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Popular writer-producer Panchu Arunachalam dies at 75

The director was known for films that were milestones in the acting careers of South superstars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan.


Well-known Tamil writer and producer Panchu Arunachalam, who has been credited with taking superstar Rajinikanth to the masses, died here today, his publicist said. Arunachalam was 75.

"He passed away at his residence due to age-related ailments," the publicist told IANS.

Arunachalam is popular for writing over 100 Tamil films, including hits like Murattu Kaalai (1980), Sakalakala Vallavan (1982) and Apoorva Sagodhargal (remade as Appu Raja, 1990).

While the late filmmaker K Balachander might have launched Rajinikanth, Arunachalam was responsible for taking the 65-year-old star to the masses. They worked together in 23 films, including Kazhugu (1981), Pokkiri Raja (1982) and Paayum Puli (1983).

Arunachalam also came to be known for his association with Kamal Haasan, the other superstar of Tamil cinema in the 1970s and 1980s. They worked together in 13 films. Some of these were Thoongadhey Thambi Thoongadhey (1983) and Uyarndha Ullam (1985).

The writer-producer was also responsible for launching the career of music maestro Ilayaraja. He introduced the latter in the 1976 Tamil film Annakili.

Earlier this year, a critically acclaimed documentary on Arunachalam called A Creator With Midas Touch was released.

Arunachalam is survived by his son Subbu Panchu Arunachalam, a popular Tamil actor.