Wednesday, Dec 25, 2002
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By Our Special Correspondent
Coming on the familiar stage-to-screen in the early 1940s, Ramasamy shot into prominence when, at the age of 21, he donned the role of a 60-year-old father of grown-up sons in `Naam Iruvar' (1947), first film of the AVM Films. `VKR' as the actor became known, did not look back since then.
However, he always got to play only an elderly person throughout his career, which spanned over five decades in which he acted in over 500 films.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Ramasamy acted with almost all leading actors including T.R. Mahalingam, M.G Ramachandran, Sivaji Ganesan, Jai Shankar, Ravichandran, Muthuraman, Kamal Hassan and Rajnikant. He was known for his dialogue delivery, especially as a villain or comedian. He was at ease playing any role and paired with the veteran comedienne, Manorama, to play some memorable roles in Tamil films. Peers always respected his old world values of discipline on the sets.
In the later part of his career, Ramasamy produced over 15 films. Among his last films was `Dum Dum Dum', that represents the fourth generation of Tamil cinema. The end came this morning a day after VKR was discharged from the Government General hospital, where he had been admitted for a variety of complaints including hypertension, diabetes and cardiac problems.
The body was kept for public homage at VKR's residence at T.Nagar in south Chennai. He is survived by four sons and three daughters.
The Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, condoled the death. In a message, she recalled VKR's long career on the stage and in cinema. Ms. Jayalalithaa conveyed her condolences to the actor's family and the film fraternity.
The DMK president, M. Karunanidhi, has also condoled the passing of one of the veteran actors. The Tamil Film Producers Council and a host of industry organisations have paid glowing tributes to the actor. Leading lights of the film industry paid homage to VKR and it was decided to suspend all shooting for half a day tomorrow, and enable film stars to attend the funeral.
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