Ashokamitran oeuvre includes 200 short stories, eight novels, some 15 novellas, besides other prose writings.
Prominent Tamil writer and Sahitya Akademi winner Ashokamitran, one who powerfully portrayed lives and struggles of the urban middle class life in his literary works, died, aged 86, on yesterday night. He has collapsed at home. He has been survived by wife and three sons.
Born Tyagarajan on Sept 22, 1931 then he later assumed the pen name, Ashokamitran. He was one amongst the few writers who wrote fluently in both Tamil and English and was also known outside of Tamil Nadu as well, most of his works were translated into English and other Indian languages.
Career spanning over six decades, he has written eight novels, 20 novellas, hundreds of short stories, commentaries on a wide range of issues, and profiles of personalities. He was given Sahitya Akademi award in 1996 for Appavin Snegidhar, a collection of short stories.
Authority on films
He has written films with authority. His novel, Karaindha Nizhalgal, was an insider’s fictionalised account of the Tamil film world. Everyone is involved in film-making, from drivers, choreographers, light men, to assistants found a place in his book.
He gained an intimate knowledge on film world and the making of films when he was an employee in the public relations department of Gemini Studios. Later, in My Years with Boss, he wrote his association with S.S. Vasan of Gemini Studios.
His father been a friend of Vasan, who published Ananda Vikatan.
“Even though P.S. Ramaiah and Pudhumaipithan also worked very closely with the film world, their literary works had hardly touched upon the film world,” said S. Ramakrishnan, Tamil writer.
Ashokamitran has also written about classical music. It was one of the strange coincidence that he has spent his childhood days in Polagam, a small village in Thanjavur where Papanasam Sivan lived.
Even though his family belonged to Mayiladuthurai, his parents had lived in Secunderabad until Ashokamitran was 20. He based his novel Pathinetaavathu Atchakodu on the city.Later, he developed a great fondness for American writings and films, and was a regular at the library in the American Consulate.
Ashokamitran has kept himself abreast of his latest writings in English and Tamil, and had a good relationship with other writers. He had very close friendship with Ka. Naa. Subramaniam, T. Janakiraman, Indira Parthasarathy, Sundara Ramasamy and Nakulan, and even he has written about their works and his relationship with them.