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Hema Malini, Siddharth among those who pay tribute to Karunanidhi

Tributes poured in for the former screenwriter and five-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu who died aged 94.

Mayur Lookhar

M Karunanidhi, former screenwriter and five-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu, died on Tuesday of age-related illnesses at Chennai's Kauvery hospital. He was 94.

As soon as news of Karunanidhi's death came in, tributes began pouring in from all quarters, with superstar Rajinikanth calling it "a black day".

Actor Siddharth, who was in the popular Hindi film Rang De Basanti (2006), said Tamil Nadu had lost its greatest contemporary leader.

"The Last Tamil Titan has fallen. M Karunanidhi was an incomparable man. Tamil Nadu has lost at once its greatest contemporary political and creative enigma. Our beautiful language will miss Kalaignar."

Actress turned parliamentarian Hema Malini expressed grief at the passing away of the DMK leader. Apart from being a great politician, she said, he was also one who appreciated the arts. In fact, Hema Malini also recalled the time she was felicitated by Karunanidhi.

"It is sad for Tamil Nadu," she told the Times Now television news channel. "He was one of the best politicians who ruled for a long time. He was connected with films at the beginning of his career. He was a great writer, poet, orator. He was an art-lover too. He has seen my performances from those days. My condolences to his entire family, especially [daughter] Kanimozhi who is my collegue in Parliament."

Recalling the moment when she received an award from the DMK leader, Hema Malini said, "He was quite excited. He kept calling me Dream Girl. He said, 'I'm giving this award to the Dream Girl'."

Actor and producer Vishal Krishna urged the state government run by the rival AIADMK to allow space on the Marina for Karunanidhi's last rites.

"Kalaignar Ayya definitely deserves a place on Marina beach for his contribution and for being a leader for a political party for 50 years," Vishal tweeted.

Former Indian cricketers Virender Sehwag and Mohammad Kaif, too, expressed their condolences,