Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi celebrated his 87th birthday on Thursday. But not before a twist in the tale his screenplays had earned him 55 years ago.
In 1955, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) supremo scripted his way to his ‘blockbuster’ – a sprawling bungalow at upscale Gopalapuram in Central Chennai. On Wednesday, the eve of his birthday, he executed a deed to donate his landmark residence to a trust that will convert it into a charitable hospital after his death.
Karunanidhi had made an announcement to this effect some time back. But it wasn’t until Wednesday evening that he received the consent of all his three children for transferring the ownership of the house to the trust.
Union Telecom Minister AM Raja is a member of this trust.
The gesture was greeted on Thursday in a style typical of Chennai’s effervescent film industry – and of party supporters and fans falling head over heels to demonstrate their love for their leader.
Almost all of Chennai resembled a lavish film set, huge cutouts, posters, buntings and fireworks besides the high-decibel music. The city seemed hard pressed to accommodate thousands who poured in from across Tamil Nadu and beyond.
Beamed into homes by Tamil TV stations, the celebrations kicked off even before sunrise, with the birthday boy planting a sapling at CIT Nagar, Gopalapuram, near his residence. A cake-cutting ceremony followed.
Karunanidhi, one of Tamil film industry’s highest paid scriptwriters, has treasured his house. In the past five decades, it played host to several political confabulations.
“The donation of this house makes today more memorable,” said Karunanidhi’s son and Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin. For company, he had siblings and Union minister M.K. Azhagiri and Kanimozhi and Union Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran.