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Ratnam kin suicide

Chennai, May 3: Well-known Tamil film producer G. Venkateshwaran, elder brother of director Mani Ratnam, committed suicide at his residence today, reports our special correspondent.

He was 55 and is survived by his wife Sujatha, a daughter and a son. Popularly known as ‘GV’ in industry circles, the suave, genial and apparently unflappable Venkateshwaran was believed to have got into a financially bad patch following two recent flops, though close relatives refused to comment on why he had hung himself.

“Sorry, we are in no position to say anything now,” said one relative at the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital, where Venkateshwaran’s body was taken for post-mortem.

The first filmmaker in the country to list his production-cum-distribution company, GV Films, in the stock market, Venkateshwaran was hailed as one with the “Midas touch” after his first Tamil film, Mouna Raagam, was a hit in the mid eighties. He also collaborated with his brother in several productions.

According to sources close to Venkateshwaran’s family, the producer had rung up his media relations officer this morning to say that he would reach office by 11 to sign some cheques. After a long wait, his anxious PRO tried to reach him at his residence. When there was no answer, the official alerted one of Venkateshwaran’s relatives, who broke open the door of the producer’s posh Harrington Road residence to find GV dead.

Police sources said they came to know of the suicide at 12.15 pm. The producer had apparently used his dhoti to hang himself from the ceiling fan, sources said.

A friend of the producer said Venkateshwaran’s financial worries began after Michael Jackson cancelled his much-hyped pop show in Mumbai some years ago. GV had spent crores of rupees for the show’s publicity.

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