Remembering Gemini Ganesan, the legendary star of South Indian Cinema, on his 98th birth anniversary today.
Gemini Ganesan was one of the Big Three of Tamil Cinema of yesteryear, the other two being M. G. Ramachandran and Sivaji Ganesan.
He was born as Ramaswamy Ganesan on 17 November 1920 to a typical Brahmin family in Tamil Nadu. From a teacher’s job at Madras Christian College, where he did his graduation, he later joined the production department of Gemini Studios and eventually became known as ‘Gemini Ganesan’.
Beginning his film career with Miss Malini in 1947, Gemini Ganesan went on to do an astonishing number of hits in Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam. His first major success as a lead actor was ‘Manampol Mangalyam’ in 1953. His first Hindi film was ‘Miss Mary’ in which he was paired opposite Meena Kumari.His most memorable films are ‘Naan Avan Illai’, ‘Pasamalar’, ‘Kalathur Kannamma’, ‘Vanjikottai Valiban’, ‘Then Nilavu’, ‘Konjum Salangai’, and ‘Avvai Shanmughi’. He starred beside Sivaji Ganesan in ‘Veerapandiya Kattabomman’.
Melodrama, romance, tragedy, comedy, historical… Gemini Ganesan effortlessly portrayed heroes of all shades. He played everything from college student to music guru to romantic hero, in a career that spanned nearly half a century.
He was Known as ‘Kadhal Mannan’ (King of Romance) for the characters he essayed on screen.
Despite his long innings on the screen, he never got any National award, not even as a supporting actor. He neither dabbled in politics nor did he nurse a fan club. When the two giants, MGR and Shivaji, backed by a scaffolding of fan following, were striding the Tamil screen, Gemini eventually established his place — by playing roles that suited him.
After starring in more than 200 movies, the actor passed away on 22 March 2005.