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Erode Soundar, Writer and Director, Dies at 63

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Erode Soundar, veteran Tamil cinema writer and director, died at a private hospital in Tamil Nadu on Saturday after suffering from kidney-related complications. He was 63.

According to a report by the Indian Express Tamil, Soundar, who had been suffering from kidney-related complications for five years, was admitted to the hospital for dialysis. He then experienced breathing difficulties and was shifted to the intensive care unit. He failed to respond to treatment and died at 1.35 pm.

Speaking to Silverscreen India, editor V Jaisankar who has worked with Soundar in several films, including Simmarasi (1998) and Ayya Ullen Ayya (2020), said, “He was a very knowledgeable person and had an in-depth knowledge of stories and dialogues. He was basically a writer but also directed well. Working with him was tension free. He was always open to suggestions and input from others, despite his experience.”

Calling Soundar a good human who was always inclined to be helpful, Jaisankar said, “I have worked as an associate editor in Nattamai and Muthal Seethanam. He was at his peak during that time (the ’90s) and worked closely with KS Ravikumar. He was a down-to-earth person and easily adapted to the transition from film to digital.”

Soundar’s first stint in the Tamil cinema industry was as a writer in the 1991 Tamil action-drama film, Cheran Pandiyan. Not only did it prove to be a hit at the box-office, it also won Sounder two State awards, the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Dialogue Writer and the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Story Writer.

Cheran Pandiyan was directed by KS Ravikumar and starred Sarathkumar and Vijayakumar. Soundar continued to collaborate with Ravikumar as a writer and went on to work in many Tamil drama films, including Puthum Pudhu Payanam (1991), the blockbuster Nattamai (1994), which starred Sarathkumar and Kushboo, and Samudhiram (2001), which starred Sarathkumar again.

His collaboration with Sarathkumar created a strong partnership. A milestone for the duo was when Soundar directed the 1998 Tamil drama film Simmarasi, with Sarathkumar and Kushboo in the lead. The film opened to great success and reviews, and won Sarathkumar the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actor.

Soundar has also written the remakes of his films in other languages. This includes the 1992 Telugu film Balarama Krishnulu (a remake of Cheran Pandiyan), the Kannada films Simhadriya Simha (2002) (a remake of Nattamai) and Paramashiva (2014) (remake of Samudhram), and the 2003 Bengali film Kartabya (a remake of Samudhram).

Soundar has also been an actor. He acted alongside Kamal Hassan and Rajinikanth in Dasavathaaram (2008) and Lingaa (2014) respectively.

His last film was the 2020 Tamil film Ayya Ullen Ayya which he wrote and directed. It stars KS Ravikumar, Livingston, Manobala, and Nalini.

He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

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