Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan was and is the much-celebrated actor of the Indian film industry. Often referred to as 'Simma Kuralon", "Nadigar Thilagam" Sivaji has acted in almost 288 movies, in close to 5 decades, across 5 Indian languages.
Born as VC Ganesan, 'Sivaji' was renamed by EVR, after the actor gave life to the Shivaji character, that he took up during the stage play, 'Shivaji Kanda Hindu Rajyam'.
Sivaji Ganesan's entry into the film industry was at a time when the industry was lacking native language speaking artists. The creators had to depend on non- Tamil speaking actors and compromise themselves on the dialogue delivery aspects. With the Dravidian movement gaining momentum, an actor who was not only versatile in acting but who has a convincing dialogue delivery was the need of the hour. Hence Sivaji Ganesan was warmly welcomed by the Kollywood.
Sivaji Ganesan was the only actor who had worked with all 3 Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu of his period from M Karunanidhi, MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa.
His style of dialogue delivery and his memory power to memorise and recite lengthy dialogues earned him critical recognition.
Sivaji Ganesan's movies were trendsetters. 'Andha Naal' which was released in the year 1954 became a trendsetter in Tamil cinema because it had no songs. It was a period when movies were musically dependent and often had 7-10 songs. 'Navarathri' is another movie in which the actor is seen in 9 different personalities.
Sivaji's acting in legendary movies like Karnan, Thiruvilayadal, Veerapandiya Kattabomman, Kappolottiya Thamizhan and many more are so convincing that one can easily relate to the historical characters with Sivaji Ganesan. There are instances where people in down south still think that it was Sivaji Ganesan who in reality is Veerapandiya Kattabomman, one of the freedom fighters for British era.
Sivaji has acted in several multi-starrer movies, unlike his contemporaries who were reluctant to act in multi hero subjects. Sivaji Ganesan's versatility has made him do varied roles from being a romantic hero in movies like Paalum Pazhamum to comical movies like Ooty Varai Uravu, Galatta Kalyanam, a man with a scared face as in Deiva Magan, a murderer in Pudhiya Paravai, old age romance in Mudhal Mariyadhai and so on.
He also has shared screen space with the next-gen actors, from Kamal Haasan to younger actor of his time, Vijay. His last movie was Padayappa with Superstar, Rajnikanth.
Sivaji Ganesan has also tried his stint in politics. Ganesan's due his regards for late Congress leader, Kamarajar, became a strong supporter of the Indian National Congress. He was also made as a Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. But unlike his highly successful acting career, his political career was rather unsuccessful.
The thespian passed away on 21 July 2001 at the age of 72. In 2017, a memorial built at a cost of ₹ 28 million in Adyar, Chennai.
Various politicians and film fraternities visited the memorial today, to pay their respects to the best actor that Indian Cinema had seen in all these years.