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This article was on the "Chennai online October 2009" web for the memory of Great actor Sivajiganeshan.

In Memory of Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan ( Part -2)

In most cinemas, physically handicapped persons are normally characterized as downtrodden to obtain public sympathy. Sivaji on the other hand, used physical deformation to the character’s advantage. Watch him in the evergreen - “Alayamani” where he used the wheel chair. In fact so sophisticated was his maneuvering of the wheelchair that it became a part of himself and nobody missed his majestic walk in the film. See him in “Paarthal Pasitheerum” as an injured soldier who has a hop in his walk In the entire film he never missed the frequency of the hop - even in tight close-up (“Songs: ullam enbathu or pillaikku thanthai oruvan”) the head bumped up and down at the right time! The news of him holding his left hand up much after the movie -“ Bhaagapirivanai” - is a part of film folklore! 

You can’t beat Sivaji when it comes to playing musical instruments and look at the range. Contrast his sax in the interlude of “Unnai Onru Ketpen”- Puthiya Paravai” to the nadaswaram in “Thillana Moganambal” or just look at him play the guitar with a breeze in “Naan Kavignanum Ilai - Padithaal Mattum Poduma”.

Read more: In Memory of Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan ( Part -2)

This article was on the "Chennai online" web for the memory of Great actor Sivajiganeshan

In Memory of Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan (Part-1)

If there was a matinee idol in the realms of Indian cinematic history who received as much accolades and an equally strong bout of criticism for his histrionic abilities, it was Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan. Given that he never achieved the national status that he deserved perhaps is a reflection of the complexities of the language of his mother tongue that required strong grammar, poetic undertones and louder decibels for dialogue delivery. Film critics and audience forming the majority in the North of the Vindayas who were used to the much softer, subtle shayaari and ghazals perhaps found it difficult to applaud Sivaji’s daredevilry in characterization of roles he depicted in his film career. Perhaps if he were to be born out of the Dravidian State and culture, there would have been a national consensus that he was the greatest actor Indian cinema ever produced. It is indeed a misfortune to know that Mr. Nehru pleaded ignorance of the actor when President Nasser of Egypt enquired dearly about him after seeing his stellar performance in “Veerapandia Kattabomman” in the Cairo Film Festival.

Nehru did make amends when he made Sivaji the main host when Nasser visited India subsequently! Whilst this article is not to Sivaji’s defense, it presents certain facts and situations that made Sivaji a master of his own craft.

Read more: In Memory of Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan (Part-1)

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