Remembering Ranjan, the very famous actor of yesteryear in Tamil and Hindi cinema, on his 101st birthday today.

Image for post
Image for post

Remembering Ranjan, the very famous actor of yesteryear in Tamil and Hindi cinema, on his 101st birthday today.
Ranjan, who played the villain in SS Vasan’s magnum opus Chandralekha 70 years ago, was a true hero who had mastered a number of skills that not even many heroes can boast of even today. He was a brilliant dancer and musician, playwright, journalist, critic, scholar, aviator and athlete, a competent painter and, to crown it all ,a magician.
Born as Ramanarayana Venkataramana Sarma in Srirangam, near Trichi in Tamilnadu on March 2, 1918, Ranjan was a versatile film personality. He shot to fame by his sheer acting skills in Tamil films such as Rishyashringar, Chandralekha, Mangamma Sabatham to name a few.
Ranjan entered the Hindi screen also while working in Tamil movies. S S Vasan of Gemini Pictures made his first Hindi film Chandralekha (1948) with Ranjan. In this film Ranjan excelled with his fencing skills and the film was superhit. Chandralekha catapulted Ranjan to fame and eventually opened the door for him to enter Hindi cinema. He then featured in Nishan which followed almost immediately. After he gained entry into Hindi cinema, Ranjan had just as glorious run. Ranjan is best known for his roles in Hindi films like Madari’, ‘Bahut Din Hue’, ‘Suvarn Sundari’, ‘Nishan’, ‘Magic Carpet’, ‘Chor Chor’ and Chor Ho To Aisa’.
It was Chinnappa Devar who brought him back to Tamil cinema from the Hindi field through his production ‘Neelamalai thirudan’ (1957). This film consolidated Ranjan’s star status by becoming a hit. He acted in a few more Tamil films including Shali Vahanam, which did reasonably well. Captain Ranjan (1969) was his last film in Tamil.
He was a master of all arts and a versatile personality. At fifteen he was classed as a virtuoso on the violin. He earned a diploma in music. He was also a good writer. Superhit movie of Dev Anand and Nalini Jaywant ‘Munimji’ was written by him.
He authored many books on Indian classical music and dance. Music was his favorite subject and whenever he had time he researched on it. He published a Tamil magazine ‘Naattiyam’ for a short period.
Ranjan was the first man in film industry who bought a Rolls Royce. He was a trained licence holder pilot having his own plane. He also had a fair hand in magic and drawing.
His wife was a doctor. The couple had no children. The couple shifted to America and lived there as permanent citizens.
Ranjan died at the age of 65 on 12th September 1983 due to a heart attack in New Jersey.
Ranjan, an actor who contributed immensely to Indian cinema, might have passed away but his name lives on.

Celebrating Cinema

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store