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Sivaji Ganesan

Viluppuram Chinnaiahpillai Ganesan Manrayar who was commonly known by his screen name Sivaji Ganesan who lived from 1st October 1928 to 21st July 2001 was an Indian stage performer and a film actor who was very active during the latter half of the 20th century and was one amongst the most respected and looked upon film actors of India.

He was very famous for his versatility and his amazing acting skills with a lot of roles depicted on screen. He then progressed from a small stage actor in his childhood to the filmdom with such a power that the Tamil cinema industry considered his era as the golden era.

He has acted in nearly 300 films in Telugu, Tamil,, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi in a career span close to five decades. Shivaji Ganesan was also the first Indian Kollywood film actor to win the Best Actor award in a prestigious International film festival, the Afro Asian Film Festival which was held in Cairo, Egypt in the year 1960.

Date Of Birth : 1st October 1928
Place Of Birth : Surat, Gujarat, India
Zodiac Sign : Libra

Many other leading South Indian film actors have affirmed that their acting was prejudiced by Ganesan. He was also the very first Indian film actor to be made a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. Ganesan is also remembered as the great iconic figure of Indian Tamil cinema. He is often referred to as The Marlon Brando of Indian Cinema. From the film Parasakthi onwards he won theprestigious President's Award for more than 12 times.

  • In most of Shivaji Ganesan's films, he has played a variety of multiple roles, commercial roles, and role portraying Hindu deities especially as Lord Shiva. This portryal of Lord Shiva in the film Thiruvilayaadal won him a lot of accolades in and around the cinema industry. In the movie Navarathiri that was released in the year 1964, Shivaji Ganesan has donned nine different roles that represented the nine emotional states of a human being. The Hindi actor Sanjeev Kumar was very much inspired by the film and also reprised the nine roles in the film Naya Din Nayi Raat in the year 1974.

  • Shivaji Ganesan always stroke a balance between the commercial cinema, the Mythological cinema and the experimental cinema. Shivaji has always been unique when compared to any other actors in India of his generation. Expert analysts from the cinema field admitted that three best versatile actors from India at those times were Shivaji, Dr.Rajkumar and N. T. Rama Rao. Shivaji experimented in movies like Thiruvilayaadal, Thiruvarutselvar, Veerapandiya Kattabomman, Thillana Mohanaambal, Thirumal Perumai, Karnan and Raja Rishi.

  • His role portrayal in the film Veerapaandiya Kattabomman raised him as the first South Indian actor to be recognized outside the India peninsula as in the Afro Asian film Festival at Egypt. He was also very much applauded for his acting in the movie Aalyamani which was also remade later by ace actor N. T. Rama Rao. A sheer variety of Shivaji Ganesan's role gave him so much acclaim and honor. He has co-starred with many of his counterparts like M. G. Ramachandran in a film which was titled Koondukkili.

  • He has also worked with so many leading actresses of his time which includes Savithri, Padmini, B. Sarojadevi, K. R. Vijaya and J. Jayalalitha. He also did co-star with other famous lead actors such as Gemini Ganesan, Muthuraman, M. R. Radha, and many more can be added up to the list. Though he accumulated a lot of awards throughout the years of 1950's and 1960's, it was in the year 1972 that Shivaji Ganesan worked on his first all time blockbuster movie titled Vasantha Maaligai.

  • In the year 1979, he delivered his very second and a final all-time blockbuster movie titled Thirisoolam which was adapted from the Kannada movie Shankar Guru in which Dr Rajkumar has played the lead role. After this movie, Sivaji Ganesan began to act in supporting roles. Due to his reputation and his rival MGR's success in politics Shivaji Ganesan entered the field of politics and was forced to face a big set back as he had lost in consecutive elections. But due to his closeness with the then Prime minister Indira Gandhi he was appointed as the member of Rajya Sabha in the year 1983.

  • Indira Gandhi's death in the year 1984 also brought Sivaji Ganesan's political career to an end. In the 1990's as Ganesan was aging, he started co-starring with several other actors. His notable films in which he did supporting roles were Veerapaandiyan, Pudhiya Vaanam, Thevar Magan, Pasumpon, Jalli Kattu and En Aasai Raasaave. His very last film before his death was Padayappa in the year 1999 which was also a big blockbuster.


Ganesan has won the President's Award for more than 12 times for his performance in various films. He was also honored with the civilian awards such as Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Dada Saheb Palke Award which is the highest award in India for people involved in cinema industry.

He won the Civilian honors both National and International in the year:

1966 – Padma Shri from the Government of India

1984 – Padma Bhushan from the Government of India

1995 – Chevalier awarded by the National Order of the Legion of Honor of France. On 22nd April 1995 at a ceremony held at the MAC Stadium in Chennai, Ganesan was offered with the Chevalier title and pendant by the French ambassador to India, Philip Petit.

1960 – Best Actor in Asia at the Africa Continent Award at the Afro-Asian Film Festival for Veerapandiya Kattabomman

1960 – One Day Mayor for the city of Niagara Falls and was presented with the Golden Key of Cairo. Pandit Jawaharlal is the only person besides Mr.Ganesan getting this honour

1964 – Cultural Ambassador of India invited by John F. Kennedy under the Cultural Exchange Programme

1991 – Citizenship in the Columbia, USA by the Government of United States

He won the National Film Awards in the year:

1993 – National Film Award – Special Jury Award for Thevar Magan

1997 – Dadasaheb Phalke Award

He won the Filmfare Awards in the year:

1973 – Best Actor Award for Gnana Oli

1974 – Best Actor Award for Gauravam

1986 – Best Actor Award for Muthal Mariyathai

Other honors that were given to him in the year:

1986 – Honorary doctorate from the Annamalai University

1997 – Kalaimamani from the Government of Tamil Nadu

1998 – NTR National Award from the Government of Andhra Pradesh

  • Shivaji Ganesan was the second son of his parents. He had two brothers. Ganesan got married to Kamala in the year 1952 and had four children. His younger son named Prabhu is a very notable Tamil actor in the Kollywood film industry. Ganesan also established a film production company in the late years of 1950's which is now called as Sivaji Productions, which is now being taken care and looked after by his eldest son named Ramkumar. He also has two daughters named Shanthi and Thenmozhi.