Chennai: ‘Vietnam Veedu’ Sundaram, renowned film scriptwriter, director, actor and a popular face on TV, passed away in the city on Saturday morning. He was 73 and is survived by wife and two daughters.
Prestige Padmanaban (in movie Vietnam Veedu), Barrister Rajinikanth (Gauravam) and Antony (Gnanaoli) played with elan by Sivaji Ganesan brought laurels to both director-scriptwriter Sundaram and the veteran actor. Besides being a popular script writer for many movies, he directed films too.
His target audience was urban middle class and it helped him win accolades from film buffs. “Vietnam Veedu is probably the first Tamil movie to focus on an elderly couple and their problems especially that of the protagonist who faces a lot problems with his family, after his retirement. No other movie till then had such a poignant portrayal of the relationship between two old people, their predicaments and their fears. And the black and white movie gave credence to the subtle plot,” recalls film historian Theodore Baskaran.
Veteran actor and dramatist Y Gee Mahedra says, “He had been associated with my father YGP and our drama troupe United Amateur Artists for several decades. He is like my elder brother and part of our family. He has written eight scripts for our plays and three for our TV serials. One of them Mr Brain was popular with smallscreen viewers. He brought Vietnam Veedu script to my father first. After my father said no he took it Sivaji. The film, as we all know, was a runaway hit. Sundaram used to say that even a ‘No’ from YGP could earn him laurels. Losing him is like losing a part of my childhood.”
Naan En Piranden, Naalai Namathey, Namma Veetu Theivam, Justice Gopinath, Anaan Oru Koyil, Oru Malarin Payanam, Navagraha Nayaki, Geethanjali, Nambinar Keduvathillai, Velundu Vinaiyillai, Soora Samhaaram, Paritchaikku Nermaachu and Devi Sri Karumariamman were some of his movies which made a mark with the audience.
He was involved in over 300 films in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. Several actors like Sivakumar, Surya, Sivakarthikeyan and Khusbhu were among those who paid tributes to him.
CM condoles Sundaram’s death
In her condolence message, Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said Sundaram was known for directing family entertainers and recalled his association with both Ganesan and Ramachandran. He had been a recipient of different awards and had also acted in films and TV serials, Jayalalithaa recalled. “He was an affable man and his death is a great loss to the Tamil cinema industry” she said....