Contributions to Tamil cinema

Scripting Dravida cinema

Print edition : August 31, 2018

Karunanidhi, the young writer.

The court scene from “Parasakthi” (1952). The film ran to packed cinema halls and went on to become “The DMK film”. Sivaji Ganesan achieved superstardom overnight through this film.

"Manthiri Kumari" (1950), based on a story from the Tamil classic "Kundalakesi", was a huge hit at the office. The film launched M.G. Ramachandran to stardom.

Modern Theatres in Salem where Karunanidhi was employed as script writer in the late 1940s. Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

T.R. Sundaram . The invitation from and contract with Sundaram’s Modern Theatres gave Karunanidhi a momentous new beginning.

MGR and Bhanumati in “Malai Kallan” (1954). The film was a blockbuster and ran for 140 days in theatres.

“Kuravanji” starring Sivaji Ganesan and Savithri with dialogues by Karunanidhi.

“Raja Rani”, starring Sivaji Ganesan and Padmini, is an example of Karunanidhi’s excellent screenplay.

“Panam” with Sivaji Ganesan and Padmini in lead roles and screenplay and dialogue by Karunanidhi.

“Puthumaipithan” with M.G. Ramachandran and B.S. Saroja in lead roles.

Karunanidhi’s screenplay for “Manohara” transcended the particularity of the plot to enter the realm of politics.

Eliis R. Dungan directing “Ponmudi”, written by Bharathidasan for Modern Theatres. "Manthiri Kumari" was the last directorial assignment Dungan handled in the Tamil film industry.

The house in Coimbatore, on Kuppanna Pillai Street in Singanallur, where Karunanidhi lived between 1945 and 1947 while working on film scripts for studios. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

January 14, 1969: After an ailing Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai (third from left) unveiled the statue of the stage and film comedian N.S. Krishnan in Madras. (From left) A.L. Srinivasan, S.S. Vasan, M. Karunanidhi (who was Public Works Minister in Annadurai's Cabinet), Hindi actor Dilip Kumar and M.G. Ramachandran were among those who participated in the function.

Karunanidhi and Annadurai seated beside the car gifted to Karunanidhi by N.S. Krishnan for penning the screenplay for the film "Manamagal" in 1951.

M. Karunanidhi had a 70-year-long successful run in the film industry. His excellent screenplays and fiery dialogues, driven by his deep commitment to the Dravidian ideology, are unmatched in Tamil cinema.
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