Eminent businessman, Chairman of Atlas Group of Companies and film producer M.M. Ramachandran, popularly known as Atlas Ramachandran, died in a hospital in Dubai on Sunday night following cardiac arrest. He was 80.
Hailing from Madhukkara, near Mullassery in Thrissur, Ramachandran started his career as a bank employee and later entered into the gold business. He successfully expanded his business into other fields like film production, real estate and healthcare later.
The very popular tagline of his Jewellery Group Atlas – Atlas Jewellery, Janakodikalude Viswastha Stapanam (trusted name of crores of people) - and the unique way of delivery of the tagline by Ramachandran himself, made him a household name among Malayalees.
Even in his busy schedule as a businessman, he was active in art and cultural activities. He produced popular films including Vaisali, Dhanam, and Sukrutham. He also acted in films such as Arabikkada, Malabar Wedding, and 2 Harihar Nagar. His company distributed films like Kouravar, Venkalam and Innale.
In a setback amidst his successful career, he was jailed in Dubai in 2015 after the court found him guilty of issuing bounced cheques to two banks as security. He was freed in 2018.
After his release from jail, he was working on a plan to repay all his loans and starting his business afresh, according to sources close to his family.
Very popular among Malayalee Communities in the Gulf, people remember him as a person who helped hundreds of people in their difficult times.
Chief Minister condoles
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled his death. “Ramachandran, who started as a bank employee and later became a businessman, kept a close connection with Pravasi Malayalees. He was an active presence in the cultural and public sectors in Dubai. He was never reluctant to support the poor. His demise comes at a time when he was planning to return to his birthplace,” the chief minister said.