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Monday, January 24, 2022

Legendary filmmaker K S Sethumadhavan no more

A multi-time recipient of the national and state awards, KS Sethumadhavan directed over 60 movies in five languages during his career spanning many decades since early 1960s.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai |
Updated: December 24, 2021 7:53:45 pm
K S Sethumadhavan directed movies in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi.

Legendary filmmaker K S Sethumadhavan died on Friday at his residence in Chennai. He was 94. Known as a ‘literary’ director who directed over 60 films in his career, Sethumadhavan who lived in Chennai was suffering from age-related ailments.

Sethumadhavan is often mentioned as a man whose works significantly contributed to the evolution of Malayalam cinema. Born in 1927 in Palakkad, he was known for his social melodramas. Some of his significant works in Malayalam film history include Odayil Ninnu (1965), which was based on a novel by P Kesavadev, portraying the life of a rickshaw-puller.

It was his Malayalam movie ‘Kannum Karalum’ (1962) that first introduced Kamal Haasan as a child artist into the Malayalam cinema. It was Sethumadhavan who made Haasan a hero too for the first time in the movie, ‘Kanyakumari (1974). Kerala veteran actor Mammootty also made his first appearance in Sethumadhavan’s ‘Anubhavangal Palichakal’ (1971).

He worked under K Ramnath, L V Prasad and ASA Swamy as assistant director. His debut as a director was for a Sinhalese film ‘Veeravijaya’ (1960), a commercial success, before he started his prolific career – most in the Malayalam film industry. There were times when he made as many as six movies a year.

Besides Malayalam, he also made films in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and Oriya. Vazhve Mayam (1970), Karakanakkadal (1971), Pani Theeratha Veedu (1972) and Oppol (1980) were the movies for which he won the Best Director awards as part of Kerala State Film Awards. His Telugu film ‘Sthree’ (1966) had won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu.

He was conferred the JC Daniel Award, the highest Kerala state award for film personalities, in 2019 for his outstanding career and contributions.

His final rites were held at Nungambakkam in the city on Friday evening.

He is survived by his wife Valsala Sethumadhavan, and three children –  Sonu Kumar, Uma Ramanan and Santosh.

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