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'Sivaji' Ganesan dead


By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, JULY 21. One of Tamil cinema's legendary actors, Mr. `Sivaji' Ganesan, died in Chennai on Saturday. He was 72.

The thespian, who starred in over 300 films in a career spanning nearly half a century, was admitted to a private hospital about 10 days ago. The end came around 8 p.m. Hospital sources said he was treated for `cardiac ailment.

A winner of Padma Shri in 1966 and Padma Bhushan in 1984, Villupuram Chinniah Ganesan, more popularly known as Mr. `Sivaji' Ganesan, won several State, regional, national and international awards for his flawless performances in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi films.

The outstanding awards include the Afro-Asian film festival award in 1960 for his performance in `Veerapandiya Kattabomman'. The Dada Saheb Phalke award was given to him in 1997.

He donned the roles of most national leaders. He got the title `Sivaji' after playing `Chatrapathi' Sivaji in a 1956 film. Starting his career in `Parasakthi' in 1952, playing an angry youth disillusioned by a corrupt and caste-ridden society, his professional life coincided with that of matinee idol, M.G. Ramachandran, who become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. However, his foray into politics was not as successful.

His grand-daughter is married to the `estranged foster son' of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Ms. Jayalalithaa.The thespian is survived by his wife, two sons (one of them actor, Mr. Prabhu) and two daughters. The funeral is likely to take place on Monday.

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