Popular writer-producer Panchu Arunachalam dead, southern filmdom mourns
Well known Tamil writer and producer Panchu Arunachalam, who has been credited for taking megastar Rajinikanth to the masses, breathed his last here on Tuesday. He was 75.
As the news of his death broke, the Tamil filmdom plunged into gloom. According to the veteran's publicist, he was suffering from blood cancer and passed away at his residence.
Known as a screenwriter, producer as well as a lyricist, Arunachalam started his career as an assistant to legendary poet and lyricist Kannadasan in 1958, and went on to work on over 300 Tamil films.
According to senior Tamil filmmaker J. Mahendran, Arunachalam was truly a man with the Midas touch.
"Almost every film he worked on struck gold at the box-office. His films enjoyed over 80 per cent success rate," Mahendran said, adding his death comes as a huge blow to the industry.
While a slew of known names from the cinema world took to Twitter to mourn his death, celebrities from Tamil filmdom including actors Suriya, Karthi, Sivakumar, Jayam Ravi, Goundamani, Khusbhu, Nasser, Sathyaraj and Shanthanu among others paid their last respects to the veteran here.
He is survived by son Subbu Panchu Arunachalam, a popular Tamil actor. It is yet to be confirmed when his last rites will be performed.
Arunachalam had penned the original story for 45 films, screenplay and dialogues for nearly 100 films and wrote songs for 100 films.
As a producer, he had bankrolled 45 films and was instrumental in delivering several blockbusters with Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth.
Known for reinventing commercial Tamil cinema with Rajinikanth, Panchu's best films with the latter include "Kazhugu", "Pokkiri Raja" and "Paayum Puli" among others. The duo had worked together in 23 films.
With Kamal Haasan, he was popular for films such as "Thoongadhey Thambi Thoongadhey" and "Uyarndha Ullam". They had worked together in 13 films.