Karunanidhi, whose original name was Dakshinamurthy, was born in Thirukkuvalai village in Nagapattinam district.
An atheist and self-declared rationalist, Mr Karunanidhi rose to political prominence in the 1940s as part of the Dravidian movement - which challenged the supremacy of upper caste Brahmins - and through his participation in anti-Hindi language agitations.
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Karunanidhi has a lot of feathers in his cap. Raajakumari, Abimanyu, Parasakhti and Manohara, on the other hand are some of his most acclaimed screenplays.
During Mr Karunanidhi's last illness, both Rajinkanth and fellow-actor-politician Kamal Haasan had gone to meet Karunanidhi multiple times. Some people even claim that he revolutionised what we now understand as Tamil literature. This flowered into a successful career in screenwriting for Tamil films and stage plays. His movies also involved social messages such as widow remarriage, abolition of untouchability and highlighting religious hypocrisy. After the state government declined the DMK's request, the party appraoched the Madras High Court for permission to bury Karunanidhi at Marina Beach. The government has also declared a seven-day mourning in the state. After Annadurai's demise, V.R. Neduncheziyan was a natural choice for successor and was made the acting chief minister. The state was put on alert after the five-time Chief Minister's death due to age-related ailments.
Known as a charismatic leader and fiery orator, Mr Karunanidhi led his party in the elections in Tamil Nadu in 2016 when he was 91. Annadurai, who became the chief minister, acknowledged Karunanidhi's role in raising money as well as holding the ranks together. Over the years, he has repeatedly been accused of corruption and nepotism charges. That's what makes him acceptable across generations of Tamils. Needless to say, his remarks started a fire, and with it sparked a tonne of controversy. Kalaignar means artist in Tamil, and the reference is a nod to his widely recognised contributions to film and literature.