Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Coimbatore Recalls the Young Kalaignar

A pall of gloom descended in Coimbatore, as Former Tamil Nadu CM and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi passed away after battling illness at the Kauvery hospital in Chennai on Tuesday.

With the functioning of Central Studios and Pakshiraja Studios in Coimbatore in the 1940s, the city was a popular cinema hub and it played a key role in shaping the Dravidian stalwart's literary personality. Because it is here Karunanidhi wrote scripts for the film Rajakumari ( 1947), Abhimanyu (1948), Malaikallan (1954) etc. Interestingly, the tile-roofed house, where Karunanidhi lived for a monthly rent of Rs.10 at Singanallur, is still the same, bringing back his memories to every Coimbatorean.

A. Mani, son of the late Dravidian activist Annasamy of Singanallur, recalls:

 “ My father was an uncompromising crusader in Dravidar Kazhagam that he carried Dravida Nadu, a maganize edited by C.N.Annadurai wherever he went. On an occasion during a train journey, a self-styled god man looked at the magazine in my father's hand and picked up an argument, criticizing Periyar E.V.Ramasamy and Anna for their atheist ideology. As the debate gained momentum, another gentleman,who was in the compartment, backed my father in the argument. In a little time, the gentleman alighted at a railway station between Erode and Salem. However, at his point of leaving, my father asked his name and he said that he was Karunanidhi, an activist in Dravidar Kazhagam and sub-editor of Kudi Arasu, a popular magazine, published by Periyar E.V.R !”

Mani says that, though the friendship between his father and Kalignar M.Karunanidhi began just as a 'Rayil sneham' ( A short-lived train friendship) on a day in the early 1940s, it lasted till my father's demise in 1993. Sharing another anecdote in Karunanidhi's life in Coimbatore , the 66 year old Mani, reminisces:

 “ While my father was working as spinning clerk at Saroja Mills in Singanallur, T.S Rajagopal, a Tea Board Officer befriended him and sought a help from him. It was to find a rented house to accommodate one of his relatives, who got an opportunity to write script for a Tamil film in Central Studios. And my father told him that he was ready to allot a portion in his house ”

 A rare coincidence awaited Annasamy, when Rajagopal, later, brought the young script writer. And Annasamy was all surprise to meet the script writer as none other than Karunanidhi, who backed him in the argument with a god man in the train journey!

“Glad in providing accommodation to the debutant writer and his wife Padmavathy, my father bought all the essential household articles from the Singanallur weekly Shandy to the couple. Later, my mother and Padmavathy became close friends that they always went together to fetch water at a nearby well and wash clothes in the kolatheri ( Singanallur tank) “ recalls Mani.

The D.M.K patriarch, who did not forget his early days in Coimbatore, published a tribute in his party's mouthpiece Murasoli when Annasamy passed away in 1993. He also made his presence to the house at Singanallur, where he once lived.

“ The leader sat silent for a little time in the room. From his eyes welling up in tears, we felt his taking a trip down memory lane. You know, it is in this room, he wielded his pen for the Tamil cinema” avers Mani. The D.M.K chief recalls in his masterpiece Nenjukku Needhi: “ Our house at Singanallur was very small like a sparrow's nest. Staying there, I penned a plenty of literature. But, after I scripted dialogues for the film Abhimanyu ( 1948), I did not find my name in the title cards. When I asked the reason, the film producer told me that I was not popular enough to get the byline. It is quite natural that a writer expects only recognition rather than remuneration. Deeply agonized, I shed tears and decided to leave Coimbatore “

 B. Meenakshi Sundaram
 Photos by A.Raja Chidamparam

Link to my article in The New Indian Express: http://epaper.newindianexpress.com/c/31023778


1 comment:

  1. நன்றி! மிகவும் அருமையான பதிவு, சிங்காநல்லூர் தொகுதி சார்ந்த குறைகளுக்கு தொடர்பு கொள்ளவும்.

    Singai g ramachandran
    Singanallur Constituency
    Singanallur MLA