National Award winning director SP Jananathan passes away in Chennai

SP Jananathan, who was known for films such as ‘Peranmai’ and ‘Iyarkai’ was earlier put on ventilator support after he was found unconscious.
SP Jananathan
SP Jananathan
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National Award winning director SP Jananathan passed away on Sunday. The director was found unconscious at his residence and rushed to the hospital on Thursday. SP Jananathan is known for films such as Peranmai and Iyarkai. 

According to reports, the director was editing a movie on Thursday afternoon when he headed home for lunch. When Jananathan did not return for a long time, his assistants rushed back to his residence to find him unconscious. Preliminary reports from doctors declared the director brain dead and he was put on ventilator support. His condition did not show any progress following which the doctors declared him dead.

The director was working on Laabam starring Vijay Sethupathi and Shruti Haasan in the lead. This film was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic and is expected to release this year. According to reports, the political-thriller is in its post production work. Jananathan won the National Award under Best Feature Film in Tamil category in the year 2004 for Iyarkai. The director has since made films with actors like Jeeva, ‘Jayam’ Ravi, Arya, and Vijay Sethupathi.

Born in Vadaseri, Thanjavur, Jananathan assisted directors such as  B. Lenin, Bharathan, Vincent Selva and Keyar before making his debut with Iyarkai that starred Shaam, Kutty Radhika and Arun Vijay in lead roles. The film on unrequited love did not do well at the box office but went on to receive critical acclaim followed by the National Award.

His second film was E starring Jiiva and Nayanthara in the lead and it became a commercial success. Then came Peranmai with Jayam Ravi in the lead. The actor played an adivasi forest guard, teaching young women at an NSS camp. This film dealt with inherent caste based discrimination at educational institutions and was critically acclaimed for its handling of the subject.

In an earlier interview with TNM, the director who was forced to make 16 cuts in this film for it to be released said, “I’m from a very impoverished household and belong to a backward community. I have eight siblings and I am the only one who got a degree. It was very difficult for me to study because I had no help at home and not enough money to get tutored. I felt the pain of being a first-generation learner and I thought if it was this hard for me, imagine the situation of someone from an SC or ST community."

In addition to directing films, Jananathan also wore multiple hats. Purompokku Engira Podhuvudamai marked his first film as a producer while he has worked with director N Kalyanakrishnan, penning the dialogues in the 2015 Tamil movie Bhooloham.

Following the news of his untimely demise, condolences came pouring in on Twitter. 

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