Today (Oct 1) marks the 91st birth anniversay of legendary Indian actor Sivaji Ganesan, who was renowned for his method acting, distinctive body language, and powerful voice and dialogue delivery.

In his career that spun over 4 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.

Whatever the case, it is undeniable that Sivaji has left an indelible mark in the Indian movie industry, particularly in the Tamil industry, and his legacy is being cherished, and will continue to be remembered, for many more years to come.

Source: Wikipedia, The Print, The Hindu
Photo source: Galatta