CHENNAI: Veteran Tamil novelist Balakumaran forayed into Tamil cinema with Mani Ratnam’s Nayakan, assisting the director in scripting the film’s dialogues. There on, Balakumaran’s contributions in films were mainly in the field of script doctoring and dialogue writing. His work includes critically-acclaimed films like Baashha, Gentleman, Guna, and Pudhupettai.
VZ Durai, who worked with Balakumaran in his directorial debut Mugavari and Kadhal Sadugudu, says, “The time I spent with Balakumaran sir was fantastic. He was like a godfather to me. More than a scriptwriter and an author, he was a spiritual guide to many people. Balakumaran sir was a very friendly man. Despite being a legend, he never had a bit of ego. I was only in my first year of college when I directed my first film, Mugavari; I hadn’t even worked as an assistant to any director. But he was always encouraging and never treated me like a fresher. It’s very rare to meet such a person. He was so knowledgeable; you could talk to him about anything.”
Actor Prashanth, whose films like Jeans and Majunu had dialogues written by Balakumaran, says, “It’s truly unfortunate. We’ve lost one more legend in the industry. He was a living dictionary and university. He was such a soft-spoken and god-fearing person. It was always a pleasure working with him. His command over Tamil and his sense of humour were impeccable.”
Veteran lyricist Vairamuthu says, “Balakumaran was one of the important persons who grabbed the collar of the generation which slowly forgot the habit of reading, and asked them to read first and think later. Very few writers who ventured into cinema and got the appreciation they deserved. The silver screen had kept big names like Pudhumaipithan, Akilan, B S Ramaiah, and Vindhan in a corner. But it gave only successes to Balakumaran. Sindhu Bhairavi, Kadhalan and Badshah are wonderful creations of his.”