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He used to sleep on the railway platform, but today owns a Rs 100 crore turnover travels company

By | P C Vinoj Kumar |

In 1981, a 27-year-old youth from Tiruchendur, then a village in Tamil Nadu, about 180 km from Madurai arrived at Chennai’s Egmore railway station with dreams of becoming a movie star like Kamal Haasan or Rajnikanth, the superstars of Tamil film industry then.

V. K. Thanabalan, who would later be known as V.K.T. Balan, founder of Madura Travel Service Private Limited, which would achieve a turnover of Rs 100 crore by 2017, had taken a train from Tiruchendur to Chennai without informing his family.

“I came to Chennai without any money. I travelled ticketless on the train. My only possession was the dhoti and shirt I was wearing,” recalls Balan, 64, who had stopped studying after Class VIII and began to show interest in theatre.

He was crazy about films and a diehard fan of Sivaji Ganesan and MGR, the top stars of the ‘50s and ‘60s. He would memorise lengthy dialogues from their films.

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