lot of people every year.
It seems, MGR was the first prominent film personality to be elected as a Chief Minister in India. He was earlier with the DMK and then formed his own party ADMK afterwards. Under MGR, ADMK won all the elections it contested in Tamil Nadu.
The entrance for MGR Memorial has been beautifully constructed (above photo). MGR was a huge film hero of his times. Though I have watched some of his movies, I am not very familiar with his films. It seems, during the introductory songs in his movies people were not able to hear anything in the theatres – the sound was so deafening!
MGR has acted, produced and even directed movies. It seems he was responsible for popularizing the free mid day meals for children who attend corporation schools, which led to a remarkable increase in the number of school enrollments. MGR was awarded the Bharat Ratna award posthumously.
Peraringar Anna Durai, popularly called as Anna (Meaning Elder brother in Tamil) was the first Non-Congress Chief Minister of any state in India, which had its own majority. He was also the founder of the Dravidar Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Party. Before founding the party, he was a member of Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) party headed by Periyar. But since Periyar decided not to contest in elections, Annadurai split from DK to form DMK.
Anna was a popular script writer (in Tamil movies) and he has also written a lot of books. He is a very famous orator and was the editor of few magazines. Anna was fluent in both Tamil and English. Both the political parties in TN (DMK and AIADMK) consider Anna as their mentor.
Anna (and DMK) opposed the move to make Hindi the official language and to be taught compulsorily in all schools. He adopted a two language formula when elected as Chief Minister (1967-1969). He was also responsible for changing the name of Madras State to Tamil Nadu.
Lot of institutions / public utilities are named after him. For example, the Anna Salai (previously called as Mount Road), Anna Nagar (Residential area), ADMK/AIADMK (Political party), Aringnar Anna Zoo, Anna University, etc. Perhaps no other leader in Tamil Nadu has so many things named after them!