Fifth Death Anniversary of Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK Leader “Kalaignar” Karunanidhi Commemorated on 7 August 2023.



Jeyaraj’s Jottings

The fifth death anniversary of former Tamil Nadu chief minister and Dravidian Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK) party leader M.Karunanidhi was commemorated on Monday 7 July 2023. Karunanidhi’s son and current Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin led a peace march in memory of his father. Stalin was joined by his sister Kanimozhi, son Udhayanidhi, cabinet colleagues and scores of party workers.Stalin led the peace march on the Wallajah Salai here, and it culminated at the former CM’s memorial at the Marina Beach.

Muthuvel Karunanidhi, known to the Tamil-speaking world as “Kalaignar” (artiste), passed away at the age of 94 in Chennai on 7 August 2018. Karunanidhi was a versatile, multi-faceted personality. In his eventful life “Kalaignar” was a journalist, editor, dramatist, stage actor, film script writer, short story writer, novelist, literary commentator, poet, lyricist, film producer and TV channel proprietor. He has written the story or screenplay without dialogues for 11 other films.

. “Kalaignar” Karunanidhi developed a writing style for cinema that was flowery and alliterative (adukku Mozhi), and soon became very popular. Court room scenes, inquiries in royal courts in historical movies and short dramas introduced into films that had a modern setting, provided ample scope for Karunanidhi’s captivating prose. His reputation had producers advertising their movies by proclaiming, “Story and Dialogue by “Kalaignar Mu. Karunanidhi”.

When film titles were projected in the cinema halls, his name would be shown ahead of the stars and greeted with applause. There were others to follow Karunanidhi in both content and style from the DMK camp — Aasaithamby, Krishnaswamy, Maaran and Kannadasan etc. But Karunanidhi was the master in that genre surpassing even his mentor and leader Annadurai.

Among the films scripted by Karunanidhi are Manthiri Kumari, Parasakthy, Manamahal, Panam, Manohara, Thirumbi paar, Malaikkallan, Pudumaippithan, Kuravanji, Raja Rani,Arasilankumari, Iruvar Ullam, Rangoon Radha, Pudaiyal, Kaanchi Thalaivan, Poom buhaar, Poomaalai, Avan Pithanaa, Marakka Mudiyumaa, Pillaiyo Pillai, Paalaivana Rojakkal, Uliyin Oasai and Ponnar Shankar. It is said that he received 3000 rupees for his first film. However in later years he got up to 75 lakhs of rupees to script a film.

It was Karunanidhi’s entry into filmdom which brought him much recognition and more remuneration in early life despite his lack of tertiary education. His rise in cinema helped him greatly to carve out a name for himself as a politician too. “Kalaignar” Karunanidhi’s ascendancy in politics basically corresponded with that of the DMK’s rise in Tamil Nadu.

Karunanidhi served as Chief Minister of India’s Tamil Nadu state for a total of 19 years. He was Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu five times from 1969-71, 1971-76, 1989-91, 1996-2001 and 2006-11. No other Tamil Nadu chief minister has been in office for so long.

Another record was that of being party leader for nearly 50 years. He was the undisputed leader of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (Dravidian Progressive Federation) since 1969, leading the party through thick and thin for 49 years. The Dravidian patriarch was first elected to the State legislative assembly in 1957 and never lost an election he contested personally since then. No Indian politician can boast of such an unbroken lengthy record. “Kalaignar” Muthuvel Karunanidhi was no ordinary politico but a veritable political institution.

D.B.S.Jeyaraj can be reached at