SS Manivannan was a multi-talented star of the Tamil film industry. He was a director, writer and an actor. Manivannan created a place for himself in Tamil cinema with noteworthy films. He also contributed to Telugu, Hindi and Malayalam films. He started by writing stories and dialogues for director Bharathiraja. Then he became a successful director, who loved to experiment with different genres; he eventually forayed into acting as well. Manivannan used to act in comic, villain or supporting roles in films. In a span of his three-decade long career, Manivannan had worked in over 400 films; among which, he directed 50. Today, July 31, marks his 70th death anniversary. On this special occasion, let’s take a look at his filmography, personal life and his demise.
Manivannan was a native of Sulur in Coimbatore district. He was born on July 31, 1954, to a businessman and well-known DMK leader RS Maniam. According to the reports, Manivannan got inspired by the 1978 Bharatiraja-directorial Kizhake Pogum Rail. He reportedly wrote a fan letter of more than 100 pages to the director, who was impressed with his dedication and took him under his mentorship in 1979. Manivannan wrote stories and dialogues for films like Tick Tick Tick, Nizhalgal, Alaihal Oivathillai and Kaadhal. He also assisted Bharatiraja as an assistant director in films like Koththa Jeevithaalu, Red Rose starring Rajesh Khanna and Lovers.
In 1982, Manivannan made his directorial debut with Gopurangal Saivathillai. It is worth noting that of all the 50 films he directed, 34 were commercial hits. Manivannan’s 50th directorial film was a political satire titled Nagaraja Cholan MA, MLA, which received a lukewarm response at the box office. The film was the sequel to the blockbuster Tamil film, Amaidhi Padai. His other noted films include Chinna Thambi Periya Thambi, Pudhu Manithan and Jalli Kattu.
Manivannan died at the age of 60 due to cardiac arrest on June 15, 2013, at his Chennai residence, shortly after his 50th directorial release. Two months after he passed away, his wife Sengamalam also died on August 15. He is survived by his daughter Jyothi and son Raghuvannan.