‘Vietnam Veedu' Sundaram passes away

“Vietnam Veedu’ Sundaram. File photo: K.V. Srinivasan   | Photo Credit: K_V_Srinivasan

Script writer and director Vietnam Veedu Sundaram, who had worked with Sivaji Ganesan, MGR, Amitabh Bachchan and Kamal Haasan, died here on Friday.

He was 76 and is survived by wife and two daughters.

Sundaram was born in Tiruchi and Vietnam Veedu became part of his name after he wrote the script, first for the eponymous play and then for the film, starring Sivaji Ganesan. He cut his teeth at the troupe United Amateur Artists, run by Y.G. Parthasarathy.

Prestige Padmanaban, the hero of the film Vietnam Veedu , became synonymous with a workaholic man who stands for values in life, but is not taken seriously by his children.

‘A metaphor’

“The story is based on Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman and Vietnam is a metaphor,” said Venkatesh Chakravarthy, Regional Director and head of the department of direction, at LV Prasad Film & TV Academy, Chennai.

Mr. Chakravarthy said Sundaram’s audience mostly belonged to the urban middle class and he gave a touch of classicism to his films, which was best exemplified by Sivaji-starrer Gowravam . Barrister Rajinikant, the hero of the film, had close resemblance to the late lawyer Govind Swaminathan, who excelled in every branch of law.

“Sundaram also wrote the script for Gnanaoli , an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables .

All his films gave a lot of space for actor Sivaji Ganesan to delve deep into the characters he was playing, said Mr. Chakravarathy.

But Vietnam Veedu also came under criticism, especially from communist sympathisers.

“They felt that Sundaram had relegated to a family affair a great war against the American imperialism by the people of a small country,” said poet Kalapriya, who has also written two books on Tamil cinema.

Sundaram’s Naan Yen Piranthen , probably, is the only film in which MGR played a role of a family man with children.

Sankar-Ganesh scored the music for the film and all the songs were hits. Another film he wrote for MGR was Naalai Namadhe .

Acting career

“ Namma Veetu Deivam was a trendsetter, set in contemporary times with deities intervening in everyday life. Actor K.R. Vijaya proved that she was best suited for such roles,” said Kalapriya.

Sundaram also acted in a few movies, besides directing and acting in a lot of tele-serials.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa expressed condolences to the family of Sundaram.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 12:35:18 PM |

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