Arun Veerappan, a pioneer of digital cinema in India, dies at 90

He was instrumental in casting Kamal Haasan as a child artist in ‘Kalathur Kannamma’; he was the founder of Qube Cinema and was executive producer with AVM Studios and Gemini Studios

August 28, 2023 07:08 am | Updated 06:01 pm IST - CHENNAI

Arun Veerappan

Arun Veerappan | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Tamil cinema’s iconic film producer and studio owner, A.V. Meiyappan’s son-in-law, Arun Veerappan, who is famously known for deciding to cast Kamal Haasan as a child artiste in Kalathur Kannamma and founder of Real Image Technologies (Now, Qube Cinema Technologies Pvt Ltd), a company that pioneered digital projection in cinemas in Tamil Nadu, passed away in Chennai. He was 90 and is survived by wife, two sons and a daughter.

Mr. Arun juggled several careers at the same time – he was a producer, director and also dabbled in businesses related to technologies used in cinema. With decades of experiences in film production, he has worked as Executive Producer with famous production houses of the Tamil cinema -AVM Studios and Gemini Studios.

While he has been credited as executive producer in films such as Kalathur Kannamma, Main Chup Rahungi, Mehrban and Paisa Ya Pyar, he has also produced and directed movies such as Zameen Aasmaan, Unnidathil Naan along with more than 150 short films and documentaries.

He is known for pioneering the digital cinema in India in the 1980s when film projectors and VHS tape machines were yet to catch on in a big way. Real Image Technologies (Qube Technologies) was instrumental in introducing digital film projection system and creating an ecosystem supporting digital film projection in hundreds of single screen cinemas across Tamil Nadu that primarily screened movies through film projectors until then.

As a result, the cost of production and distribution declined since film stock, which were expensive, was not used anymore, while quality of filmmaking improved as filmmakers were not constrained by budgets set aside to buy film rolls and producers could screen their movies in hundreds of cinemas at the same time digitally.

Mr. Arun was one of the first to dub Hollywood movies in Tamil. Among them were Gandhi, Lion King, and Aladdin.

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