Film producer and noted NRI businessman MM Ramachandran popularly known as Atlas Ramachandran passed away on Sunday while undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Dubai.
Chairman of Atlas group of companies, he was aged 80 following a cardiac arrest. He was admitted to the Bur Dubai Aster Mankhool Hospital on Saturday night with chest pain.
Born in 1942, in Kerala’s Thrissur district, Ramachandran gained prominence and became a household name among Malayalis because of the way he delivered the tag line of his jewelry chain – Atlas Jewellery, janakodikalude vishwastha sthapanam (the trusted name of crores of people).
Ramachandran started his gold jewelry business in 181. He purchased just two kilograms of gold with his own money and went on to manage a chain of jewelry across the globe.
Besides being a film producer, he also held the positions of Dubai Shopping Festival’s Gold Promotion Council, and the secretary of Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group.
As a film producer during his tenure, he produced and directed films such as ‘Holidays’. A few of other films he produced include ‘Vaishali’, ‘Dhanam’, ‘Vasthuhara’, ‘Kauravar’, ‘Chakoram’, ‘Innale’ and ‘Sukrutham’, and also owns film producing company Chandrakantha films. Ramachandran also appeared in ‘Arabikatha’, ‘Subhadram’, ‘Anandabhairavi’, ‘Malabar Wedding’, and ‘2 Harihar Nagar’.
In August 2015, the banker turned businessman was arrested by the Dubai police for delay in repayment of bank borrowings.
Two months later, he was sentenced to three years in prison by a Dubai court. The Atlas group had taken loans up to Dh 550 million (appr Rs. 1000 crore) and the sentence came in a case in which two cheques were not honoured by the company.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled the death of Ramachandran and said that he was someone who was never reluctant to help the poor. “Atlas Ramachandran’s demise comes at a time when he was planning on returning home to his birthplace,” said Pinarayi.