"A Chevalier of an actor "

Sivaji Ganesan

1928 - 2001

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As a child that found his mother, he found the stage  naturally and progressed as a child actor into filmdom in his early youth. He  entered the film industry with such an authority that the Tamil cinema will  always consider that period as a golden era for itself. Without doubt,  Vettaithidal Chinnaiahpillai "Sivaji" Ganesan turned out to be one of  the most versatile and respected film actors in India. With a most illustrated  acting career spanning close to five decades, he had acted in nearly 300 films  in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi. An incredible memory and  versatile acting skills helped him remember his scripts at a glance including  long dialogues and he donned numerous roles that are unforgettable. And this  also gave him the Tamil honorific name Nadigar Thillagam (as an epitome of an actor)

Born in a middle class Tamil family, got on to the stage at  the age of seven and pursued acting by joining a drama company. Learning acting  that came naturally to him he honed his skills in dancing and got trained in Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Manipuri. Having played the lead role in the plays  his portrayal of the character of Chhatrapati Shivaji in the stage play  'Shivaji Kanda Hindu Rajyam' earned him the name "Sivaji". This title  was conferred on him at a public function presided over by social reformer E.  V. Ramasamy. Since then, he was popularly referred by the name of "Sivaji" Ganesan.

Though he was a superstar in the Tamil film industry, he was  well known for his at most dedication at work as he was always on time to  report to the films sets. He had that incredible talent to grasp the intensity  of every scene and the dialogues instantly and these traits have become the  basic learnings for many actors who came after him.  And he had complete involvement in his work  and the ability to observe the co actors always.   "In a single moment, an actor can overtake  your performance. So, always observe what they are doing." As in his own words  of advice to his son when he entered the film industry.

He loved horses and he was always was a big sports fan, a  member of the TNCA he loved cricket. As an iconic actor in Tamil cinema, he was  referred to as "The Marlon Brando of Indian Cinema". Received the  President's Award for Best Tamil Actor on numerous occasions, four Filmfare  Awards South and a National Film Award (Special Jury). Sivaji Ganesan was  honored with civilian awards such as Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Dada Saheb  Palke Award, the highest award in India for people involved in film industry.

He was the first Indian film actor to win a "Best  Actor" award in an International film festival, the Afro-Asian Film Festival held in Cairo, Egypt in 1960. And also the first Indian actor to be  made a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French. His iconic  role in Veerapandiya Kattabomman will always be one his all-time best performances and it even won him best actor award from a foreign film festival  1960 - Best Actor in Asia - Africa Continent Award at the Afro-Asian Film  Festival.

He still inspires many actors and has this undeniable  influence on many actors especially originating from South India. As an epitome  of acting skills, Sivaji Ganesan will always remain as a legendary artist to  have lived his life out on the silver screens donning those incredibly iconic  roles that will forever be a part of every cinema goer's life.

This is a SoulPrints tribute to Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan.

      


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