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AVM Productions to split

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A view of the AVM Studios in Chennai
A view of the AVM Studios in Chennai

Our Bureau

Chennai, March 28

AVM Productions, a partnership firm and one of the leading banners of the South Indian film industry, is all set for a split with the brothers Mr M. Saravanan and Mr M. Balasubramanian deciding to go their own ways, according to reliable sources.

The sources confirmed that talks were on for a split in the business and a decision could be expected in about a fortnight.

Mr M. Saravanan and Mr M. Balasubramanian, sons of late A.V. Meyyappa Chettiar, founder of the film production company in that name, are partners in AVM Productions. Mr M.S. Guhan, son of Mr Saravanan, and Mr B. Gurunath Meyyappan, son of Mr Balasubramanian, are the other partners in the company.

This will be the third split in the AVM group, which has been active in the film business for more than 55 years. The first was in 1978 when Mr A.V.M. Murugan, eldest son of Meyyappa Chettiar, who was then alive, split from the group. In 1984, Mr A.V.M. Kumaran, second son of Meyyappa Chettiar, split from the group. He now runs his business along with his son Mr A.V.M.K. Shanmugam.

Since then Mr Saravanan and Mr Balasubramanian have been together running the business along with their sons, who were co-opted as partners at different times.

"Difference of opinion," is the reason cited by the sources for the two brothers now deciding to partition the business.

The sources said that Meyyappa Chettiar himself had specified the method in which the property, a leading production studio in Chennai, was to be partitioned.

Hence, they did not foresee any problems in the process of partition between Mr Saravanan and Mr Balasubramanian going through. The sources said that despite the partition, all the sons of Meyyappa Chettiar could continue to use the "AVM" name, as specified by the late founder.

AVM Productions has a studio that has 12 floors. How this is to be divided will have to be worked out. The company gets its income from renting out the studios. AVM Productions has been producing serials for the Sun television network.

Mr Kumaran's company runs the AVM Rajeswari theatre and marriage hall, has three or four recording theatres and also produces serials for Jaya TV and Raj TV, two Tamil satellite television channels.

The AVM banner, started in 1948, has produced 166 films in various Indian languages and almost all the leading stars of Tamil cinema have featured in its films. After the last Tamil film produced by it, AVM Productions had more or less decided to concentrate on television serials as it found that the film business was no longer as lucrative as it used to be, especially because of the problem of pirated CDs that affected box office collections.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 29, 2005)
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