Veteran script and dialogue writer R.K.Shanmugam, who rose to fame with yesteryear film Ayirathil Oruvan, passed away on Tuesday due to a heart attack. He was 87.
Shanmugam had started his film career as an assistant to director/producer/actor BR Panthulu and was his assistant for 15 years before Ayirathil Oruvan. Shanmugam has been part of several iconic projects with Shivaji Ganesan such as Karnan, Kappalotiya Thamizhan and Veerapandiya Kattabomman. But, the blockbuster Ayirathil Oruvan catapulted him into the limelight. The film directed and produced by Panthuli starred the late chief ministers M.G Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa for the first time. The pair went to rule the screen for many years, making them one of the most loved on-screen couples. The movie was a blockbuster and ran for more than 100 days even when it was digitally remastered and re-released in 2014. Notably, Panthulu introduced Jayalalithaa to the silver screen with the Kannada film Chinnadha Gombe.
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Since Ayirathil Oruvan, Shanmugam became one of the go-to dialogue writers for MGR. The duo went on to work in more than 15 films including Naadodi, Mugarasi, Ninaithathai Mudipavan, Sirithu Vazha Vendum, Ragasiya Police 115, Pallandu Vaazhga, Thedi Vandha Mappillai and Ooruku Uzhaipavan.
The writer was awarded the Tamil Nadu state award for artistes of repute ‘Kalaimamani’ in the year 1980. He is survived by his wife and four daughters.