Kalaignar's unforgettable contribution to Tamil cinema

Last Updated: Wed, Aug 08, 2018 10:12 hrs

DMK chief M. Karunanidhi passed away at 6:10 pm on Tuesday, said a medical bulletin released by Kauvery Hospital in Chennai.

Kalaignar Karunanidhi is not only an active politician, his contribution to Tamil cinema is unforgettable. DMK patriarch started his film career as a scriptwriter for Jupiter Films. He wrote Rajakumaari featuring his good friend and arch political rival MG Ramachandran in the lead role and the film was a blockbuster. 

Kalaignar conveyed his Dravidian ideologies through his dialogues, his fierce lines against the political system and society in Sivaji Ganesan’s debut film ‘Parasakthi’ were unparalleled that the court scene in the film is still an inspiration for many actors in Tamil cinema. Kamal Haasan, Sivakumar, Sathyaraj and many other big stars of Tamil cinema used to practice Parasakthi scenes to sharpen their dialogue delivery skills.

Kalaignar’s initial films featured MGR and Sivaji Ganesan in the lead roles, SS Rajendran is another favorite actor of the legendary politician that he played the Kovalan in Poompuhar. Some of the other notable works of Kalaignar are Marudhanattu Ilavarasi, Manohara, Manthiri Kumari, Malaikallan, and Thirumbi Par.

Kalaignar’s commanding voiceover in his films was quite famous among the moviegoers, especially the lengthy shot of Karunanidhi summarizing the entire story and the life of Kovalan-Kannagi relationship is considered to be one of the epic moments in his illustrious career.

In the title credits of Parasakthi, the film’s producers highlighted Kalaignar Karunanidhi’s name first followed by the names of the director and other technicians. Before Kalaignar became an active politician, he had a huge fan base for his writing that the producers offered him fancy remuneration to pen dialogues for their films. Slowly, audiences started liking films with lesser dialogues and Kalaignar’s film didn’t work big at the box office. 

Another notable contribution to Tamil language and Tamil cinema by Kalaignar is that he encouraged filmmakers who opt for Tamil titles by granting tax exemption. Yes, the tax exemption scheme for films with Tamil titles was actually introduced by Karunanidhi.

Kalaignar’s last film in Tamil was Prashanth’s period action entertainer ‘Ponnar Shankar’ (2011). Kalaignar shared a great rapport with many actors including Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Vijayakanth, Sarathkumar, Raadhika, Sivakumar, SA Chandrasekhar, and Vijay. Unlike Jayalalithaa, Kalaignar was approachable to film fraternities that he took part in the family events of the actors, he also participated in the audio launch of Dasavatharam and 175th day of Rajinikanth’s Sivaji.

TN Govt has alloted land near Gandhi Mandapam for burial. Rest in peace Kalaignar Ayya, your contribution to Tamil cinema will stay in the minds of Tamil audiences and film fraternities forever.

- Rajasekar S