Tamil Nadu

‘Film News’ Anandan, cinema historian, passes away

Film news Anandan, often referred to as the ‘Living encyclopaedia on Tamil movies’, died on Monday after a brief illness, in Chennai. He was 90 and is survived by his wife, Sivagami, and two sons – 'Diamond' Babu ( a PRO in the film industry) and Ravi – and two daughters, Geetha and Vijaya.

Born as Mani, he changed his name to Anandakrishnan, but was popularly known as Film News Anandan.

Passionate about photography, Mr. Anandan started his career as a freelance photographer with Film News, which gave him the moniker. He slowly slipped into the role of a film historian after he started jotting down salient details of the happenings in a film shoot.

Today, Mr. Anandan is a colossus as far as film history is concerned. But lesser known aspect of his career was that he was also one of the most successful public relations personnel in the film industry when the profession was still at a nascent stage. He has worked as a PR person for over 3,000 films. “It was thanks to M.G. Ramachandran that I entered that field. Beginning with Nadodi Mannan, I took care of the public relations of all his films till the very end,” he was quoted as saying in an interview with The Hindu.

Film News Anandan was a warehouse of memory, says Film Director and script writer Chithralaya Gopu.

''None of us in our film unit, including director Sridhar, bothered to archive our creations, but Anandan used to do the job, even without our knowledge. I was then driving a Vespa scooter and my house was in Triplicane. Anandan lived on Peters Road in Royapettah and everyday he insisted that I pick him up to the sets and drop him back. He utilised this travel time to raise a volley of questions about our movies and our personal life. I did not realise then that he was recording our lives and then, all of Kollywood looked to him for information. He saved whatever remained like a treasure hunter, and could provide information about movies, that had been packed away in dusty old boxes for years...'' said Mr. Gopu.

Mr. Anandan was Chithralaya's PR man for the film Thenilavu filmed in Kashmir. “Considering his cool and soft-spoken nature, [ Thenilavu's director] Sridhar wanted him to employ him for our Chithralaya unit, but he had turned down the offer, saying he wanted to be a freelancer. That really worked for him,” added Gopu.

No wonder, then, that everyone from the Tamil film industry has sent their condolences to his family, including Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, and DMK chief M. Karunanidhi. Mr. Anandan recently published a phenomenal and extensive work on film history, Tamil Thiraipada Varalaru, a collection of data that he had gathered from over 16,000 feature films in different languages. Mr. Anandan provided clarity and perspective for many generations of film journalists until his death.

He had illuminating perspectives on how the ‘studio model’ gave way to a ‘hero-driven’ industry and under what circumstances.

Through his long career, Mr. Anandan has had a ring side view from which he could observe the evolution of technology in the Tamil cinema and how film audience understood the craft of cinema. “The layman of today knows much more about camera angles, editing and art than he did earlier,” he has said in an interview to this paper. Those who have had the good fortune of speaking to him attest to the fact of his incredible memory and strong sense of humour.

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Printable version | Oct 8, 2021 11:36:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/film-news-anandan-cinema-historian-passes-away/article8381522.ece

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