CHENNAI: Noted film director A C Tirulokchandar (86) died here at a private hospital on Wednesday from age-related ailments. The yesteryear director from Vellore district carved a niche for himself in Tamil and Hindi film industries with movies like Anbe Vaa (1966), Deiva Magan (1969), Teri Kasam (1982) and Do Dilon Ki Dastaan (1985).
The octogenarian celebrated his 86th birthday on June 11, but has been in hospital for the last three months. “He was in poor health and breathed his last at 2 pm,” said Raj T, his son.
The director who began his career in 1962 with the movie Veerathirumagan, was first introduced to cinema and most importantly the house of AVM by his friend and actor S A Asokan.
“He had a great relation with the AVM house and made 40 films in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. His first film and his last film was for AVM. His death is a loss to all of us,” said Shan, his grandson. Actor S Ve Sheker said, “He was a gentleman in the film industry. AVM was more like his house and I would say that he was a most disciplined and systematic director. His contribution will remain untarnished until the last day of cinema.”
He will be cremated in Besant Nagar at 4 pm on Thursday. Thirulokchandar’s wife passed away seven months ago, a source said.
While the legendary director had 65 movies to his credit, the biggest highlight was Deiva Magan with Shivaji Ganesan in the lead, which went on to become the first South Indian movie to gain an entry to the Oscars. Besides this movie, the pairing of Tirulokchandar and Sivaji Ganesan was much like the Martin Scorcese-Robert De Niro combination, with the duo collaborating on 25 films, almost all of which were box office successes.
“His chemistry and bond with Sivaji Ganesan has always been spoken about. According to me, no other director has portrayed Sivaji sir like he had in the film Deiva Magan. I saw the movie in Shanthi theatre over 25 times and I still remember every dialogue,” shared actor Chinni Jayanth.
Recollecting meeting him for the first time in a set in AVM studios, Jayanth said, “I met him in AVM and told him that I was an ardent fan of Sivaji sir and he immediately hugged me! A C Tirulokchandar is the ‘Deivamagan’ of all directors and the master of bringing technique on screen.”
Besides Sivaji Ganesan, Tirulokchandar collaborated with MGR for one film in 1966 called Anbe Vaa, the film was also AVM’s 50th film and one of its most expensive film then.
Another person Tirulokchandar always partnered with was his assistant director S P Muthuraman, who himself became one of Tamil cinema’s greatest treasures. But Muthuraman says he owes it all to his “guru”.
“I was his assistant director from his first film to his last and when I started to make films I would ensure that I would present him with every script and fall at his feet before starting any project. I owe all my success only to him. He will always remain my guru,” a heartbroken Muthuraman told Express.
Tirulokchandar also directed the versatile Sowcar Janaki in Babu (1971). The 85-year-old actress said, “It was a pleasure working with someone like him. He was always authentic about everything and would take time to explain every scene. Most directors would just enact the role, he used to explain every detail.”
“He always wanted perfection and he gave the same amount of respect to actors and technicians. Babu was a milestone movie for me and I am truly sad about this loss,” she said.Janaki was also part of a serial directed by the Tirulokchandar. He also has the credit of launching Sivakumar in Uyarndha Manithan (1968).