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AVM studio shrinks further

Chennai,Aug 4 (): AVM, the flagship studio of South Indian cinema is to shrink further.

Balasubramaniam, one of the sons of AVM the founder is selling his share of the studio to Shriram properties for Rs 400 crores. The company will build apartments leaving only Saravanan and his elder brother Kumaran in the remaining area retaining a major chunk of land that comes under the AVM globe.

Balasubramaniam after partition retained the AC preview theatre, few studio floors and the bus stand set as well as the Pillayar Koil. The set made famous by the movie, Samsaram Adhu Minsaram had already been sold to a realtor.

The AVM family had split over differences amongst brothers. The two elder brothers of the family walked out leaving Saravanan and brother Balasubramaniam to run the studio. Murugan owned the B&W lab and edit attached to it while Kumaran got the Chettiyar house, dubbing studio, recording theatre and the movie theatre. Other properties are in control of a trust which includes the AVM Rajeshwari Hall.

Saravanan and his son Guhan are in control of Avvichi School in Chennai. The Kumaran wing flourished as they modernized their assets and his son Shanmugham spearheaded it. They kept away from film production and dabbled once in a while in TV serials and an occasional film. Murugan was mostly out of the AVM radar except for his yearly role as election officer in Tamil Nadu film producers association. This too has been usurped by a retired HC judge.

Saravanan became the face of AVM after the death of his father. After having made several blockbusters and having the patronage of people like Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan, Saravanan has not been active of late. His son Guhan has two twin daughters who are tech-savvy and were in ties with Rama Naidu academy.

The partition had created stories of how a camera panning towards a brother’s studio floor had security guards on their toes and the creation of a new Pillayar temple as the old one where many blockbusters were launched went to Balasubramaniam.

Gurunath, son of Balasubramaniam was included as partners of AVM in later stages but his control of production resulted in losses. Subsequently, Gurunath married India Cements’ owner N Srinivasan’s daughter and is embroiled in an IPL match-fixing scandal.

Sources say that AVM clan is pitching together to see Gurunath cleared out of the scam. Reports say half of the property that Balasubramaniam has sold to Shriram properties is on a JV and hence the preview theatre and some might still be under AVM globe. Those in the know say that AVM Chettiayar had written his will giving everybody the share of land but said that the AVM logo was common to all his sons. The goodwill behind this logo is what drives every son of the visionary AVM Chettaiyar. Tata Fund has joined the list of investors of Shriram properties.