Revisiting Sivaji Ganesan’s iconic films

The scene being screened is from the Tamil film, Paasa Malar. Gemini Ganesan, an employee, enters the boss’s (Sivaji Ganesan) cabin with his co-workers who are on strike. While Gemini delivers a powerful dialogue about workers’ rights, Sivaji conveys his anger with controlled and subtle emotions, ending with an almost inaudible ‘Get out’.

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As the scene ends, Y. Gee. Mahendra enters the stage amidst applause to talk about the film that was released 60 years ago. “Just see how he lets Gemini steal the scene while he appears relaxed,” says Mahendra. “His range of expressions is unbelievable. His Tamil diction is impeccable. That is ‘Nadigar Thilagam’ Sivaji.”

As three of Sivaji’s super hit films — Paava Mannippu, Paasamalar and Paalum Pazhamum — complete 60 years, a tribute was paid to the late thespian with an audio-visual event at Vani Mahal.

Apart from screenplay and dialogue, these films became famous not just for Sivaji’s histrionics, but that of the other actors as well, including M.R. Radha, Gemini Ganesan, Nambiar, Savitri, Devika, Saroja Devi, M.N. Rajam, Thangavelu and Balaiyya. , The films also stood out for A. Bhimsingh’s direction, Kannadasan’s lyrics, and M.S. Viswanathan and T.K. Ramamoorthy’s music. Singers T.M. Soundararajan, P.B. Sreenivas and P. Susheela added further lustre.

The AV show

The audio-visual presentation was engaging as it was interspersed with interesting nuggets about Sivaji’s acting skills and behind-the-scene anecdotes.

The audience hummed along as songs such as ‘Kaalangalil aval vasantham’, ‘Athan ennathan’, ‘Vandha naal mudal’, ‘Malargalai pol thangai’, and ‘Paattondru kaettaen’ were rendered.

The Chennai-based author writes on music

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