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Remembering the endearing N. Krishnaswamy

N. Krishnaswamy with Semmangudi Sreenivasa Iyer.

N. Krishnaswamy with Semmangudi Sreenivasa Iyer.   | Photo Credit: HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES

Artistes recall the late producer, director and dramatist's down-to-earth approach

The demise of N. Krishnaswamy, a pioneer in the Tamil film industry, has left a host of artistes of different age groups, sad. Producer, writer, director, magazine editor and dramatist, Krishnaswamy was the first to start an open-air theatre and he was closely associated with the small screen too, producing informative tele-films and serials. A giant in his own way, he is also remembered for his kindness, knowledge, perfection and humility.

Says ‘Villu Paatu’ Subbu Arumugam: “A friend of 60 years, he was more like a brother. Our first meeting was during the making of Paditha Manaivi. Poet Bharatidasan was invited to write the songs. Krishnaswamy described the situation in impeccable English. I explained to the legendary poet that he was explaining the meaning for the line ‘Thooya Ullam.’ The poet was elated and wrote the lyrics. I like perfection, a quality he appreciated. He took me along when he visited VIPs such as Papanasam Sivan, M.K. Radha, N.S. Krishnan, ‘Kothamangalam’ Subbu and ‘Kaviarasu’ Kannadasan. He was an ardent admirer of my Villupattu. He never made a change in my writing. Once, for Pongal, he came to my house with gifts of clothes. I was so moved. That was also the first time I wore a silk dhothi and shirt in my life time.”

Actor Y.Gee. Mahendra: I acted in Anbudan Aruna, the first tele-feature film in Tamil by N. Krishnaswamy. Some of the important decisions we made were connected with his family. The Nungambakkam Ladies Club was started and Mrs. Jayalakshmi Krishnasamy was its secretary. As there were no schools in that area, they started one with my mother Rajalakshmi Parthasarathy as the headmistress. Former Chief Minister K. Kamaraj along with Ms. Manju Bashini named the school “Bala Bhavan,” which grew by leaps and bounds to become Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan. The classes were conducted on the terrace of our house. Every week, we would get together on the terrace and screen the film Padikatha Methai, produced by Krishnaswamy. He would show that film in 16-mm projection and I watched it several times. In fact, my worship of Sivaji Ganesan began right then. I have acted in some of his television serials, which he directed and produced.

Sets of ‘Melmaruvathur...’ (From left) Suresh Krishnaswamy, Rajeev, Bala, Sri Vidya and N. Krishnaswamy

Sets of ‘Melmaruvathur...’ (From left) Suresh Krishnaswamy, Rajeev, Bala, Sri Vidya and N. Krishnaswamy   | Photo Credit: THE HINDU ARCHIVES


Actor Sachu: I was the heroine in his “Mel Maadi Gaali,” a comedy serial shot for Madras Door Darshan Kendra. It was a huge hit, Vivek doing the main role. An able administrator, Krishnaswamy was the master of all arts. A good director and writer, he knew how much dialogue a scene required. I acted in another serial, “Melmaravathur Bangaru Adigalar, Amma,” who was Krishanswamy’s spiritual guru.

Actor ‘Kavithalaya’ Krishnan remembers Krishnaswamy as a humble and sweet person. I had the opportunity to work in his serial. We both were coffee addicts and he made sure that I got my coffee made from his home. We shot the scenes in Nanganallur and he insisted that the crew had lunch together. I’m an ardent admirer of Sivaji Ganesan and on my request, Krishnaswamy would tirelessly recount anecdotes about the legend. Krishnaswamy had a high regard for K. Balachander, my guru and would give me wonderful insights about some of the KB’s films and the man in general. Once we were shooting near the airport and I was supposed to join my family on a pilgrimage. It was getting late. So he finished all my shots first so that I could leave. Such was his understanding.”

Carnatic singer Charumathi Ramachandran: Enkay, as we called him affectionately, was a pioneer filmmaker, next only to K. Subrahmanyam and his brother Viswanathan. Our family was closely associated with him. He was the first student of the Chennai film institute (then Madras) and a founder-member of the Film Institute, Pune. Enkay became famous for memorable documentaries. His ‘Golden Greats’ series for Podhigai on Veena Dhanam, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, GNB, T.N. Rajarathinam Pillai, M.L. Vasanthakumari and others were well-researched. My husband Trichur Ramachandran and I were interviewed extensively for our gurus’ documentaries (GNB and MLV). The ‘Raga Lakshana’ and ‘Composers’ series for Podhigai, featured the lecture-demonstration of my daughter Subhasree and myself. Enkay again invited me for singing for the freedom songs in Tamil. Incidentally, he was well-versed in Carnatic music.” .

Actor Ramesh Kanna: I would remember Krishnaswamy as a fine human being. He was a father figure to me. When I acted in his serial, I was not that popular, but he treated me on par with the main artiste. We both were deeply religious and he took me to his mentor Sri Bangaru Adigal. A perfectionist, he was strict on the sets but off it, he was relaxed and mingled with everyone. He co-produced the English film Sandokan with Kabir Bedi as the hero. Multi-faceted, he also produced and directed Manshulu Marali in Telugu with Sarada as its heroine. All those who enjoyed his warmth will definitely miss him.”

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 9:12:58 PM |

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