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Film producer GV commits suicide
N Sathiya Moorthy | May 03, 2003 16:35 IST
Tamil film producer, distributor and financier G Venkateswaran committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan in his Chetput home in Chennai this morning. He is survived by his wife and two children, a son and a daughter, and his brother, filmmaker Mani Ratnam (Roja, Bombay).
The police are investigating the case.
Though the reason behind his death is not known -- there has been no mention of a suicide note -- 56-year-old Venkateshwaran, who was popularly known as GV, had reportedly made some bad financial decisions in recent years.
GV, a qualified chartered accountant, revived the family's interest in films when he was in the mid-thirties. His father, the late Ratnam Iyer, produced some successful family melodramas under the banner Venus Pictures.
GV, who made nearly 18 movies, produced path-breaking Tamil films like Kamal Haasan's Nayakan, Rajinikanth's Dalapati, the Karthik-Prabhu starrer, Agni Nakshatram and Anjali, the moving story of a mentally underdeveloped child. Directed by Mani Ratnam, all of them turned out to be box-office blockbusters.
His films always had an urbane, aesthetic appeal and great music, most of which were composed by the maestro, Ilayaraja.
Recently, however, Lady Luck seemed to have abandoned him. Some of his films, including Rajinikanth's Baba and Haasan's Aalavandan, for which GV was the Chennai distributor, bombed at the box office. While Rajinikanth did refund his distributors, the failure of Baba had another unseen repercussion -- it dashed GV's hopes of bouncing back.
His most recent production -- the Vijaykant-starrer, Sokka Thangam, scripted and directed by filmmaker K Bhagyaraj and released this year -- was a moderate success. Coming after a string of flops, it seemed to have given GV a sense of hope.
Earlier, GV had also burnt his fingers by launching India's first public limited company in the film industry. GV Films, however, did not live up to its promise.
GV's suicide highlights the plight of the Tamil film industry in no uncertain terms. In recent years, film after film has bombed at the box office, with a rare movie making it big commercially. Astronomical star prices -- in the realm of Rs 2 to Rs 4 crores (Rs 20 to Rs 40 million) -- has added to the industry's woes. Video and CD piracy has seemingly made survival difficult for many filmmakers.
On hearing of his death, several leading film personalities, including Rajinikanth, Vijaykant and Anandraj, visited GV's home to pay their respects.
Vijaykant, who is the president of the Tamil Film Artistes' Association, told reporters the industry was shocked to learn of the 'sad end' of the producer, known for his 'bravery'.
GV's wife, who was out of town, has been informed. As has his son, who lives in Canada, and his daughter, who lives in Delhi.