Producer dies of apparent suicide

Venkateswaran was head of Venus Pictures

NEW DELHI — Noted Tamil director Mani Ratnam’s brother producer G. Venkateswaran, 56, was found dead Saturday at his home in the southern city of Chennai.

The producer, head of Venus Pictures, made many of Ratnam’s Tamil-lingo pictures, but was overwhelmed by the financial difficulties that are ravaging the industry and hung himself, his family said.

GV, as he was popularly known, had been depressed after a string of flops. He produced 18 pics including “The Godfather” takeoff “Nayakan”–which kick-started Ratnam’s career — “Anjali,” “Thalapathi” and “Agni Nakshatram.”

But, as with Hindi movies, a slump in audiences coupled with the continuing spiraling cost of contracting movie stars has hit the Tamil-lingo film industry and Venus went bust.

GV is survived by his wife, a son and daughter, and brother Ratnam.

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