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Journalist, theatre personality and literary critic Gnani died

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(G.N.S) Dt. 16
Chennai
In a career spanning four decades, he directed several plays and nearly 40 documentary films
Journalist, theatre personality and literary critic Gnani (born V. Sankaran) died here in the early hours of Monday following a cardiac arrest. He was 64. He is survived by wife Padmavathi and son, Manush Nandan, a cinematographer.
Gnani had been suffering from a kidney ailment and undergoing dialysis.
A native of Chenglapattu, Gnani had begun his career at Indian Express in the mid-1970s. Veteran Tamil playwright Indira Parthasarathy recalls that he had met Gnani for the first time in 1976 when the latter was a cub reporter and had come to interview him (Prof. Parthasarathy). “I could feel even then that that he was a bright guy. My assessment of him continues even now. He was an amazing, fearless and versatile personality,” the playwright points out, adding that he dedicated to Gnani’s memory the lifetime achievement award that he received on the second day of The Hindu Lit for Life.
Gnani was trained by S. Ramanujam, G. Sankara Pillai and Badal Sircar, all doyens of Indian theatre. Originally a member of “Koothu-P-Pattarai,” a theatre group, he went on to set up in 1978 ‘Pareeksha,’ whose maiden play was Porvai Porthiya Udalgal of Prof. Parthasarathy.
“The play’s central character was a woman, ‘Vasanthi,’ and Gnani could not find a suitable person. But he had the ingenuity to use the voice of a woman (Gnani’s stepsister) instead. The impact was great, though there was no woman physically on the stage to represent ‘Vasanthi’,” says the playwright, adding that he had come to Chennai from New Delhi, where he was living then, to see the play. When the influence of cinema and television was growing in the early 1990s, ‘Pareeksha’ had staged a play every week along with others in Chennai.

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