CHENNAI: After a prolonged two-month long struggle at a hospital, the man who produced some of ‘Captain’ Vijayakant’s biggest hits like Captain Prabhakaran and Pulan Visaranai - Ibrahim Rowther - passed away on Wednesday. He was 63 and is unmarried.
Doctors at SRM Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS) said he had protracted kidney and liver ailments that pushed him into a coma from which he never recovered. He passed away at 10.50 am at the hospital in Vadapalani.
Rowther, who many believe was instrumental in Vijayakant’s rise as an actor through the mid-80’s and early 90’s, was the one who first used the moniker ‘Captain’ during the silver jubilee function of their film Captain Prabhakaran. Ever since, Vijayakant is more popularly known as Captain than by his own name in most cinematic and political fora. His production company still bears the name Captain Cine Creations.
Rowther and Vijayakant had moved to Chennai at about the same time and began parallel tracts in the world of Tamil cinema. By the time they had both reached a level of prominence, Rowther was helping select scripts for Vijayakant and the duo had a prolific run with at least 6 back-to-back hits being delivered.
Vijayakant is also believed to have been a moving force behind Rowther setting up his production company ‘Rowther Films’ in Arumbakkam, which has since become a landmark for budding directors.
Rowther’s cinematic impact has grown less pronounced over the last decade, as he opted to work with newer heroes and small budget flicks over large productions. His last release was Puriyatha Anantham which sunk without a trace. A former head of the Tamil Film Producers Council, he was also actively involved in Vijayakant’s DMDK until a rift caused him to leave and join the AIADMK in 2012.
However, two weeks ago when Rowther slipped into a coma, Vijayakant appeared to have buried the hatchet as he visited his long time friend and shed tears while writing him a letter wishing him speedy recovery.
The actor is also amongst the first to have rushed to the production house to pay his respects to his now-deceased friends, an hour after he passed on. Rowther remained unmarried and his production company will most likely be handled by his associates, said a source in his office.
A doctor at SIMS revealed that the late producer had been admitted with kidney failure and a nearly non-functional liver. “His condition was extremely critical and his heart was too weak to withstand any medical procedure. We put him on dialysis for a month but there was no sign of improvement and he had to be put on ventilator support two weeks ago. His condition deteriorated quickly and sepsis set in two days ago. There was nothing we could do,” said the doctor.
Vijayakant along with his wife Premalatha and sons paid their respects to him. The actor-politician broke down and sobbed uncontrollably when he saw the weak body of his friend and confidant, lying in relief. Rowther’s last rites will be held at the Saligramam burial ground at noon, Thursday.