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Tamil film industry comes to a standstill, all shows cancelled

The film industry was plunged into gloom when the five-time chief minister and firebrand scriptwriter died on Tuesday.

Manigandan KR

The Tamil film industry was plunged into gloom on Tuesday after five-time Tamil Nadu chief minister and firebrand scriptwriter Muthuvel Karunanidhi died of age-related complications at the Kauvery hospital in Chennai. 

It is no secret that the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief felt at home in the film industry, where he worked early in life as a scriptwriter, producing some of the most exhilarting scripts in Tamil cinema.

From his first film as scriptwriter, Rajakumari (1947), Karunanidhi showed what a class act he was. His scripts were full of life and deep understanding and his words like blazing arrows aimed at the ignorance of social evils in the minds of the masses. 

Many of the films he wrote, like Maruthanattu Ilavarasi (1950), Manthiri Kumari (1950), Parasakthi (1952) and Manohara (1954) are considered classics today.

Parasakthi redefined Tamil cinema. It made people change their habit of watching films for their favourite actors and actresses and to watch them for the dialogues and screenplay. People became fans of Karunanidhi's dialogues. 

The former chief minister always had a soft corner for the film industry, and the industry responded in kind. News of his death left the industry in tears. 

The South Indian Artistes Association, better known as the Nadigar Sangam, said, "We deeply condole the demise of ... the godfather of Tamil arts and grammar and the seniormost life member of the Nadigar Sangam.... As a writer, there is nobody who has achieved as much as he has in cinema. It is important to recall that his dialogues were spoken about with the same passion as heroes.... His screenplays created heroes." 

The association also recalled the welfare schemes Karunanidhi instituted as chief minister for the betterment of the industry. "His books like Kuraloviyam, Sanga Thamizh, Poompuhar, Nenjukku Needhi and Tholkaapiya Poonga are treasures," the statement continued. "His loss is a great loss to both the state of Tamil Nadu and the Tamil film industry."

All activities in the Tamil film industry have come to a standstill. Shows in all theatres have been cancelled as a mark of respect for the late leader.