In remembrance, here are some quick facts about the actor, whose real name is Chinnaiya Manrayar Ganesamoorthy:
- In his career that spun over four decades, the actor who was given the honorific 'Nadigar Thilagam' (doyen of acting), acted in 288 films, including in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi.
- Sivaji has won numerous award in his career, including the "Best Actor" award in the Afro-Asian Film Festival held in Cairo, Egypt in 1962, four Filmfare Awards, a National Film Award, and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest honour for films in India.
- He was also the first Indian actor to be made a Chevalier of France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters), which is a recognition of significant contributions to the arts, literature, or the propagation of these fields.
- Born Chinnaiahpillai Ganesan on Oct 1, 1928, in Villupuram, Ganesan started off acting in plays and so remarkable was he in playing the role of Maratha ruler Chhatrapathi Sivaji in one of it, that the moniker stuck with him throughout his career later.
- Sivaji's debut in cinema was in Paraksakthi in 1952, penned by M Karunanidhi.
- Among his other notable movies are Veerapandiya Kattabomman, Karnan, Thiruvilaiyadal, and Pasamalar. In the film Navarathri (1964) Sivaji played nine different roles, each with its own distinctive characteristics.
- Later in his career, Sivaji also appeared with Kamal Haasan in Devar Magan (1992), and Rajnikanth in Padayappa (1999).
- He died on July 21, 2001, due to long-standing heart problems and respiratory troubles.
- Upon his death, the Los Angeles Times dubbed him the Marlon Brando of the south Indian film industry. In fact, legend has it that Brando once met him and said: “Sivaji can act like me, but I cannot act like him.”
- Despite the widespread admiration Sivaji received for his acting, they were also critics who said that he was "overacting" in many of his performances.
Source: Wikipedia, The Print, The Hindu
Photo source: Galatta