‘Kalaignar’ M Karunanidhi passes away, leaves void in politics, media, cinema

A national mourning has been declared today on August 8, 2018 by the Government of India. The national flag will fly at half-mast today in Delhi, all state capitals and across Tamil Nadu in remembrance of Karunanidhi

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Aug 8, 2018 8:57 AM

An era in Tamil Nadu politics came to an end on August 7, 2018, with the demise of Muthuvel Karunanidhi who breathed his last at Kauvery Hospital, Chennai. A national mourning has been declared today on August 8, 2018 by the Government of India. The national flag will fly at half-mast today in Delhi, all state capitals and across Tamil Nadu in remembrance of Karunanidhi

The death of Kalaignar (meaning ‘artiste’, the title bestowed on him) has not only left a huge vacuum in the field of politics but also in the fields of Media, Literature and Cinema.

Karunanidhi donned many hats in his eventful life of 94 years- fiery politician, writer, and media maven to name just a few.

He entered politics at the age of 14 in 1938. He was the president of the political party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) since 1969 and was elected as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu five times. Karunanidhi entered the Tamil Nadu Assembly at the age of 33 by winning the Kulithalai seat in the year 1957. The name Karunanidhi was synonymous with DMK. He debuted in the film industry at the age of 23 as a screen writer. As a writer, Karunanidhi’s movies were the mouth piece for the Dravidian movement. 
Media ownership:

Karunanidhi started a newspaper named Murasoli in 1942 during the World War-2. He started it at the age of 18 and Murasoli is the mouthpiece newspaper of DMK party even today. In 2013, the Sessions Court in Chennai had ordered summons to Karunanidhi and editor of Murasoli for alleged comments against AIADMK ministers.

Kalaignar, a satellite television channel based in Chennai, was launched in 2007. According to media reports, Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu has 60% stake in the channel and 20% is owned by his daughter, Kanimozhi.

Over the years, the Kalaignar Network also introduced channels such as Seithigal, Chithiram TV, Murasu, Isai Aruvi, Sirippoli. Seithigal.

Movies and literature:

Karunanidhi started his career as a screenwriter when he penned his first script for the movie Rajakumari, which was produced by Jupiter Pictures starring MG Ramachandran (MGR). There began a long friendship between the two, which later turned into rivalry. The 1997 political drama Iruvar, directed by Mani Ratnam, is said to be loosely based on the lives of Karunanidhi, MGR, and Jayalalithaa, though they never admitted to the same in public.

Parasakthi, which marked the debut of Sivaji Ganeshan, was one of the notable works of Karunanidhi and is considered as a turning point in Tamil cinema. The movie advocated Dravidian ideologies and spoke about the predicament of women, the covetousness of people and the unhallowed thought of so-called holy people. These thoughts were considered revolutionary in those times and is valid even decades later. Such is the magic his pen wielded.

Karunanidhi’s contribution towards Tamil literature too is commendable, both in prose and poetry. He had the ability to write in Paechu Tamizh (which is considered as the language of the masses). He also authored a number of books- Thirukkural Urai, Thanpandi Singam, Ponnar Shankar, Romapuri Pandian to name a few.

Karunanidhi also penned stage plays including Manimagudam, Ore Ratham, Palaniappan, Thooku Medai, Kagithapoo, Naane Arivali, Vellikizhamai, Udhayasooriyan and Silappathikaram.

Coming to music, Karunanidhi wrote the official theme song ‘Semmozhiyaam Tamizh Mozhiyaam’ for the World Classical Tamil Conference in 2010. The music was composed by AR Rahman.

Karunanidhi was one person who collaborated his political vision, literary flair, and social activism with great ability.

When Kamal Haasan’s film Vishwaroopam was facing controversy from the Muslim community, Karunanidhi urged the Muslim organisations to hold talks with Haasan to resolve the issue amicably.

As the song from the movie Iruvar goes ‘Udal Manukku, Uyir Tamizukku’, Karunanidhi was a champion in making Tamizh pride a mainstream topic. The views and thoughts he put forth through his literary works and cinema was way ahead of times and will live as a reminder to Karunanidhi’s greatness for years to come.

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