Chennai: Kollywood’s veteran producer, scriptwriter, lyricist and director Panchu Arunachalam passed away at 1.10 pm at his city residence on Tuesday due to cardiac arrest. He was 75.
Fondly called Panchu in the industry, he was the one who introduced maestro Ilayaraja to Tamil cinema in his film Annakili in 1976. He was born in a village called Sirukoodalpatti at Karaikudi on June 18, 1941. He was the nephew of late legendary writer A.L. Srinivasan and poet-lyricist Kannadasan. After completing intermediate, he came to Chennai with a passion for writing.
He joined a magazine Thendral run by Kannadasan then. He wrote under the pen name Arunan. Later, when he wanted to join cinema, his uncle Srinivasan asked him to first work as a set assistant in Bharani Studio, which he had taken on lease. Sensing his love for lyric writing, Kannadasan took him under him as an assistant. His job was to write down the lines even as Kannadasan dictated them. After his tutelage with Kanndasan for 12 years, he turned independent with a film Sarada and wrote his first song Manamagale Marumagale Vaa Vaa in 1962 and thereafter there had been no looking back for Panchu.
His notable films where he wrote lyrics include Aarilirundhu Arubadhu Varai, Annakili and Ullasa Paravaigal. As a script writer, he has given several blockbusters. Dharma Durai (1991), Raja Chinna Roja, Apoorva Sagodharargal, Vazhkai, Avanthan Manithan, Guru Sishyan, Engeyo Ketta Kural Dharmathin Thalivan, Singaravelan and Murattu Kaalai were some of the films for which he penned the script.
He also produced several movies through his famed PA Arts banner and made many films with Kamal and Rajinikanth. Panchu Arunachalam is one of the all-time favourite producers of Rajinikanth and has a record collaboration of more than 20 movies with him.
He is survived by wife Meena, sons Shanmugam and Subbu (actor) and daughters Geetha and Chithra. Sivakumar, Suriya, Karthi, Kushbhu, Sundar C, Sathyaraj, Venkat Prabhu, Karthikraja, Jitthan Ramesh, Kovai Sarala, Ilayaraja, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Nasser, Kamila, AC Shanmugam, AL Azhagappan, Bharathyraja, S.V. Shekar and Manobala were the early ones to pay their last respects to the departed soul. Since his son and daughter are abroad, his body will be kept at GH mortuary for the two days.
Tamil Nadu CM condoles death of Kollywood artistes
Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Tuesday condoled the death of Tamil film script writer, lyricist and producer Panchu Arunachalam and film actor Jothilakshmi.
She said Panchu Arunachalam had penned lyrics for 200 film songs including that for MGR’s movie Kalangarai Vilakkam.
He had worked in the script of ‘Avandhan Manidhan’ in which she had acted, Jayalalithaa recalled. He was simple and cordial and his death is a big loss to Tamil film industry, the Chief Minister said. She said Jothilakshmi made her debut in 1963 through the film Periya Idathu Pen and she had acted in more than 300 movies. She is hard working and cordial in nature.
Man with a magic touch
At a time Panchu was producing
blockbusters with Rajini and Kamal Haasan, he wanted to make a film with the two stars together. By then, both the stars have decided that they would not share screen space together as each has a business of his own. An unperturbed Panchu commenced two big projects in his writing with the two stars, namely Aarilirundhu Arubadhu Varai with Rajini and Kalyanaraman with Kamal Haasan and SP Muthuraman apparently directed both. Both were released at the same time and were hits.